Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Breaking news: Short story competition result 2008

Dear Willesden Herald Readers,

This is a difficult thing to write. Just like everybody, we at The Willesden Herald are concerned about the state of contemporary literature. We are depressed by the cookie-cutter process of contemporary publishing, the lack of truly challenging and original writing, and the small selection of pseudo-literary fictio-tainment that dominates our chain bookstores. We created this prize to support unpublished writers, and, with our five grand, we put our money where our mouths are. We have tried to advertise widely across this great internet of ours and to make the conditions of entry as democratic and open as we could manage. There is no entry fee, there are no criteria of age, race, gender or nation. The stories are handed over to the judges stripped of the names of the writers as well as any personal detail concerning them (if only The Booker worked like that!) Our sole criterion is quality. We simply wanted to see some really great stories. And we received a whole bunch of stories. We dutifully read through hundreds of them. But in the end – we have to be honest – we could not find the greatness we’d hoped for. It’s for this reason that we have decided not to give out the prize this year.* This doesn’t make anyone at The Willesden Herald very happy, but we got into this with a commitment to honour the best that’s out there, and we feel sure there is better out there somewhere.

Now I would like to lose the collective pronoun and speak personally for a moment. I am very proud to be patron of this prize. I think there are few prizes of this size that would have the integrity not to award a prize when there is not sufficient cause to do so. Most literary prizes are only nominally about literature, they are really about brand consolidation – for beer companies, phone companies, coffee companies even frozen food companies. The little Willesden Herald Prize is only about good writing, and it turns out that a prize faithfully recognizing this imperative must also face the fact that good writing is actually very rare. For let us be honest again: it is sometimes too easy, and too tempting, to blame everything that we hate in contemporary writing on the bookstores, on the corporate publishers, on incompetent editors and corrupt PR departments – and God knows, they all have their part to play. But we also have our part to play. We also have to work out how to write better and read better. We have to really scour this internet to find the writing we love, and then we have to be able to recognize its quality. We cannot love something solely because it has been ignored. It must also be worthy of our attention.

Once again, the judges and I, we are absolutely certain there is great writing out there on this internet. Many of the entries we received suggested it. But we didn’t receive enough. And now, in order to try and draw whatever great writing is out there towards this little website, maybe my fellow judges and I need to be a bit more specific about what we’re looking for. Actually, as it always is with writing and reading, it’s more useful to say what we’re not looking for.

For I have thought, reading through these entries, that maybe the problem with this prize is that my name is attached to it. To be very clear: just because this prize has the words Willesden and Zadie hovering by it, does not mean that I or the other judges want to read hundreds of jolly stories of multicultural life on the streets of North London. Nor are we exclusively interested in cutesy American comedies, or self-referential post-modern vignettes, or college satires. To be even clearer: if these things turn up and are brilliantly written, they will not be ignored. But we also welcome all those whose literary sympathies lie with Rimbaud or Capote, with Irving Rosenthal or Proust, with Svevo or Trocchi, with Ballard or Bellow, Denis Cooper or Diderot, with Coetzee or Patricia Highsmith, with street punks or Elizabethans, with Southern Gothic or with Nordic Crime, with Brutalists or Realists, with the Lyrical or the Encyclopedic, in the ivory tower, or amongst the trash that catches in the gutter. We welcome everybody. We have only one principle here: MAKE IT GOOD.

So, let’s try again, yes? All the requirements for entry you will find below.

I’m very sorry for any disappointment caused this year, but this prize will continue and we hope it will get stronger with each year that passes. And we promise you now and forever: it will never be sponsored by a beer company.

Yours sincerely,

Zadie Smith

* For more details, please see 1) Bilal's report, 2) Disposition of the prize money, 3) Common faults in short stories submitted. 4) The latest competition pages (updated 2016). Ed.


Anonymous said...

Really? Nothing good enough even to encourage? Apart from the obvious personal disappointment I find that an overall disappointment in the competition itself and, dare I say it, in the judges. This is not the first time this year that a writing competition has declined to award its prize and that's hardly going to nurture new talent is it?
Maybe established writers like things just the way they are...

Vanessa Gebbie said...


Good for you guys. No point in giving a top prize like that unless work really seriously blows you away.

I'm with you.

(and yes, I entered too.

