Willesden Short Story Competition 2022

We’re back with a competition for inclusion in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 12. Open to international entries. Closing date will be August 31, 2022. Entry fee £5. There are ten prizes, as follows:

  • 1st prize: £300 + one-off inscribed Willesden Herald mug
  • 2nd: £200
  • 3rd: £100
  • 7 x £50
  • Plus you get a copy of the anthology when it’s published.

Judge: Jarred McGinnis (updated 20 Feb. 2022)

Please visit our submittable.com page for full details and to Submit

The Obscure Object of Desire

Photo: One-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 20xx”

Searching: Belfast 1971 by Bernard MacLaverty

A story from “Blank Pages”, the latest collection by the brilliant short story writer and novelist, Bernard MacLaverty.

“Maclaverty is the author of five previous collections of stories and five novels, including Grace Notes, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Midwinter Break, shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Born in Ireland, he now lives in Glasgow, Scotland.” (LitHub)

2022 One Dublin One Book: “Nora” by Nuala O’Connor

“Every year we choose a book that we hope will capture the imaginations of the people of Dublin, of all ages and walks of life, and I know that Nora will prove a rewarding reading experience for all who engage with One Dublin One Book 2022. For the centenary of the publication of Ulysses, it’s important for us to honour the contemporary writers Joyce has inspired, as well as the woman who inspired him. We look forward to working with Nuala O’Connor to create a programme of events next April that we hope will encourage many discussions and conversations.”

Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens

Leave Society – a new novel by Tao Lin

1. New York Times article. 2. Penguin Leave Society by Tao Lin. 3. About Willesden Herald Stories

Tokyo – a novel by Nicholas Hogg

Nicholas Hogg’s short story Paradise was included in the first Willesden Herald New Short Stories anthology. He has gone on to great things. Visit NicholasHogg.com.

Johnny Boy – a novel by John Califano

JOHNNY CARUSO IS BORN into the urban turmoil of 1950s and ’60s working-class Brooklyn. Wedged between the limited worldview of his parents—alcoholic and abusive Bellisario and browbeaten, unstable Maria—and his liberal-minded older brother and sister, young Johnny struggles to navigate his childhood and adolescence.

Verve House Books

Thank you to John Califano for including Willesden Herald New Short Stories in the Acknowledgments for Johnny Boy. His story Independence Day was our Story of the Month, August 2018.

Want to buy from proper bookshops?

Short Stories: Listings of Willesden Herald books from websites that support local bookshops
Poetry: Last Night’s Dream Corrected (2006)
Poetry: Southernmost Point Guest House (2014)
To browse all our back issues, click Anthologies. Maybe buy one or two? Go wild.

* All Covers by Stratos Fountoulis

Successes in 2019 for New Short Stories contributors

2019 Highlights

November 11: V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2019 goes to Ursula Brunetti for “Beetleboy”.

October 2: BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University 2019: “The Invisible” by Jo Lloyd

September 27: Out Now: “The False River” short story collection by Nick Holdstock

September 20: Double chapbook launch. “Past contributors to WH New Short Stories, Brian Kirk and Jill Widner, enjoyed a double win at the Cork International Short Story Festival 2019.” (See also Feb. 15)

September 12: Danielle McLaughlin takes The Times/ Audible Short Story Award 2019

August 24: Book launch: “Like Water and Other Stories” by Olga Zilberbourg

July 3: Book launch: “Chalk Tracks” by Gina Challen, twice contributor to New Short Stories

March 13: Danielle McLaughlin receives Windham-Campbell award

Feb 15: Friends of Willesden Herald take both Southword fiction chapbook awards 2019

It’s our own trumpet, we can blow it if we want.


Willesden Herald New Short Stories 11 is available from High Street Bookshops Online as well as Amazon (UK), Amazon.com and other booksellers. Link: More details including author pictures and profiles.

Still time to order a book for Christmas – just!

Okay, you know I’m promoting our own book but really, send someone any book of your choice. There’s still time and Amazon will gift wrap it for you if you click “contains a gift” in the checkout process. You can also customise the message. How about this for a message, “Dear … I’m sending you this copy of New Short Stories 11 for your Christmas present. It’s fabulous and so are you.”

