featured post

All about the 2017 international short story competition

We’re delighted to announce that the judge for the International Willesden Herald 2017 New Short Stories competition will be none other than...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Short Stories 9: Awards and Launch

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 our own shopAmazon.co.uk for UK, Ireland and Europe, Amazon.com for US and rest of the world, and other online booksellers. ISBN: 978-0-9852133-7-4
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
supported by

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Results and Book Launch – Willesden December 8th

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.
OUR ACTORS
Courtesy of Liars’ League
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

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 FugueRattle 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 MslexiaCadenza Magazine, Sunpenny Anthology, New Writing Dundee 8, BeginningAnthology, 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 NowGutter 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 ramasseChelsea 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.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Routemasters redux

Routemasters are out of retirement for the Piccadilly Line bus replacement service. The Uxbridge branch has been closed due to "shortage of trains". Hard to believe? So many of them have had wheel damage following wheels locking after braking on lines with leaves on them, that they have knocked out the whole branch and reduced the service on the Heathrow branch. Go ahead and make up your own jokes. It's not much fun for people who go to and from work along the Uxbridge line though.

Whitton Avenue this morning

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Short Stories 9 - first look



It's looking great. The book is a bit stiff because it's brand new. Here I try to flick through the pages while it does its best to resist. (Steve)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Atrocious deep potholes at bus shelters in Sudbury

Bus shelters opposite Sudbury Harrow Road station

The state of the road is dangerous for traffic, cyclists and pedestrians, with a series of very deep potholes. Not only that but the spray of rainwater and broken bits of asphalt has covered the bus shelter seats this morning and is making the bus shelters unusable. There are more potholes of a similar size just out of view in this picture. One big one is obscured by the (broken) litter bin that you see there and there are more behind the camera viewpoint.

This is a busy bus interchange area, with several stops on each side. It's the terminus for the number 18 and also serves several other bus routes, including the 92.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ring the bells

An amusing intro to his last concert in Europe in 2013, before this dark song, which ends with the words, "When they said repent, repent, repent / I wonder what they meant? / When they said repent, repent..."



"I've seen the future brother, it is murder.
The blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold
And it's overturned the order of the soul..."




I swear it happened just like this
A sigh, cry, a hungry kiss
The gates of love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since
But closing time...



In his heyday, with an intro explaining how he doesn't care that the rights to this song were stolen from him

Monday, November 07, 2016

Update: Book launch and results event in Willesden

This is a copy of the newsletter that went out this evening to all our subscribers.
The shortlist is in.
The book is with the printers.
And we’re going to have a wingding.
Dear reader, thanks to those of you who entered or took an interest this year. It was a privilege and an adventure reading the submissions, of which there were 344. And it wasn’t easy narrowing them down to just ten, there was fierce contention for the places on the shortlist. Below you will see the ten stories that made it all the way. On December 8th in Willesden, Katy Darby will reveal which one has taken the Willesden Herald short story prize 2016. Cheers, Steve Moran (Editor)
RESULTS & BOOK LAUNCH
With excerpts from the short-lsited stories read by actors from Liars’ League
The Performance Space
Willesden Green Library Centre
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Thursday 8 December
Cover art by Stratos Fountoulis

      SHORTLIST

  • 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



supported by

Monday, October 24, 2016

Triplets Ghetto Kids & Sherrie Silver - Dancing Marimba


Triplets Ghetto Kids crew and Sherrie Silver - Dancing Marimba

For Bookings:
contact@sherriesilver.com
tripletsfoundationug@gmail.com

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Standoff in Northolt

The scene at Wood End Lane this morning

Cordon ahead, blocking access to or from Whitton Avenue West

The world's media have gathered!
According to reports, there may be a disturbed person with dangerous substances, possibly a stockpile of petrol, and/or "dangerous aggressive dogs". For a proper report, try the Guardian Northolt standoff: armed police spend second night outside house.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Shortlist for the Willesden Herald short story prize 2016

Katy Darby, our judge for 2016, confirms that the shortlist for this year’s award, and therefore the stories to be published in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9, are as follows, in alphabetical order by title:

TitleAuthor
All That RemainsRob Hawke
The Cliffs of BandiagaraCatherine McNamara
Last Call at the RialtoDaniel Waugh
Looking for NathalieSusan Haigh
Love and HairOlga Zilberbourg
The Mayes County Christmas Gun FestivalDavid Lewis
SupersumBarbara Robinson
TwistedTracy Fells
UndercurrentsGina Challen
The VolcanoAnna Lewis
(Update 3/11/2016: One story was withdrawn, and so the shortlist of ten has been updated accordingly.)