I know a few of those 'Anons'...funny how they turn up and hide behind sofas to give speeches!)

Roll on next year.

Anonymous said...

I am, admittedly, a heavy user of crack cocaine, but I'm pretty sure that the other day I read a notification saying that the shortlisted writers had received word of their success...

Ah, success! How fleeting your kisses, how fickle the wobble of your thighs.

Mucho admiracion para Zadie and Stephen's high-minded standards, and for the carefully worded call to excellence (fail better, mothafockas!) but I suspect there are ten or so people out there who were recently tap-dancing on the moon and are now staring at their shoes, kicking at the dust, wondering what they did wrong.

Which is a shame, non?

Anonymous said...

Ah, Vanessa, we're not all as brave (or as foolish?) as you to think that we can reveal ourselves with impugnity. It doesn't make the comments any less valid in my view, regardless of whether the person who posted them was cowardly or not. Maybe you would have felt differently if you hadn't had such a positive response to the announcement?

Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe that out of 800 or so entries, not one winner? Not even a shortlist!!?? I know several very good writers that entered this. I doubt if they sent shoddy work.
It's easy for those who are already established to forget that a prize like this is important.
It gave Vanesssa Gebbie a foothold. Maybe that's why she's so pleased there is no one to take her crown...

Anonymous said...

If you want to be nurtured, do better.

I think that this is a great result. It would have been far easier to have a party, write a check and that would be that.

Anyway, I am not sure that La Smith feels threatened by many writers. If she did, she would not have agreed to put her time into this.

Also, if there was one winner, NINE people would have been "recently tap-dancing on the moon and are now staring at their shoes, kicking at the dust, wondering what they did wrong". This merely means that integrity is retained and there are now TEN such people.

Sherri said...

As the shortlisted writers had already been advised (yes, I saw that posting too, which later disappeared)would it not be more fair to divide the prize between them rather to withhold it entirely? At least that would acknowledge their efforts and their partial success, as would an announcement as to who they were. To let people know they were shortlisted, let them think they would be published in the anthology (which I assume has also been abandoned) and then to pull the rug out entirely seems both parsimonious and cruel and unlikely to encourage entrants next year.

And, no, I wasn't shortisted, and nor do I know anyone who was, but I feel for those who were!

Anonymous said...

I would venture that many writers don't give a shit who sponsors the prize. The publicity and the money are a great shot in the arm to anyone struggling in a crappy job (or with no job) who really, really wants to write.
There is something distasteful about this whole business. So, no s/list, no prize, no book? Why did we bother to take part, those of us who did?
An Irritated Writer

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

Any of you has the list of the 'shortlisted'?

I think it would be nice to post it somewhere, it would give some motivation to the people that participated. At the same time people not there would be challenged to be better.

I'm not in favor or against this desition by the way.

Anonymous said...

To all my anonymous friends, but "anonymous" in particular,

Goodness gracious - where to begin? Before we descend into territorial internet ribaldry and call each other Himmler, you must remember this:

A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh

And your ad hominem attack of Vanessa and her magnanimity reveals that it is you who are the spluttering coward giggling in the dark.

Think on these three things, I beg of thee:

-- "Reveal ourselves with impugnity" --
I suspect you don't know what "impunity" really means, but that you heard it once on Perry Mason. I agree, it sounds punchy, forceful - but do you really know what you're saying?

Like a good sandwich, a sentence is all about its ingredients. So far, you're more Benjys than Pret.

-- "Maybe you would have felt differently if you had n't had such a positive response" --
Consider your sentence closely, and tell me what's wrong with it.

Are you there yet?

Perhaps you would be there if you weren't somewhere else.

And finally:

Defending your own comments on the basis that "in your view they are valid" is as tautologous as it is intellectually corrupt. It's nonsense. It's ballyhoo.
(These three things all mean the same thing, incidentally. Did you notice?)

To everyone else -

Let's all acknowledge that we are not as wise as we'd like to be. We are not all wunderkinds. Success is not our birthright, and talent rarely our maiden name. In life there's hoops to be hula'd and battles lost and won, but in the big old scheme of things, if excellence isn't something we admire - if it isn't truly nonpareil - then what's the point of it all? You can moan all you like, o anonymous friends, but it won't make your sandwiches taste any better. For that, you need some MSG. Or, in my case, a hefty dose of the old crack cocaine.

