Story of the Month, July 2022

A guest story to cool the air this summer. Sean Brijbasi has kindly lent us this far out story as a reprint from his unknowed book of the same name. Sean is one of the unknowed people behind the Willesden short story competition. Please do not write in to tell us that unknowed is not a word! (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

July 2022: The Unknowed Things by Sean Brijbasi

… To my surprise, I received a response, stating that a vice admiral couldn’t be blamed for the consequences of my ingratitude. Such a knowing people, I thought. It was true. Lily had given me everything even when I didn’t ask, appearing with unexpected gifts even when I deserved nothing. She told me the most beautiful stories that I, in turn, told to others as if they were my own …

Sean Adrian Brijbasi lives in America. 

Sometimes he writes.

“You get the feeling that NO ONE CAN SEE THE WORLD I LIVE IN by Sean Brijbasi is the kind of book inspired by people who will most likely never read it.” –Rail Drinks Magazine (?)

Story of the Month, February 2022

Greetings to our friends in Ukraine and also in Russia. Here's a wish that your differences may be settled by diplomacy and not more war. I have to say something constructive when I'm about to share with you a short story in which a young woman asks, "Have the Russians won everything yet?" Ed. 

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

February 2022: Triple Axel by Yelena Furman

“In the Soviet Union, with its ritual of daily obstacles and anti-Semitism, the U.S. had seemed a haven, a far-away hope of her life’s opposite. She was young when the exodus of Jewish refugees, as they were officially called, started in the 1970s, mostly to North America and Israel. Suddenly, everyone knew someone, or was someone, who was leaving. Her mother’s coworker. Her father’s cousin. The girl who sat behind her in school.”

Yelena Furman

Yelena Furman lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches Russian literature. Her fiction has previously appeared in Narrative.

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)

Story of the Month, January 2022

We're delighted to welcome the author of one of our first stories of the month back to these pages. In a tweet, M.E. Proctor describes her latest as a slightly nostalgic, slightly magical story and invites you to have a read friends and listen to the "Boardwalk Oracle."

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

January 2022: Boardwalk Oracle by M. E. Proctor

…Even in the fading light of the day that concealed the worst scars of decrepitude, the seediness of the place could not be ignored. Many shops were boarded up and metal curtains were down on those that weren’t. The coin-operated machines were battered, nicked and banged metal, flaked-off paint. Relics from the early age of automation...

M.E. Proctor

M.E. Proctor lives in Livingston, Texas. After forays into SF (The Savage Crown Series), she’s working on a series of contemporary detective novels. Her short stories have been published in Bristol Noir, The Bookends Review, Beat to a Pulp, All Worlds Wayfarer, Shotgun Honey and others. On Twitter: @MEProctor3

Jo Lloyd’s Stories on Strong Edge Hill Shortlist 2021

(It’s always gratifying to see a mention for our own short story competition. Ed.)
Full shortlist and selected stories online: Announcement – 2021 Edge Hill Shortlist.

New Yorker Fiction: “The Depletion Prompts” by David Means

A series of paragraphs in the form of suggestions about how to write this story itself, complete with an audio reading by the author. David Means was a judge for our short story competition one year.

Story of the Month, December 2021

Not much sign of mystical religious experience in contemporary short stories, is there? We are here to remedy that with another unusual story of the month. Prepare to be conveyed to the boundary between the here and now and the ineffable beyond. Ed.

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

December 2021: Not Like a River, But a Tree by James Roderick Burns

Seated again, he closed his eyes. Now and then he had sampled High Anglican services (had, in fact, dragged along both Maureen and the children) where the priest broke out the censer, smoking the pews like a beekeeper gently rousing his charges, but he preferred things here in the cathedral: high enough, quite solemn to be sure, but musical and slightly imperfect; human, somehow, and all the better for it. Sometimes he’d invited people from the office.

James Roderick Burns

James Roderick Burns’ short story collection, Beastly Transparencies, is due from Eyewear Publishing in 2022. He is the author of three collections of poetry – most recently The Worksongs of the Worms (2018, haiku) – and a short fiction pamphlet, A Bunch of Fives. His work has appeared in a number of journals and magazines, including The Guardian, Modern Haiku, The North and The Scotsman.


Story of the Month, November 2021

Give your mind a workout with a short story that I, for one, will not forget any time soon. Ed.

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

November 2021: The Blood of Our Virtue Smells Like Dirt by Jessica Fogal

Her mouth is wide and painted royal blue, her teeth stark white in comparison as she bares them at the ceiling in thought. She can pass for a corpse pulled cold from the salty water of the ocean outside her window, frail and blue and perfectly preserved.

“What do you want to be?” She asks me.

Jessica Fogal lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (USA), where she’s a full time legal assistant, amateur street photographer, and author. She’s been published in The Ilanot Review and has had many prints showcased in art galleries such as Terrain Spokane, and continues to use her lifelong passions for performance, visual, and literary arts as an inspiration for her creative writings.

Lucy Caldwell Takes BBC National Short Story Award 2021

Twitter: Lucy Caldwell shares links to some of her stories online

Three-time nominated Lucy Caldwell has won the sixteenth BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) with ‘All the People Were Mean and Bad’, a story taken from her 2021 collection, Intimacies. The news was announced live on BBC Front Row by 2021 Chair of Judges, James Runcie. Caldwell, a multi-award-winning writer from Belfast, was previously shortlisted in 2012 and 2019.

BBC Radio 4 National Short Story Award 2021

Story of the Month, October 2021

We're back with all new stories. Here's something to think about because, you know, nothing at all is happening in the world these days, is it? Read the whole story before you make up your mind about this one. It might not be just what you think. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

October 2021: How They Do by Jack R. Johnson

“Al Nash kept the dark secret of his hair loss hidden under his favorite blue
canvas Navy cap, and pulled it even lower as he told his son, Troy Nash, about
Robert E. Lee …”

Jack R. Johnson

Jack R. Johnson is a monthly columnist for North of the James Magazine in Richmond, Virginia; an editor of The Alliance for Progressive Virginia blog and a contributor to Style Magazine. His published works include short stories, articles and the novel, An Animal’s Guide to Earthly Salvation. His latest novel, In Black and White, is scheduled to be published by Propertius Press in 2022.

Story of the Month, December 2020

We're back to sharing favourite stories. How could anyone not love a story that contains the line "I was a cactus."(?) And don't tell me it's not December, months last for years now! Ed.

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

December 2020: Christmas Present by Lynsey Rose

Lynsey Rose

I wrote this a few years ago, when we were asked to write a story with the theme of Christmas for my writing group. Of course, Christmas is a crappy theme so you have to go the full ‘Carrie’ with it. Happy Christmas!

Lynsey Rose is the author of the novel First Aid Kit Girl, described as “girl meets razorblade meets boy…”

Vote for Writing.ie Short Story of the Year 2020

Read all the stories and vote for your favourite. The list includes “The Emperor of Russia” by Jaki McCarrick, nominated by us from our New Short Stories 11, so yes we are a bit prejudiced! (Ed.)