“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 2019. Editor: Stephen Moran. With an introduction by Gina Challen.
‘Means is the author of the novel “Hystopia” and five story collections, including “The Spot” and “Instructions for a Funeral,” which was published earlier this year.”‘
From the point of view of this blog: David Means was the judge for the 2013 Willesden Herald international short story competition, awarding the prize mug to a story by Danielle McLaughlin, which you can read in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 7.
“A debut collection; brooding short stories of haunted lives and fragile hopes.”
“Lillian helps people to die. Ruth encounters an unsettling stranger on the towpath. Kathy obsesses over a painting. Robyn puts her trust in a fox. Mags is a forager; he takes the things he wants.
“Rooted in the landscape of the South Downs, where the chalk hills roll out to the sea, this incisive debut collection of short stories by Gina Challen explores the places where the familiar can become threatening.”
‘Mesmerised and amazed me in equal measure. How does the author cram such a richly textured narrative into such a small space? How does she manage to say so much with so few words?’ Katy Darby
“WELSH WRITER JO LLOYD WINS THE 2019 BBC NATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD WITH ‘TIMELESS’ AND ‘DEEPLY TENDER’ STORY INFLUENCED BY BREXIT, SOCIAL DIVISION AND FOLKLORE” (BBC Radio 4)
“Welsh writer Jo Lloyd has won the fourteenth BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University 2019 (NSSA) for ‘The Invisible’, a distinctive and compellingly original story. Inspired by the life of an 18th Century woman from Carnarvonshire called Martha who claimed to be friends with an invisible family living in an invisible mansion, Lloyd discovered her story by chance in the online Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Set in a close-knit community, the story is both timeless and universal, and resonates profoundly in an age where fear of outsiders and social division is rife.”
Listen: Aimee-Ffion Edwards reads “Jo Lloyd’s hypnotic tale about the fantasies people embrace to make life bearable” The Invisible by Jo Lloyd.
This news continues a series of successes this year by previous Willesden international short story prize winners. Jo Lloyd won the Willesden in 2009 with her story “Work”, which you can read in New Short Stories 3.
Deep Heart by Kandace Siobhan Walker beat almost 200 others to win the £1,000 award set up by the Guardian and 4th Estate in 2015. The Guardian report describes the story as “a poignant exploration of kinship and community.”
“We are always barefoot. I try to explain this to the police officers who arrive from the mainland. We’re quieter this way and we need to be quiet when we’re stalking wild animals in the pine forest. …”
ICYMI last night the shortlist for the 14th BBC National Short Story Award was announced, 5 stories inspired by #MeToo , Brexit and Trump. Get the anthology, available now from your local bookshop (if you don’t see it just ask!) 🏆 #BBCNSSA#shortstoriespic.twitter.com/oXeHjdjT9q
Don‘t forget the new Twitter version provides a facility to “bookmark” tweets for later. This can help if you haven’t got time to read just now or have used up all your “free views” till next month. Direct link to text and reading: The Stone by Louise Erdrich.
Photo: “Author Louise Erdrich reading at the 2015 National Book Festival. Erdrich won the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction for her novel The Round House.” (Wikipedia)