So let's all fail better next time, eh? Spend the next twelve months curled up with Vivian Darkbloom, watering our literary windowboxes, plucking parsley and shoring up our ruined egos. And for the love of Himmler, let's watch a little less Perry.

Anonymous said...

Why all the unpleasant bickering? Anonymous or not (and surely they can't all be the same person?)we are all entitled to our opinions and to defend the opinions of others. Some find this non-award displeasing, others think it was the right thing to do. Fair enough. But the personal attacks (by 'anonymous' on 'anonymous') are unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

I assume that Ms Smith did not read all the entries. Who were the short-listing judges, aside from Mr Moran? Perhaps the problem was with the short-list, not the entries.

Anonymous said...

I understand the need for integrity. It is important for a prize such as this that the voices that are encouraged and published are diverse and represent the best that is out there. From the sounds if it the entries did not step up to the mark. However it also feels as thugh this has been badly handled. Surely it isn't on to publish a shortlist, remove it, and then say, sorry we thought you weren't good enough. Bernadette's suggestion of splitting the prize money sounds like a fair proposal, and some solace for those shortlisted. Another approach would have been to award the prize to the best of the crop anyway(there must have been a best of the crop), after all a prize is only as good as the entries it attracts. There is a risk in all this that people won't take the prize seriously or that good writers will be put off submitting their work. Put the shortlist back up, let's at least see who got close!

Anonymous said...

Hi -

1: It was absolutely the right thing to do. I think ZS's explanation was extremely clear and totally valid. If this generous prize is to be taken seriously, it has to be taken seriously. If you catch my drift.

2: Sure, there's been a little fumbling. But this can't have been an easy decision, and let's go easy on the beneficent folks behind the whole thang. You think they wanted to read hundreds of stories then end up with their middle finger raised? Nuh-uh.

3: If you were on that shortlist, would you want to have your name out there? I don't think so.

Let's move on, people. Il faut cultiver notre gardens innit.


Anonymous said...

a stunnng and brave decision.

maybe a WH coffee mug each for the ten?

Winner takes all was too much like the Weakest Link in any case, and besides, 5k would have been for PC World and the pub and a holiday; it wouldn't have lasted five minutes and the winner would have been a target for vitriolic attacks from the snubbed also-rans and the lazy bastards who didn't enter in the first place.

The money would most likely have crushed the winner's creativity,not least with the knowledge that his/her story wasn't worth the equivalent of 30 life-giving fresh water wells anyway.

But a mug, that would have been different. They could have raised a toast of roasted rice tea to the ignorant twats (and there would have been plenty) deriding their stories as "utter rubbish!!", "postmodern shite!!" etc etc. a WH coffee mug will give years of drinking pleasure. Even if the stories weren't deemed aywhere near special enough to throw 5k at they were probably still dredged up from the writers' boots with enough struggle attached to make a nice cup of tea in a nice mug some recompense.

But yes, a stunning and brave decision. Batten down the hatches at Herald House.

(Of no interest to anyone else maybe, but my idea would be in any case to send the money somewhere to give hundreds of people hope and life, rather than make some poor sod the target of the envy of embittered people who would struggle to write an interesting sentence if Nabokov jumped up in their soup and held their pen for them. )


Anonymous said...

I agree - mugs all round.Would £5000 cover 800 mugs?

Sherri said...

Some good points there, Sam. Maybe I (and others) had misunderstood what this competition was about. Perhaps calling it a competition is the problem, as that implies a winner to me. Perhaps in future years it should be renamed as an award and the possibility that it won't be given should be brought higher up the T&C - although after this year that will probably be quite clear anyway.

Anonymous said...

This is the greatest practical joke ever perpetrated.

Quillers said...

I have to agree with those who said that it would be nice for the shortlisted to get some reward for their efforts. If not a share of the prize, then some momento. Or even just a name check so they can feel proud of getting even a small place in what was obviously a tough competition.

I say this with absolutely no expectation of being among them.

Anonymous said...

The non-shortlisted made the same effort as the shortlisted (if there even is a shortlist?). That is, they prepared their work, abided by the rules, sent it off and trusted the organisers to read their work for what it was. How many stories did ZS actually read? I find it almost impossible to believe that the people who selected the stories did not think there was a winner among the ones they sent to ZS. It is all very muddy and odd.