Ahem! So, yes, you can order the book we’re trying to hypnotise you into ordering by clicking this link (Book Depository, a subdivision of Amazon, free delivery worldwide) or this link (Amazon .com) or this link (Amazon UK).

Here’s the start of one of the stories, hopefully to intrigue and fascinate you*. When you finish reading this you will awake, go and order the book and remember nothing about what you read here. 1. 2. 3. Awake!

“I could hear my father singing in the lower field. In between the lines of the poorly-sung Joe Dolan number he would call for me, each time more demanding, though he did not bother to draw near to where I actually was, which was at the back of the house, pegging his newly-washed clothes to the line. I knew I’d give in eventually to his calls, but I wanted him to hurt his voice as much as possible with the screeching.”

* From: “The Emperor of Russia” by Jaki McCarrick

Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 11

Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 11


Front cover of New Short Stories 11 – first look

“Contemporary fiction from Britain, Ireland, America and Nigeria, from huge cities to very small towns and on several journeys. We’re at work, at school, in homes, gardens, cities, in the countryside and on the road. There are crises, violence, tragedy, vengeance, reflection and reconciliation. Here are vividly evoked times and places, characters of every kind, and insights into their circumstances and relationships.”

The 15 best international short stories, as submitted to the Willesden Herald in the past year. Editor: Stephen Moran. With an introduction by Gina Challen.

Available from

isbn: 978-0-9995277-6-4


JL Bogenschneider 2019

JL Bogenschneider is a writer of short fiction, with work published in a number of print and online journals, including The Aleph, Cosmonauts Avenue, Strix, Isthmus, 404 Ink, PANK and Ambit.

Ursula Brunetti

Ursula Brunetti is a Faber Academy graduate from the Isle of Wight. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Competition 2019 and is the winner of the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Short Story Competition 2019. She has been published by Popshot, The Londonist, Fairlight Books, Liar’s League and Cinnamon Press. She is currently working on a novel and short story collection.

Gina Challen

Gina Challen: Born in London, Gina moved to West Sussex in 1979. Although originally a city girl, the  Downlands stole her heart, and are the inspiration for her writing. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. Her work can be found in The Bristol Short Story Prize Volume 8, the Willesden Herald New Short Stories 8 & 9, The Cinnamon Press Short Story Award anthologies 2012 & 2013 and Rattle Tales 2. Two stories were shortlisted for the prestigious Bridport Prize and in 2018 a further story was longlisted for the RSL, V S Pritchett Price. Other stories are online with Seren Books, Ink Tears and Storgy magazines, and her critical essays at Thresholds Short Story Forum. Her collection of short stories, Chalk Tracks, was published in July 2019. She can be found at http://www.ginachallen.co.uk. @ginabchallen

Carol Dines

Carol Dines lives in Minneapolis and has recently finished a collection of stories, Distance of Closeness. Several stories from the new collection have been published. She has also published two novels for young adults, Best Friends Tell the Best Lies (Delacorte), The Queen’s Soprano (Harcourt) and a collection of short stories for Young Adults, Talk to Me (Delacorte.) In addition, she has published numerous poems and stories in magazines and anthologies.

Derek Dirckx

Derek Dirckx is a writer living in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the United States. He’s studied writing most recently at the Loft Literary Center. “Dark in Here” is his first publication.

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans has had many short stories published in anthologies, literary journals and online. Her stories have been shortlisted by the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and awarded prizes by, amongst others: Words and Women, Stratford Literary Festival and the Bridport Prize. Her work is also included in several Unthology volumes, Best New Writing and Shooter Magazine.

Jeff Ewing

Jeff Ewing is the author of the short story collection The Middle Ground, published by Into the Void Press. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Crazyhorse, Southwest Review, ZYZZYVA, Willow Springs, Subtropics, and Saint Ann’s Review. He lives in Sacramento, California with his wife and daughter.