And now you will have to wait till the results event to find out who takes the prize for overall winner this year! We’re excited and can’t wait for the actor readings and the book. We’re hoping to meet some of the writers in London, if you can make it. Over the next few days, we’ll be working on the book cover art and details of the event.

Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the shortlisted. It has been a privilege and an adventure reading the stories sent in, appreciating the painstaking art that has gone into them, and experiencing the never-failing wonder of the short story form.


supported by

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate



Scarlet Johansson is lovely in this pseudo home movie, which gradually becomes more surreal and troubling, to one of the Nobel laureate's more melancholy tracks, from Modern Times (2006). The flickering image of a corpse on a bed and the old people with a photo album are among the saddest you could ever find in a "pop" video, and easily missed.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cello and piano



Cello: Gautier Capuçon
Piano: Yuja Wang

Brahms Sonata No.1
26:55 Rachmaninov Sonata
01:02:51 Chopin Sonata 3rd Mvt
01:07:20 Casals Song of the Birds

St Prex Classics Festival 2013

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sunday, October 09, 2016

A polite suggestion



Polite suggestion for Hillary Clinton in tonight's US presidential candidates' debate, forget the handshake with Trump - grab him by the balls and twist! And shimmy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Henrietta Rose-Innes in Geneva


This is Henrietta at the launch of the French translation of her latest novel in Geneva.

Hello - TG Lurgan



Beautiful version of Adele's "Hello" by Shannon Bryan in Gaeilge with choir and ballet, all from TG Lurgan. You can read the lyrics in Irish by following the link to YouTube.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Interview with Gene Wilder



A wonderful interview with Gene Wilder (1933 - 2016). He's great on what it was like working with Richard Pryor, amongst other things.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It's deadline day

The end is nigh. No not transfer requests. There's only till midnight to enter the short story competition.
More info here: www.newshortstories.com.
If you're ready to rock, submit here:
http://willesdenherald.submittable.com/submit

Monday, August 22, 2016

Last Call. Inspirations and Prize Fund

Here's a link to the WordPress version of our short story competition "last call" newsletter: http://newshortstories.com/last-call-inspirations-and-prize-fund/. There's a sign-up form over on the right of this page if you want to get the occasional newsletters. There's also a link to view the previous newsletters in the series.

Friday, August 19, 2016

All about the short story comp'. Closing date: 31 August

Copy of the rules and info from our Submittable entry page:

The rules have changed for 2016. Please read carefully. 

Rules
This competition is open to all aged 18 or over, regardless of nationality or country of residence.
Entries must be:
  • In English
  • Double-spaced
  • In a normal font (12 point preferred)
Entries must not contain any quotations for which copyright might have to be obtained, e.g. song lyrics.
Entries must be entirely your own individual work and never previously published or broadcast. 
Manuscripts must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title of the story. 
Any comment or enquiry to the readers or judges about an entry before the results are out will disqualify.
The word limit this year is 7,500. There is no minimum.
There is no set theme.
You can submit as many entries as you wish but we're not keen on "multiple identities".
Please let us know if your story is accepted for publication elsewhere before our results are announced. You can always use Submittable to withdraw your entry.
If your story has won a prize in another public competition, it's excluded. If it was only short-listed or long-listed that's okay, as long as it hasn't been published.
Previous prizewinners in this competition are excluded. We regret that winners of first or runners-up prizes in previous Willesden Herald short story competitions, i.e. the top three only from each year, are excluded.
Also excluded: Organisers and sponsors, of course, and relatives of this year's readers and judges.
We will not enter into any correspondence about entries or results.
Unfortunately we cannot help with any payment problems you might experience due to geographical location, computer system incompatibilities or other issues.
Entry is by completing the online entry form and uploading your manuscript in Microsoft Word (".doc" or ".docx") or RTF (".rtf") format to our account in the Submittable.com system.

Judging and Dates
All judging is anonymous, using the Submittable "blind" setting we don't see who has sent in the stories till after the judging.
We will reduce the entries to ten from which the overall winner will be chosen anonymously by this year's judge, Katy Darby.
The results will also be announced online, of course, and by email to the writers concerned, as well as at the event. The overall winner will not be announced till the night of the event.
Opening date for submissions: 1 May 2016
Closing date: 31 August 2016
Results due by 31 October 2016. We will be organising a results and book launch event and so the exact date may vary.