Quillers said...

Fair enough, anon. We all did make the same effort. I suppose I mean in terms of them getting close to the top. It would be nice for them to know. Or maybe it wouldn't be. It's a bit of a double-edged sword.

Anonymous said...

Set aside your rusty swords!

Any struggle useless.

Take your last look at this yellow world - we’re leaving for the sake of beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how a shortlist could have been drawn up if there weren't any decent entries. Why would you draw up a list? Surely, you'd say, sorry there aren't enough good entries to make that list?

Craig Cliff said...

I wonder how many PUBLISHED stories Zadie Smith and the other judges would read to find one “great” story? Of course a free competition will have some chaff, but to expect “greatness” in a mid-level short story competition might be overstating the competition’s importance. Especially one “established to support unpublished writers.” Few writers achieve greatness without first passing through mediocrity, promise, proficiency…

I can understand why they wouldn't want to send the message that proficiency was enough, but if the competition and its organisers really want to help usher writers towards greatness, how about some specific critiques? I’d be particularly interest to hear how the short-listed entries fell short…

Dreams are free, right?

Anonymous said...

Will next year's be a rollover prize?

Anonymous said...

I imagine that the short-listing judges chose the best of what they had. I imagine that they had to send a short-list to Zadie Smith and so they did. What they thought of this short-list, we do not know. They might not have had many high hopes for it.

£5k is not a 'mid-level competition'. It puts it, for the short story, among the three or four most lucrative in Europe. Even in the US, the current home of the short story, $10,000 is a lot.

Can you imagine the amount of disgruntlement that feedback would engender? Most of the grumps here are simply unwilling to accept that this year's entries were not that good. If you want to learn how to write, you could do worse than to read some of the writers Zadie mentioned.

If you ask who profited from this, the answer certainly cannot be the short-listing judges or Zadie Smith. It was a hell of a lot more difficult to announce this than a mediocre winner.

And, for the record, there has NEVER been a short-list published. If there had been, someone would have a copy and would have posted it back up here.

Instead of telling how sour the grapes are in your mouth, how about we stop asking this prize to celebrate mediocrity, and be thankful that someone somewhere cares that excellence matters.

If you want money, ask the Arts Council. If you are untalented, I daresay they will dole it out readily.

Anonymous said...

Vanessa Gebbie mentioned on her blog yesterday that she hadn't made the shortlist so there must have been one otherwise how would she know?

Anonymous said...

There was an announcement on here to the effect that 'if you have not been contacted, you have not made the short-list'. No other details of the short-list were given unless I missed something.

I assume that it was taken down when Zadie Smith made her judgement as it was redundant.

Anonymous said...

Zadie Smith seems to lecture and patronise 'unpublished writers' rather than encourage or support them in her comments.
I too appreciate excellence in writing. I too admire Svevo and Coetzee and Ballard. I am sure, though, that as 'unpublished writers' they too wrote stories that did not achieve this 'greatness' that Smith wags in our faces. They needed support and encouragement. Surely, some of the stories entered showed glimmers of greatness. I find it hard to accept that none of the stories entered showed any writing potential. It would be heartening if a published writer of Smith's stature was more willing to nurture potential if not already-perfectly-formed greatness.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Because a public announcement was made to say that those on the shortlist had been contacted. I wasn't... so wasn't. Logical deduction.

Thank you for reading the blog.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about sour grapes happy larry. You can't expect the WH to make an announcement like this and people not discuss it. It's a huge thing to the 800 people who entered. Everyone of them, by dint of sending off their entry, is entitled to voice their opinion on this, whether negative or positive.

Or are only yes men/women allowed to voice their opinions on the decision?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what was said to the shortlisted entrants.

Congratulations, you've made the shortlist, except the shortlisted stories just aren't good enough to be deemed worthy of a prize, so although you did well, we'll have to leave it at that.

Indeed, have the shortlisted entrants even been told they're shortlisted??

Anonymous said...

Please, by all means, post your opinions. I am fascinated by the depths of the inadequacies of some of the writers here. The competition is not there to nurture you. The competition is there for you to aspire to win. If you want nurturing, for someone to hold your hand and tell you that you are marvellous, then please accept my apologies.

