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
Why not come to our results and book launch event this Thursday at Willesden Library Centre, from 7:30 pm? We’re putting on a terrific show as well as announcing the overall winner for 2016 and prizegiving. Professional actors will bring short excerpts from some of the finalist stories to life.
This is a FREE EVENT, venue capacity 100 seated. Refreshments will be provided. First come, first served.
For more details, see this Facebook event listing.
Tony Bell. Evening Standard Award nominee for A Man for All Seasons, Tony Bell has performed all over the world with award-winning all-male Shakespeare company, Propeller, playing Bottom, Feste, Autolycus and Tranio. TV includes Coronation Street, Holby City, Midsomer Murders, EastEnders & The Bill. He recently played Brian Clough’s sidekick Peter Taylor in the stage adaptation of The Damned United at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. He also appeared in Phelin McDermott’s Improbable production of The Tempest. He now splits his time between directing in drama schools, acting and occasionally reading great stories. He is also a radio and voiceover artist.
Miranda Harrison Actor, voiceover artist and storyteller, Miranda Harrison is a regular performer with Liars’ League, including performances at The National Gallery and the Literary Pub Crawl. Other spoken word credits include book reading and performance art events. Miranda is regularly cast in rehearsed readings for new theatre writing, and she also runs new writing event Page to Stage. Stage credits range from the classics (e.g. Romeo & Juliet; Blood Wedding) to contemporary (e.g. The Memory of Water; The Vagina Monologues). Voiceover work includes BBC Children in Need, online tutorials and a best-selling English-language teaching pack for Italian teenagers. www.mirandaharrison.co.uk
Peter Kenny has worked for A&BC, The Royal Shakespeare Co. and The BBC Radio Drama Co. An award-winning recorder of audio-books, he has read over 100 titles, everything from Iain M. Banks, Neil Gaiman, and Andrzej Sapkowski to Jonas Jonasson and Paul O’Grady “…from the sublime to the cor blimey!” Visit peterkenny.com
* Courtesy of Liars’ League
New Short Stories 9
- All That Remains by Rob Hawke
- The Cliffs of Bandiagara by Catherine McNamara
- Last Call at the Rialto by Daniel Waugh
- Looking for Nathalie by Susan Haigh
- Love and Hair by Olga Zilberbourg
- The Mayes County Christmas Gun Festival by David Lewis
- Supersum by Barbara Robinson
- Twisted by Tracy Fells
- Undercurrents by Gina Challen
- The Volcano by Anna Lewis
Meet the Authors
Gina Challen is originally from London. She moved to West Sussex in 1979. In 2012, she left her job as an insurance broker to complete a masters degree in creative writing. This she fondly refers to as her mid-life crisis. Although originally a city girl, the farmsteads and woods of the downlands hold her heart, they are the inspiration for her writing, the landscape to which she knows she belongs. Previously, her stories have been anthologised in The Bristol Short Story Prize Volume 8 2015, the Cinnamon Press Short Story Award collections 2012 & 2013, and the Willesden Herald New Short Stories 8, 2014 and Rattle Tales 2, 2012. Two of her stories were shortlisted for the prestigious Bridport Prize in 2014. You can also find her stories and critical essays online with Ink Tears and Storgy magazines and Thresholds Short Story Forum. She is currently working on a short story collection. www.ginachallen.co.uk
Tracy Fells lives close to the South Downs in glorious West Sussex. She has won awards for both fiction and drama. Her short stories have appeared in Firewords Quarterly, The Yellow Room and Writer’s Forum, online at Litro New York, Short Story Sunday and in anthologies such as Fugue, Rattle Tales and A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed. Competition success includes short-listings for the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize, Brighton Prize, Fish Short Story and Flash Fiction Prizes. Tracy completed her MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University in 2016 and is currently seeking representation for a crime mystery novel and her short story collection. She shares a blog with The Literary Pig (tracyfells.blogspot.co.uk) and tweets as @theliterarypig.