Prizes 2016
  • 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.
Copyright
Worldwide copyright on each entry remains with its author. By entering you grant permission, ONLY if your story is short-listed:
  • to include it in "Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9" print and ebook editions;
  • for the story or an excerpt from it to be read at the results and or launch event for the book;
  • for said reading to be recorded and shared through online video and sound sharing media.
Note: Author compensation for inclusion in "Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9" is limited to two complimentary copies of the anthology plus an equal share of prize fund, as described above.
By submitting an entry you agree to accept all the above rules and terms in full.

"And finally," as They Say on the News
The aim of this competition is to encourage the creation of excellent new short stories. Organisation, reading and judging are done on a voluntary or nominal basis, all for the love of the short story.
Please read some of our previous collections to get an idea of what we like and why we do this. You can find them here:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Join Jeremy Corbyn in Kilburn on the eve of the poll

This is the last rally before ballot papers go out in the Labour leadership election. It's a ticketed event so if you support Jeremy Corbyn please follow this link to "RSVP". It's at the old Gaumont State.

Rally: Join Jeremy Corbyn in London

We will be joined by Jeremy Corbyn, trade unionists and community activists from across the country. This will be a coming together to show support for Jeremy’s vision to rebuild and transform Britain.
This is a ticketed event so please RSVP
WHEN
August 21, 2016 at 6pm - 8pm
WHERE
Ruach City Church
197-199 Kilburn High Rd
London NW6 7HY
United Kingdom
Google map and directions

Monday, July 25, 2016

Competition update 27 July 2016

With 38 days till the closing date, there is still all to play for. To date we have had just 63 stories submitted and I'm eight behind in the reading, looking at two tentative yeses, and a small number of maybes. At this grade of ore, we will need about 300 entries to get 10 yeses for the short list.

By the way with the profit-sharing system, when we go over 150 - break even point - all subsequent entry fee income will be split equally among the ten short-listed. As we only get £4 per entry after Submittable commission, that would produce a prize fund of £600.

If you're wondering what the first 150 entry fees are used for, the answer is for publishing the book, author copies, and the results event. If there's anything left over we'll chuck it into the prize fund as well.

Steve

All details and how to enter: www.newshortstories.com

Friday, July 08, 2016

Can you help trace the Willesden Morozoff family?

Letters

Can you help me find the mystery lady in the photograph? This is the story:

My great aunt Emily Elizabeth Hall married a Russian Tailor called John Morozoff. They had children: John (1891) & Vera Maria (1893), both born in Westminster; then Leslie Paul (1904) born at 18 Grange Road Willesden; then Henry Frank (1898),  Pauline (1900) and Emily Elizabeth (1901) all born at 13 Hawthorne Road Willesden, which subsequently became no.51 Hawthorne Road.

My great aunt died in childbirth with Emily Elizabeth. After that the father moved to l, Brenthurst Road, Willesden and had the children baptized in St.Marys Church Willesden.- they were there but

They moved to Belgium in 1904. Later 3 of the children came back here; they were John, Vera Maria and Henry Frank and I am in contact with this part of the family. However  we don't know what happened to the other 3 children: Leslie Paul, Pauline and Emily Elizabeth.

I have been in touch with the Belgium archives and I was very fortunate that they had the Morozoff file. As they were foreigners in the land they had to inform the authorities when they moved address. So I know that Pauline was leaving Ixelles in Belgium in 1926, unfortunately don't know where to.

The photograph I have is in 1904 in Belgium. But apparently this woman figured in the family when in Willesden. She would have descendants somewhere and if recognized may be a stepping stone to finding where the rest of the family went. I have done work on the Ancestry Search engine and have trawled all the passenger lists and cannot find any of these Morozoffs so have hit a brick wall at the moment.

Kathy

If you have any info. for Kathy, please contact kathleenpjones at  live.co.uk. Ed.

Monday, July 04, 2016

A literary agent to read our winning stories

We are delighted to announce that agent Carrie Kania of literary agency Conville & Walsh has kindly agreed to read the ten winning stories this year. Here is a link to Carrie's profile. Among her many credits, she launched an imprint that racked up 13 New York Times bestsellers. She also works for leading writers in the short story world, including Simon Van Booy, who won the Frank O’Connor award in 2009 for his collection of stories Love Begins in Winter, and Paul McVeigh. So once again, please send us your best short stories. Each one will be carefully read and considered. Thanks. (Ed.)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Today's specials

Sudbury Hill
But remember you can't have a la carte Europop now that we're leaving the EU.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Europop Week - Wednesday - for Remain (2)



Summer Night City - ABBA

Let's enjoy all this wonderful territory of ours.