We all sucked so much that they could not bear to give us a prize. i am living with it. You should consider it too.

There was no entry fee, no rules about length or genre... what more do you want them to do for the poor 800 entrants? Write the bloody things for them?

Anonymous said...

Ah, exactly as I thought - the local sorting office to me DOESN'T deliver the letters posted into their local boxes (in NW3 if anyone is interested!!).

I can understand that no-one would want to declare a rather less-than-good story as winner of a competition like this, it wouldn't be good to be associated with giving a large sum to it; so my story Love! Yes! Really patently never got there, or if it did it WAS NOT READ properly.

Perhaps you could re-check (?) and reconsider (?)

"Sandra got a warm fuzzy feeling in her tummy whenever Jeremy was around. With buttocks like that who wouldn't?" etcetera...

Thank you.

S. Kearney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S. Kearney said...

This whole affair does seem very odd. I love this writing project and I love the motivation behind it (yay to no beer sponsorship), but I do have some observations to make.

The decision not to award the prize is one thing. I didn't read the stories. Maybe it is true that there was no pearl among them. I entered a story, but I'm ready to accept that not everyone will agree that it's the most fabulous story in the world and deserving of a £5,000 prize. (If you change your mind, Zadie, I'm still willing to accept the cash, OK?)

But seriously, I would suggest that a bit of a rethink is in order at the Willesden Herald on how this short story contest is run. I imagine the good people there are probably already doing this.

What a shame to have all these negative questions now about this "mystery" shortlist. It's just not good PR. It doesn't seem very open and transparent. Why not release this list? Why strip these people of this honour? The shortlist was published last year and it was promised in this year's rules. Does it follow that just because the top prize isn't awarded the shortlist should also be scrapped?

For a contest that wants to be seen as reputable and a promoter of excellence, putting up news on the website that a shortlist exists (albeit unannounced), only to then quickly take that message down seems to have been very unwise.

It is very clear that Zadie Smith didn't think much of the choices made by the readers who sifted through the 800 or so entries. Could the problem then have been with the choice/standard of the readers, and not with the standard of the entries? Is it possible that a pearl slipped through in the early reading? Nothing out of 800? Wow, that's something.

It seems very odd that a shortlist is arrived at - wouldn't we all love to read those entries now? -but the effort of the readers who chose them are dismissed. I hope the Willesden Herald reconsiders this. Maybe the anthology will go ahead?

Also, I wonder if the entry written by no other than Katherine Mansfield was spotted by the readers? Wouldn't that be something, if the celebrated work of a short story master was thrown out with the dishwater? Did it make it to the shortlist?

But, anyway, here's an idea. I reckon the shortlisted writers should get together anyway and publish their own anthology. I would definitely buy a copy.

S. Kearney said...

Ahhhh, I'm very happy to see the update above, which wasn't there when I wrote my bit above. Yes, power to the people! Yay to Zadie, Stephen and Co. By the way, will we get to read the shortlisted stories? And how many were shortlisted? And please check that Mansfield didn't slip through to the shortlist! That would be embarrassing.

Ossian said...

The short list may be announced, er, shortly. And the stories may be accessible to read, er, accessibly. Online. Maybe. Welcome to 24-hour rolling news from Wreuters.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the short-list is not being released because WH wants to ensure that those who were on it are happy to have their names made public... after all, it is not exactly a pat on the back to have Zadie say that none of them quite made the grade.

Perhaps the short-listed writers would be embarrassed to be known as so stunningly mediocre that the judges took the radical decision of witholding the prize!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ossian said...

I deleted a personal comment. Please stick to the issues.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of the comments. I do not trust the judges not to have missed an amazing story. They probably did not read the stories. Picked them randomly. They are hiding the short list to sell to the nazis. There cannot be a single rational reason for their actions. I want my money back.

Ossian said...

I'm closing the comments on this for the time being to allow me/us time to reflect. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. I have listened to what you all have said and will keep your comments in mind.

Ossian said...

ok, we've thunk. fire at will.

we're listening.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, Esquire magazine sponsored a short story contest for young writers and also decided not to award a prize. But they did list a few of the runners-up on their website, and one of them was Jonathan Safran Foer.

This was a few years before The New Yorker published the story that would evolve into Foer's novel "Everything is Illuminated."

