For a short story writer, inclusion in The New Yorker is the ultimate accolade. Forget prizes, book publication, fame, fortune—all you really want is to be listed together with Salinger, Cheever, Arthur Miller, Annie Proulx, E. L. Doctorow, Alice Monro, William Trevor, Edna O'Brien and the rest. Then if one of your stories is included, your only aim in writing short stories will be to have another chosen.
David Means, the judge for The Willesden Herald international hort story competition this year has had, at the latest count, no less than six of his short stories published in The New Yorker. He has also had three collections published by major publishing houses, including the august Faber & Faber, won the L.A. Times prize for his first book, Assorted Fire Events, and yes he teaches Creative Writing at Vassar. But all you need to know is that you have a chance to have a short story of yours short-listed to be read by David Means, by entering our seventh annual short story competition.
Previous recipients of the priceless mug and short-listed have gone on to high achievement and book deals. So start wrangling those literary mustangs or whisper in their ears, or teach them dressage, or give them apples and let them have a lie down. Closing date 21 December 2012.
Meanwhile you could do a lot worse than read our most popular anthology ever, New Short Stories 6, featuring new stories by Virginia Gilbert, Charles Lambert, Geraldine Mills and seven more great writers, the illustrious 2012 Willesden Herald best international stories. There is also a Kindle version. Previous years' anthologies are the perfect guide to the type of story likely to make it onto the short list.
People often complain that we don't say what sort of stories we want. Actually, we do, every year. Please read the anthologies, that's what the purpose of the competition is, to send new stories out to appreciative readers like your good self. Entries are in the hundreds but readers of the stories are in the tens. It would be great to improve on that this year.