We are pleased and excited to announce that novelist and short story writer Jarred McGinnis has agreed to judge the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition 2022. An American abroad, his debut novel The Coward (Canongate, 2021) was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club recommendation. It is also about to be published in the US and in France, Italy and Spain later this year. He has many strings to his bow, including short fiction for BBC Radio 4 and much more besides, which you can read all about on his website. He is no stranger to our competition, having had a short story in New Short Stories 4. [Ed.]
We never miss the chance to plug our own anthologies. So, we have to tell you now that David Means was the judge for the 2013 Willesden Herald international short story competition. The prize mug went to a story by Danielle McLaughlin, which you can read in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 7.
Frankly, we’re sharing some past glories here to encourage writers to submit and entrust us with their short stories for New Short Stories 11. (Submit)
Distinguished author Maggie Gee was the judge for the Willesden international short story prize in 2011. We were honoured when she came to our results event in the Willesden library centre events studio to announce her verdict. Maggie was also generous with her comments, referring to each of the stories in turn before revealing the winner.
And if you’ve reached the end of that video and want to see what happened next, here’s the answer. The charming Mary O’Shea, all the way from Cork for the night, graciously accepts her first prize award.
Olga Zilberboug’s short story “Love and Hair” took the Willesden Herald first prize in 2016, and is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9. We were very happy to see Olga in London to receive her award from judge Katy Darby. She makes a gracious acceptance speech at the end of this video from the event.
The Willesden Herald Short Story of the Month
July 2019: Curtains by Charles Lambert
“When Helen gets back from the hospital the house is empty. She leaves her weekend bag by the door and wanders from room to room, the kitchen, the hall, the living room, and then upstairs, pausing for breath on the halfway landing, her hands folded over her stomach. She rests her hand on the door to David’s study…”
Charles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life. His most recent novel is Prodigal, recently longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. His previous novel, The Children’s Home, was praised by Kirkus Reviews as ‘a one-of-a-kind literary horror story’, while Two Dark Tales, published in October 2017, was described by Owen King as the work of a ‘terrific devious story teller’. Earlier books include three novels, a collection of prize-winning short stories and a memoir, With a Zero at its Heart, selected by the Guardian as one of its top ten books from 2014.
Continuing our retrospective series, “Curtains” is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6 together with stories by Eliza Robertson, Virginia Gilbert, Nick Holdstock, Geraldine Mills and others.
Congratulations to Danielle McLaughlin on being one of the writers to receive this outstanding award. Danielle was the winner of the Willesden Herald New Short Stories prize 2013, as adjudicated by David Means. You can read her story “Holidaying with the Megarrys” in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 7.
In the year of the 100th anniversary of the first voting rights for women in the U.K., a story by Katy Darby about what the Suffragettes went through, centring around two sisters, one inside Holloway prison, pining, and the other in the street outside, nightly, singing their protest songs.
ABOUT THE O. HENRY PRIZE STORIES 2018
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 contains twenty prize-winning stories chosen from thousands published in literary magazines over the previous year. The winning stories come from a mix of established writers and emerging voices, and are uniformly breathtaking.
Looks like the O. Henry Prize anthology includes a new short story by Jo Lloyd, whose story “Work” took the Willesden Herald short story competition first prize in 2009, as judged by Rana Dasgupta. You can read it in New Short Stories 3. The mesmerising opening line from “Work” is also featured on the back cover of the book (see image).
David Means reading and interview in the Firkin Crane as part of the Cork International Short Story Festival 2017, moderated by Sinéad Gleeson
Introduction 00:00 – 01:13
Reading 01:13 – 21:40
Discussion 21:40 – 51:22
You can read the rest of “Fistfight, Sacramento, August 1950” by David Means online here in Harper’s magazine.
David Means was the judge for our short story competition in 2013. You can read the prizewinning stories in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 7.
We’re delighted to announce that the judge for the International Willesden Herald 2017 New Short Stories competition will be none other than the much admired and super cool Lane Ashfeldt, a writer who is no stranger to the short story form herself.
Lane is the author of the fiction collection ‘SaltWater’, a book of twelve short stories and a novella. A contributor to ‘Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story’, her stories have won several international prizes and appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, among them Punk Fiction, Dancing With Mr Darcy, The Guardian, The London Magazine, and the Dublin Review. (Ashfeldt.com)
Lane has kindly agreed to pick the winning entries from a short list, and hopes to see an eclectic, entertaining and truly international range of writing represented on the list. We’re looking forward to reading the best stories you have, and you’ve never let us down yet. The submission window is from May to August.
The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Competition 2017
Opening date: 1 May 2017
Closing date: 31 August 2017
Word limit: 7500
The prize fund of £1225 will be divided among the ten finalists as follows:
- 1st Prize: The one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2017” + £300
- 2nd: £200
- 3rd: £100
- £75 to each of the remaining seven short-listed
- All ten shortlisted stories will be published in “Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10”.
- Two copies go to each of the ten shortlisted contributors.
Entry fee: £7.50
Willesden Green Library Centre, December 8th
Katy Darby announces the overall winner and runners-up in the Willesden Herald international short story competition 2016, and shares her responses to each of the stories. In the audience were all but one of the writers whose stories were short-listed, including some who travelled from as far away as Italy, France and America.
Towards the end of the video, it becomes clear which story has taken first prize, and we proceed to the presentation and a charming acceptance speech.
And the winner is…
First prize and the one-off mug, inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2016”, and Champagne goes to Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg.
Katy also announced equal runners-up, receiving consolation prizes:
The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis
Undercurrents by Gina Challen
In accordance with the rules, the prize fund of £750 was divided equally among the finalists, who also received two copies each of the anthology.
Here is Miranda Harrison, reading from the opening of Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg.
To find out who really sent the text, and what happens in the end, you will have to read Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9. Available from Amazon.co.uk (for UK, Ireland and Europe) and Amazon.com (US and rest of the world) and other online booksellers.
The ten best short stories of 2016, are presented in the random sequence in which they were originally read, as good a system as any!, and together present a pleasing selection of contemporary fiction, or to put it more snappily:
Unspeakable secrets, disappeared husbands, bisexual love triangles, revolutionary conspiracies and African odysseys: from Sixties Paris to San Francisco, Arundel to Latin America, poets, murderers, musicians, schoolkids and festive firearms fanciers stalk these pages, waiting to greet you. Winning Stories: Undercurrents by Gina Challen; Twisted by Tracy Fells; Looking for Nathalie by Susan Haigh; All That Remains by Rob Hawke; The Volcano by Anna Lewis; The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis; The Cliffs of Bandiagara by Catherine McNamara; Supersum by Barbara Robinson; Last Call at the Rialto by Daniel Waugh; Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg With an introduction by 2016 judge, Katy Darby