So take heart, rejects. There could be hope for us yet.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lord, the "Benjys than Pret" nonnymouse is a hectoring ass. Ooh, condescension! Ooh, sarcasm! I've never met them before and I'm so afraid!

Spare us the trolls under the bridge.

You'll all survive. In the grand scheme of things this is a single unpleasant sneeze.

Anonymous said...

I like pineapples.

Troy said...

Like many people I am very angry and dissapointed at the way that this competion has been run this year and at the way in which entrants have been treated. This competition now lacks all credibility. I certainly will not enter again next year and I know of a number of people who feel the same way and will not enter this competion again.

Anonymous said...

Troy, after that long explanation, for you not to rise to a challenge and to see the good intentions behind what was done, is indicative of your lack of drive, which usually means a lack of talent. If you had sent in something better, the result would have been different.

I am sure that WH will be really upset to lose your entry fee.

Troy said...

The long explantaion is not satisfactory to me. You can only judge enteries in any competetion against each other, and then pick the best one(s) as winners. Its a bit much to judge them against an idealised version of what you might like the winning story to be, and then cancel the competition when you dont see that vison/standard attained. It would be like cancelling the next world cup on the eve of the final because FIFA didnt think the teams were up to the standard of past winners, like Brazil 1970. Forgive the football anology, but the situation is equally absurd. Out of 800 or so enteries was there really nothing worthy of any sort of a prize or endorsement? Its the Willesden Herald for Gods sake, its not the New Yorker or the Paris Review. Give us a break!

Unknown said...

It's all well and good to lay the blame on the submitters for failing to live up to a poorly defined, abstruse set of standards, but there exists here a disturbing undertone. It seems that the WH has engaged in nothing more than a desperate attempt to grab readers and followers by offering a contest and eliciting participation from a wide audience, and then failing to follow through on the results of said contest, namely, that someone wins. Dangling the promise of a prize in front of people who seek recognition and a way to penetrate the iron curtain of publishing is nothing short of abhorrent behavior. Defend them all you will, but I cannot help but think that Zadie Smith and the editors of the WH have duped us all. Note the continued urges to "wait for next year", a less-than-subtle attempt to keep us coming back.
At least a beer company tells you they want you to drink, and does not pretend that they're product is too good for their customers.

Anonymous said...

You should try reading the terms and conditions before you enter then. They can judge them how they wish, if the rules are adhered to. I cannot see any rule that has been broken.

Why would WH want to dupe anyone? I cannot see how they could profit from it. Why would they want to attract more readers? It is a BLOG. There is no hard copy, there are no sales, it is done for fun. The chances that ZS would risk her reputation to bring 50 more readers to a blog is absurd.

Publishing is not an iron curtain; if you are good enough, you will make it. I know that you do not want to hear that. 'It is a lottery', I hear you cry. But actually, it is not. If you write genre stuff, it might be. But if you write amazingly good stuff, your stuff will get into print. Only egoism prevents us from accepting this horrible truth.

Why would they want fools to enter next year? There is no entrance fee. The whole thing must be run at a loss.

Anyone who is so upset at the thought that excellence is so highly esteemed should enter other, less prestigious competitions.

I loved this comment: "Its the Willesden Herald for Gods sake, its not the New Yorker or the Paris Review. Give us a break!"

Being read by ZS and potentially winning £5k makes this competition among the most prestigious in the world. $10,000 dollars is a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

many thanks for the organisers of the competition. To plough through 850 stories by myself and these other people, for no reward at all other than brickbats - and to devote/waste the best part of three months of their lives merely out of love/interest for the short story form is real sacrifice. contrary to the foolish remarks above I can see no way that anyone could be daft enough to think any money is generated by blogging at this level or that a con has been perpetrated. grow up ffs.

what the competition did for me is worth as much as any money I foolishly may have dreamed of winning. It enabled me to start and struggle with and complete a story.It cost me effort, which I hate, but cost me no money; and complete starngers gave me the chance to dream for a bit. it cost them much more in time and money than me, and it brought them vitriol.

if I have any regrets at all about any decisions taken in this whole affair it is just that the ten shortlisted didn't accept 500 quid each. They deserved to split the cash.


Ossian said...

disposition of the prize money

Ossian said...

This topic is now closed.

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