now incorporating the Sudbury Hill and Wood End Times

Friday, January 06, 2006

Judge's report - Willesden short story prize 2006

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. The collision of kindness and malevolence that results is very well drawn. At the end of the story, when one party is damaged by the other, we find we have cared for her, and in such a short piece of work that is a real achievement.

"Secure" is a stylish, flinty piece of writing that makes the reader work and rewards the commitment. It is angry and passionate without ever sacrificing the precision of its pared-down, effective prose. Unlike many of the stories we read, it allows almost no space at all for cliche - and this marked it out from the first. It feels like the beginning of a longer piece of work and it should be.

Zadie Smith

1 comment:

Ossian said...

Red Woodward has asked me to convey the authors' gratitude and admiration to Zadie for getting involved with this and I'm sure for her encouraging comments.

Also to say that many readers have asked where they can see the winning entries, so when the stories are published, as they surely will be, we'll post details here.