Category Archives: stories in anthologies

The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels

Stephen Moran, head honcho of the Willesden Herald, has invited me to judge this year’s Willesden Prize, aka ‘The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Competition 2017’, and I’m a bit worried I won’t be up to the job, because the only thing I’m good for right now is listening to music (mostly, this past week or so, The Psychedelic Furs). This month I’ve also started, but not finished reading, several lengthy novels. I’m hoping it won’t be like that when it comes to reading the shortlist. The not finishing, I mean. But then, it’s rare for me not to finish a short story, or not hear the end of a song. No doubt commitment comes into it. The end of a novel or TV series can feel so far off you’ll never get there, and sometimes it seems the writers have had trouble getting there, too.

But songs and stories tunnel into their content instead of finding ways around or over it. I love tunnels: old railway tunnels, foot tunnels, even disused mines, especially when they lead somewhere unexpected. Another country, an underground concert, a beach with no visible path leading to it…


(…not a request for stories featuring tunnels as much as for surprises.) If you’re thinking of giving this a go, here’s a bit more info.

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Competition

The Willesden Prize is open to anyone, anywhere, writing short stories in English. Length and theme are unimportant – just send the best unpublished piece you have, up to a max of 7500 words. Entries are read blind.

Closing date: August 31

Entries must be sent via the online entry page, with an entry fee of £7.50.

Winners anthology

The winners announcement will be made probably in October or November.  Stories by the ten shortlisted writers will be included in the a paperback book to be published, by December 2017, “Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10”. (If you’re curious,  find the back issues here.) Each contributing writer will receive two comp copies. Entry fees help pay for the anthology and prizes.

£1200 in prizes

This prize is not all about the money, far from it. Everyone who works on it, sifting, doing admin, judging and editing the anthology, does so on a voluntary basis — but… A prize fund of £1,200 will be split between the 10 shortlisted writers. The winner receives a Willesden Herald mug plus £300, the runner-up £200, and 8 short-listed writers each receive £75.

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Bumper edition of The Lonely Crowd

Happy to have couple of pieces on the way in the new Lonely Crowd anthology, which features suitably chill cover art by writer Jo Mazelis. The Lonely Crowd is a series of anthologies of fiction, poetry and photography. Publications like this are so important, because they provide a space to experiment and to play with words (and images). Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet but… It’s so nice that The Lonely Crowd exists as a print publication as well as having a healthy online presence. So am really looking forward to receiving my print copy, and leaving it lying around so that friends, family and visitors visit can pick it up, dip in and out, and talk about it, without a smartphone or a laptop in sight!

The Lonely Crowd is edited by writer John Lavin (read one of his stories online here) and costs £9 a pop, P&P free from TLC direct


The Winter edition, out in early January 2017, is Number 6 in the series, and features new writing by: Robert Minhinnick, Nuala O’Connor, Niall Griffiths, Tom Vowler, Constantinos Andronis, Ingrid Casey, Ellen Davies, Diana Powell, Rhian Elizabeth, Sue Moules, Tony Bianchi, Lander Hawes, Anne Griffin, Emily Devane, Susmita Bhattachary, Paul Davenport-Randell, Iain Robinson, Richard Smyth, Mark Blayney, Mari Ellis Dunning, Nora Shychuk, Derwen Morfayel, John Saul, Neil Campbell, Bethany W. Pope, Kelly Creighton, Alys Conran, Jackie Gorman, Kate North and Jeanette Sheppard.

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Rarebit is launching in Cardiff on Short Story Day (21 December 2013). If you are in Cardiff the tour kicks off at 2pm, outside Waterstones Cardiff (The Hayes) and will criss cross central Cardiff until 4pm. Full info from Parthian Books

I am very pleased to be among the writers whose stories make up the Rarebit anthology. Writer and editor Susie Wild’s selection is bound to prove interesting. As an actual physical book Rarebit should be rather special as Cardiff artist John Abell has made a woodcut for each story. (More about the book here and the artist here). Personally I love the visual simplicity of woodcuts, and even did a class once to learn how to make them. They look simple but are hard work: you get this thing like a screwdriver with a V-shape at the end, and have to gouge out chunks of wood with it, working in negative. I still have not seen a copy as I have been stuck at home with a bad cold, watching light coatings of snow bring a look of seasonal glitter to the town, but the book can be bought at good bookshops or ordered from the publisher.

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