The New Yorker: Out There by Kate Folk

“The early blots had been easy to identify. They were too handsome, for one thing.” (Out There by Kate Folk)

This is a story about indistinguishably lifelike robots released by criminals to lure people into relationships on dating apps and in real life, in order to gain access to their credit cards and bank accounts. Or is it? It has a very dry line of wit just below the surface and a lot about not knowing whether someone is real sounds suspiciously like normal life for a woman of a certain age looking for love. There’s a lot more to it than that. It’s terrifically enjoyable in a grim, somewhat hopeless way.

“Kate Folk is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University.” (The New Yorker)

Prospect: Read Beetleboy by Ursula Brunetti

“Each year, Prospect partners with the Royal Society of Literature to award a fiction writer working in short stories. This year’s winner Ursula Brunetti weaves a tale about an unlikely friendship” ()

Prospect Magazine

Before Beetleboy came Satellites by Ursula Brunetti in New Short Stories 11

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

“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.

Read: “Welsh writer takes £15,000 prize for The Invisible, based on a real 18th-century woman who spread tales in her village” Guardian report including the text of the short story.

Interview: Jo Lloyd on Winning the 2019 BBC National Short Story Award (Wasafiri)

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.

Story of the Month, September 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

September 2019: Rip Rap by Dan Powell

“It is still dark when you finally arrive. A few streetlights set about the expanse of the cliff-top car park are dead, their bulbs ghostly and pale as blind eyes. All the parking bays are empty. The dim glow of the dashboard clock displays just after four, but like the speedometer, like the fuel gauge, like everything about the Astra, the hands are old and tired and worn and not to be trusted. It’s a miracle the car got this far.”

Dan_Powell_authorshot

Dan Powell’s prize-winning short fiction has appeared in the pages of Being Dad, The Lonely Voice, Unthology, The London Magazine and Best British Short Stories. His debut collection, Looking Out of Broken Windows, was shortlisted for the Scott Prize and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Edge Hill Prize. He is currently working on a second story collection and a debut novel, is a First Story writer-in-residence, and a Doctoral Researcher in Creative Writing at University of Leicester. He procrastinates at danpowellfiction.com and on Twitter as @danpowfiction.

Continuing our retrospective series, “Rip Rap” is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 8, together with stories by  Jo Barker Scott, Joan Brennan, Gina Challen, Nick Holdstock, CG Menon, Angela Sherlock, Megan Taylor, Medina Tenour Whiteman and Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson.

Story of the Month, August 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

August 2019: Dark Song by Roberta Dewa

“I slip into the water. I didn’t plan to swim, but there’s still static fizzing in my veins from last night’s concert and as the river laps me up I’m cooling down, the static disappearing into a string of bubbles streaming out all around me and rising up from the deep channel, like there’s a diver down there somewhere.

Robie Dewa - Photo by Ursula Kelly Photography

Roberta Dewa has always written fiction, and in her twenties published three historical novels with Robert Hale. While studying for various degrees she published poetry and short fiction, including a first short story collection, Holding Stones (Pewter Rose Press, 2009). In 2013 she published a memoir, The Memory of Bridges, and a contemporary novel followed: The Esplanade (Weathervane Press, 2014). Since retiring from university teaching, she has been writing poetry and short stories again, and in November 2017 won the Willesden Herald prize with her story Dark Song. She is currently coming to the end of the first draft of a new novel.

Continuing our retrospective series, “Dark Song” is included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10 having won first prize in the WH short story competition 2017. Visit Robert Dewa – Author and Lecturer.

* Photo copyright (c) Ursula Kelly Photography

Story of the Month, July 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories 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

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.

Visit Charles Lambert’s blog on WordPress.