David Frankel

David Frankel is a writer and artist. His short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines including Unthology 8, Lightship and The London Magazine. He has been shortlisted for a number of competitions including The Bath Short Story Award, The Willesden Herald, The Hilary Mantel Short Story Competition, and The Fish Memoir Competition. His MA in creative writing, from Chichester University, was awarded the Kate Betts Memorial Prize. David was born in Salford and now lives in Kent.

Ray French

Ray French writes fiction, memoir and essays. He was born in Wales to Irish parents and a central preoccupation is the experience of being torn between two cultures. He is the co-editor of I Wouldn’t Start From Here: The Second Generation Irish in Britain and End Notes: Ten Stories About Loss, Mourning and Commemoration. He is the author of The Red Jag & other stories and the novels All This Is Mine and Going Under. He is one of four male authors featured in Four Fathers, a collection of memoirs about having and being a father. His short story ‘Migration’ was included in Best European Fiction 2013.


N. Jane Kalu is a Nigerian woman, a short story writer, scriptwriter, and playwright. Her work has appeared in Munyori Journal, Kalahari Review, Jalada, and others. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Writivism short story prize. She’s currently an MFA student and Core Writing Instructor at the University of New Mexico. She’s known on social media as @njanekalu.


Marylee MacDonald is a former carpenter and author of Bonds of Love and Blood, Montpelier Tomorrow, and The Rug Bazaar. Her short stories have won the Barry Hannah Prize, the Jeanne M. Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award, the Matt Clark Prize, the Ron Rash Award, the American Literary Review Fiction Prize, and come in 2nd and 3rd in the Faulkner-Wisdom Short Story Competition. Her fiction has appeared in American Literary Review, New Delta Review, North Atlantic Review, Ruminate, The Bellevue Literary Review, StoryQuarterly, The Briar Cliff Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Sandy River Review, The Superstition Review, Yalobusha Review, and more. “Caboose” is one of the stories in her forthcoming short story collection, Body Language.

Jaki Mc Carrick photo © Bobbie Hanvey L1003353 (10)

Jaki McCarrick is an award-winning writer of plays, poetry and fiction. Her play LEOPOLDVILLE won the 2010 Papatango Prize for New Writing, and her most recent play, THE NATURALISTS, premiered in New York to enthusiastic reviews in the New York Times, The New Yorker and elsewhere. Her play BELFAST GIRLS was developed at the National Theatre Studio, London, and was shortlisted for the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the 2014 BBC Tony Doyle Award. It premiered in the US in Chicago to much critical acclaim. Her short story “The Visit” won the 2010 Wasafiri Short Fiction Prize and appears in the 2012 Anthology of Best British Short Stories (Salt). Jaki’s short story collection The Scattering (Seren Books) was shortlisted for the 2014 Edge Hill Prize.

Gerard McKeown

Gerard McKeown’s work has been featured in The Moth, 3:AM, and Litro, among others. In 2017 he was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, and in 2018 he was longlisted for The Irish Book Awards’ Short Story of the Year. His story Detachment was recently featured in the anthology Still Worlds Turning (No Alibis Press).


Jay Merill lives in London UK and is Writer in Residence at Women in Publishing. Jay was runner up in the 2018 International Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize, a Pushcart Prize nominee and the winner of the Salt short story Prize. She is the author of two collections, God of the Pigeons and Astral Bodies, and has work published or forthcoming in literary magazines, including 3:AM, Crannog, Prairie Schooner, SmokeLong Quarterly and a list of over twenty more.

Diana Powell photo

Diana Powell’s stories have won, or been featured, in a number of competitions, including the 2019 ChipLit Festival Prize (winner), and the 2014 Penfro award (winner). They have also appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including The Lonely Crowd, Crannog and The Blue Nib. Her novella, Esther Bligh was published last year by Holland House Books, and her short story collection Trouble Crossing the Bridge will be published in December by the Blue Nib Press.


John Saul made the contribution from England to the Best European Fiction 2018 anthology published by Dalkey Archive (in previous years: AS Byatt, Hilary Mantel). In the UK his short fiction has been brought together in four collections. He was shortlisted for the international 2015 Seán Ó Faoláin prize, was runner-up in the 2018 Forge short fiction competition and had work included in Best British Short Stories 2016. He is a member of the European Literature Network. http://www.johnsaul.co.uk.