Susan Haigh returned to northeast Fife in 2013, having spent eight years living in a cave house in the Loire Valley. She had previously worked on a series of short stories, supported by a Scottish Book Trust mentoring scheme, and continued to write stories and a novel in a caravan under a vine by a river (not as glamorous as it sounds!). Her work has won several awards in Britain and the USA and has been published in Mslexia, Cadenza Magazine, Sunpenny Anthology, New Writing Dundee 8, Beginning Anthology, the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards website, the Women of Dundee and Books anthology and a number of American journals and anthologies. In 2016 she appeared on a short list of six for a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and published poems in Scottish literary journals, Northwords Now, Gutter Magazine and the StAnza Map of Scotland in Poems. She was also a finalist in the 2016 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition. She reviews and interviews for a number of journals, including Dundee University Review of the Arts. She teaches German at Dundee University.
Rob Hawke lives and works in Camberwell, London. His short fiction has featured in Momaya Short Story Review and Shooter Literary Magazine, and he holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from University of Sussex. He is currently working on his first full length novel, a political drama set in South West England. To support his writing Rob works part time at a psychology institute.
Anna Lewis’s stories have appeared in journals including New Welsh Review and The Interpreter’s House. Her stories and poems have won several awards, and she was short-listed for the Willesden Herald short story prize in 2013. She is the author of two poetry collections: Other Harbours (Parthian, 2012) and The Blue Cell (Rack Press, 2015). She lives in Cardiff.
David Lewis grew up in Oklahoma, did an MA at UCL in London and now lives in Paris. His short stories and essays have appeared in J’aime mon quartier, je ramasse, Chelsea Station, Liars’ League, The 2013 Fish Anthology, Indestructible and Talking Points Memo. He irregularly posts essays and translations on Medium, as @dwlewis.
Catherine McNamara grew up in Sydney, ran away to Paris to write, and ended up in West Africa running a bar. She was an embassy secretary in pre-war Mogadishu, and has worked as an au pair, graphic designer, translator, English teacher and shoe model. Her short story collection Pelt and Other Stories was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor Award and semi-finalist in the Hudson Prize. Her work has been Pushcart-nominated and published in the U.K., Europe, U.S.A. and Australia. Catherine lives in Italy.
Barbara Robinson was born in Manchester where she still lives, writes and works. She writes short stories and is currently working on her first novel, Elbow Street.
Daniel Waugh was born in London and has lived in France and Yorkshire. He lives in Wimbledon with his wife, three-year-old daughter and black cat. ‘Last Call at the Rialto’ is his first short story.
Olga Zilberbourg grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia and moved to the United States at the age of seventeen. Her English-language fiction is forthcoming from World Literature Today, Feminist Studies, and California Prose Directory; stories have appeared in J Journal, Epiphany, Narrative Magazine, Printers Row, Hobart, Santa Monica Review, among others. She serves as a co-facilitator of the weekly San Francisco Writers Workshop.
Dear Writer Reader,
This is a copy of the text (with some corrections) from our last newsletter before the short story competition closing date, 31 August 2016. I wanted to share how some of our previous finalists got on, which I hope and believe you will find quite inspirational. We’ve also improved the prize fund, as shown below. Please send us your best short stories. Katy and I are looking forward to reading them.
Inspirations: Success for Previous New Short Stories Finalists
Here is how some of our previous winners and finalists got on before and after appearing in New Short Stories. In no particular order:
Nick Holdstock @NickHoldstock since winning with “Ward” in 2014 has published The Casualties, a novel from St Martins Press.
Henrietta Rose-Innes @HenriettaRI won the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her story Falling appeared in New Short Stories 4.
Willie Davis’s story Kid in a Well from New Short Stories was also published online in The Guardian modern fiction. Link
In the same year she won first prize in our competition, Wena Poon went on to have her novel Alex y Robert serialised in ten parts on BBC Radio 4’s “A Book at Bedtime”.