Europop Week - Wednesday - for Remain



With the added delights of watching the reactions of the irreplaceables Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson in the audience as Andrea takes the high note - and the roof off the Albert Hall

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Europop Week - Tuesday - for Remain



Solidarity with Ukraine as Russia attacks it and annexes Crimea, just for wanting to join the EU

Monday, June 20, 2016

Europop Week - Monday - for Remain



Je t'aime / moi non plus - Serge Gainsbourg (France) and Jane Birkin (England) - l'Entante très cordiale. The best pop song in the history of the world?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Europe is ours. Own It!


From the Acropolis to Galway Bay, from Lappland in the Arctic Circle to the subtropical Canary Islands, the European Union is ours. Europe is ours.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Inisheer - 1975

Above the half door, a beach;
above that again, the sea.
The morning ferry from Galway
anchors in the doorway
and waits offshore in the sun.

Aran sweaters are navy blue
and such, not many white.
The ferrymen, hard as the sea,
are readying their currachs,
which are also fishing boats.

This island has no police,
no cars, no roads, no harbour.
The people speak Irish
and the tiny stonewalled fields
have rabbits and a donkey or two.

This side faces the mainland.
There's a pub. That's it.
They close when you finish drinking.
We never knew and kept them awake,
then staggered out under the stars.

One of them was zig-zagging.
Who knew we couldn't fix it,
on the rocky path we walked,
stopping, sitting, starting again,
mystified and drunk with life.

A little sandy beach,
sheltered by rocks,
we sunbathed but never swam.
The cove was full of jellyfish
blown in by last night's gale.

I ate something like wild garlic
stupidly, luckily not poisoned.
Walking where skuas swooped
to threaten our heads, we found
a ruin half-buried in the sand.

It was a church from the age
of saints and scholars, hungry,
not tall or else they stooped
to pass under the low lintel
into their pious stone hall.

Our blasé plaster living rooms
might be bigger now than this
place where monks huddled
and chanted in Latin, fearful,
euphoric and awestruck.

Another mile to the final cliffs
where sheered walls of tawny rock
face the edge of the world.
Did they venture in twos, singly,
or all together to this western shore?

They prayed to God of the Atlantic
for their feeble, perilous lives.
They prayed for the flat world, finite
under a dome of sky, waiting
for the terrible Judgment Day.

Next stop America, we know now.
But for them the ineluctible fury
of the Atlantic was proof
that they were small, very small,
and so are we, the same.

The wavelets turn rollercoaster
only halfway to the ferry, leaving.
It's too late then to set the price
when they ask. Whatever it is,
we have to pay the currach men.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hyper-Reality

HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

A thought-provoking video by Keiichi Matsuda. It's brilliant and by turns scary and humorous.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

End of Winter

It's cold, it's wet, it's one of those days.
Yes, those days. Gifts of light,
Water, thoughts and air.

It's noisy and crowded on the train,
In the rush hour, but it's an hour
And it holds together one of our days.

In a moment of anguish, breathe
With your mind. It's a moment and
If it weren't there, you'd be dead.

We've had our days, our moments,
And come back for more.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Katy Darby to judge Willesden Herald competition 2016

We are pleased and not a little excited to announce the judge for the international Willesden Herald New Short Stories 2016 competition.

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.

Katy Darby
There's nothing that Katy doesn't know about short stories, especially since Liars' League recently celebrated its 100th themed live event, in possibly her 100th costume. Liars' League has given their first break to dozens of new and up-and-coming writers, with their stories brought to life by a company of superb actors. For a fiver you can catch the show every first Tuesday of the month Downstairs at the Phoenix, Cavendish Square in London's West End.

Habemus iudicem

We have some news. The investigating magistrate for the 2016 competition. Watch this space.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

With a nod to Mister Burns

My love is like a dead, dead rose
That's munched up by a loon.
My love is like a dour lament
That's sung all out of tune.

As fit art thou, my giddy dame,
Oh so nauseous am I,
But I will love you just the same
And laugh until I cry.

I'll laugh until I cry, dear foe,
And rest in your bad books,
And I will love you still although
You shoot me evil looks.

G

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Horsenden Hill Park today

On the way in from Melville Road

The bowling green

Playing fields

More playing fields

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What has the ECHR ever done for us?

History of the Kodak factory in Harrow

Now set for closure, The Kodak factory "continued to grow throughout the twentieth century, and by 1965, occupied a 55-acre site, employing at its height ... over 6,000 people." From: A History of Kodak in Harrow | Harrow Online

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New Short Stories competition 2016

It’s been a while. We’re going back to a simpler time when the first prize was an inscribed mug. Supported by Liars' League. Closing date for entries will be August 31st. All the details are on our Submittable page. Looking forward to reading for Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9.



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.


Update: Katy Darby to judge 2016 short stories competition