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.
“Alex has a problem. Categorized as one of the disabled, dole-scrounging underclass, she is finding it hard to make ends meet. Now, in her part time placement at the local newspaper, she’s stumbled onto a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people, the new government Care and Protect Bill and the sinister extension of the Grassybanks residential home for the disabled, elderly and vulnerable. Can she afford the potential risk to herself and her wonderful guide dog Chris of further investigation?”
‘Laugh and weep! With wit, flair and imagination, Tanvir Bush unfolds the secret life of a nation on benefits. Our nation….’ Fay Weldon
Tanvir Bush’s short story “Rictus” about the meeting of modern medicine and faith healing in a rural clinic in Africa, featured in our own New Short Stories 10.
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.
27 days left to watch on BBC iPlayer (UK only)
“Angela Carter’s surreal imagination produced some of the most dazzling fiction of the last century. Pioneering her own distinctive brand of ‘magic realism,’ works like The Magic Toyshop and Nights at the Circus cracked open the middle-class conventions of the postwar novel and influenced a new generation of writers.”BBC iPlayer
For short story lovers, it’s her collection “The Bloody Chamber” that hits home. But, of course, it’s always novels that get more attention.
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