Valerie Trueblood, shortlisted in our first year, went on to be shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor award for “Marry or Burn”.
Jo Lloyd (@jolloyds) who won first prize for her story Work, later in the same year won the Asham Award with another story.
Mikey Delgado’s winning story Secure was also published online in The Guardian original writing. Link
Previous winner Virginia Gilbert @GinnyGilbert went on to write and direct the feature film “A Long Way Home” with James Fox & Natalie Dormer as well as publishing a novel, among many other things (like so many of the writers listed here).
Vanessa Gebbie’s (@VanessaGebbie) later novel The Coward’s Tale was published by Bloomsbury in the UK & USA.
Danielle McLaughlin @DanniLmc went on to publish Dinosaurs on Other Planets, the title story from which appeared in The New Yorker.
More recent books of note by New Short Stories contributors:
Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor @NualaNiC (Sandstone Press)
Time of the Locust by Morowa Yejidé http://www.morowayejide.com (Atria Books)
We Don’t Know What We’re Doing by Thomas Morris @tolmorris (Faber & Faber)
We could go on and on, and in fact we do that over on Twitter, so please follow @storyofthemonth for more literary inspiration and a few more quirky odds and ends.
Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9
- 1st prize is a one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “The Willesden Short Story Prize 2016” and a bottle of champagne courtesy of Liars’ League.
- Additionally either (a) half of all net entry fees OR (b) all net entry fees after the first 150 entries, whichever is the greater, will be divided equally among the ten short-listed.
- All ten short-listed stories will be published in “Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9”.
- Two complimentary copies of the anthology to each of the ten authors.
- A results/book launch event with Liars’ League actors reading from the short-listed stories.
- Literary agent Carrie Kania of Conville & Walsh agency has kindly agreed to read the ten winning stories.
New Short Stories with Liars’ League
“I’m judging you, that’s my judging look!“
OUR JUDGE FOR 2016
Katy Darby’s short fiction has won various prizes, been read on BBC Radio 4, and appeared in magazines and anthologies including Stand, Mslexia, Slice, The London Magazine and the Arvon/Daily Telegraph Anthology. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University and an MA in Creative Writing from UEA, where she won the David Higham Award. Her first novel, The Unpierced Heart, is published by Penguin (Fig Tree). She is a Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at City University, is Literary Editor of .Cent and a former editor of Litro magazine, and co-founded and directs the award-winning short story event Liars’ League (www.liarsleague.com).
We are delighted to announce that this year’s story competition is supported by the mighty Liars’ League, the literary spoken word event that is taking the world by storm, after starting in London, and now with cousins in Hong Kong, New York and other cities near and far. For the past several years, the Liars’ League company have provided the readings at the Willesden Herald results and anthology launch events, which has made them rather wonderful nights. It’s a unique delight for a writer to hear her or his words brought to life by professional actors in front of a live audience. This is one of the things that makes our short story competition so special.
We are thrilled and honoured to announce that David Means has kindly agreed to be the judge for the eighth annual Willesden Herald international short story competition.
David Means’ stories have a diamond-like sharpness and clarity, in which we visit locations, society and climates as vividly as in a waking dream. I couldn’t point to Sault Ste Marie on the map but I feel I’ve been there. I’ve never hung onto a train but I sort of know what it’s like now. I’ve never lived in an apartment in New York or slept rough but…you get the picture? Writers, you have your work cut out for you.
Wikipedia: David Means
The Spot by David Means review by James Lasdun in the Guardian
Interview with David Means in the New York Times
Short stories by David Means in The New Yorker
NY podcast: David Means reads Chef’s House by Raymond Carver
David Means’ author page at Faber and Faber
So intercept a story when it stops at traffic lights, shine its windscreen with a piece of tissue paper the size of a coin, run home, type it out and send it to us as soon as electronically possible. Or whatever your process is. Closing date: Friday, 21 December 2012.