For the next in our 2020 lockdown series, we revisit the joint-winner of our inaugural short story competition. Some of you may be running around without face or leg coverings for the allowed daily exercise but it's not compulsory, you know. Happily, we can still stay home and read short stories. (Ed)
“Later, in The Tinners, they sit together in Dodie’s corner on sagging burgundy plush cushions. He has bought her a cider, he drinks beer from the bottle. They talk. Dodie is half listening, looking at the scratches through the varnish on the table…”
Novelist, short story writer, poet, Vanessa Gebbie has won awards for both poetry and prose, including the Troubadour International Poetry Prize, a Bridport short story prize and a much-coveted Willesden Herald short story prize. Author of ten various books, her novel The Coward’s Tale (Bloomsbury) was a Financial Times novel of the year, and her debut poetry pamphlet was selected by the TLS as one of the best of its year. She is commissioning and contributing editor of Short Circuit, Guide to the Art of the Short Story, editions 1 and 2 (Salt). She teaches widely. www.vanessagebbie.com
The author of “Dodie’s Gift” cares about character. It is a beautiful piece about two people circling each other, wondering whether to make contact.
Zadie Smith (Judge’s report – Willesden short story prize 2006)
In the second of our 2020 lockdown series, you are the writer. Have you ever missed a step on the stairs or turned back in fear? Have you ever given someone a piece of your mind? Are you an object of desire or the subject? Stay home.
“As Richard tends the first patient of the evening – a young woman with black eye make-up and an arm wound – he thinks of the pills, safe in their bottle, doubly safe in his jacket, safer still in his locker. The arm wound is self-inflicted. It is too precise.”
Nick Holdstock is the author of The Casualties, a novel, and several books about China.
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)
The Royal Society of Literature’s prestigious V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize for 2019 has gone to Ursula Brunetti for her story “Beetleboy”. By a happy coincidence, our soon-to-be-published New Short Stories 11 also contains a story by Ursula. 2019 is something of a golden year for writers in New Short Stories, when it comes to winning major prizes. (Ed.)
“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
And yes, believe it or not, Toby Litt is a previous contributor to New Short Stories. We have an embarrassment of riches, in that sense, though still seeking adverts (zero so far) for our latest edition, the eleventh in the series.
“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.