Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jayaben Desai obituary

Politics | The Guardian

A tribute to Grunwick strike leader Jayaben Desai written by Jack Dromey. Here is a link to our 2003 feature about the indomitable Mrs Desai, Famous People from Willesden #3.

BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award 2010 goes to Wes Lee

Update: Willesden Herald finalist Wes Lee wins New Zealand's preeminent prize for the short story, The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, judged by Booker shortlisted author Lloyd Jones (Mister Pip).

The $10,000 prize is New Zealand's longest standing most prestigious prize for the short story. Past winners of the award include NZ literary greats such as Keri Hulme, C.K. Stead, Frank Sargeson, Vincent O'Sullivan.

Lloyd Jones had this to say about Wes Lee's prizewinning story 'Furniture': "This is a very accomplished story that hides its sophistication beneath language that proceeds effortlessly ... Sophisticated in its construction, persuasive in its telling, this story is in a class of its own."

Since her shortlisted story 'The Dead Don't Do That Kind of Thing' was published in Willesden Herald New Short Stories 1 (2007) Wes Lee has won a number of prizes for her short stories. For more information and to read the Katherine Mansfield Award winning story please visit

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas video treats

This is so good it could be re-released or featured in the soundtrack for a "rom com" film, surely? Maybe it's been done.


When push comes to shove

Kettling video 'appalling', police watchdog panel chair says | UK news | The Guardian

The police compressing the students between two lines and you can hear people saying "There is nowhere to go", "There is no space" and "You're going to kill someone". It looks like the police are trying to crush the students to death. This is what it has come to. "When push comes to shove" the ruthless and degenerate ruling class reasserts its ancient powers.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Warning: local hill impassable


The hill at Peter Avenue NW10 should be considered impassable for practical purposes. If you drive up there is a chance you will get stuck halfway and start to slide out of control.

Captain Beefheart has flown

I'm Glad - Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band

Don Van Vliet (1941 - 2010)

The 6th annual short story competition is now closed


385 entries were received and each one is a contender for a place in the short list come new year. Thanks to all who entered for entrusting to us your stories, it is an adventure and a joy to start reading them. There is no set date for the results. There will be an announcement online most likely in February and the short-listed authors will be contacted by email at that time.

Steve Moran

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cool jazz for a cold day

Nature Boy (Nat King Cole) - Pomplamoose

Reminder - deadline today

This is the last day to enter the short story competition. The number of entries has just passed 350 so it should be a good year. I am way behind with the reading and looking forward to catching up over the Christmas break. There is still all to play for as I have nowhere near a short list yet. (SM)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BBC iPlayer - Accused: Frankie's Story

BBC iPlayer - Accused: Frankie's Story

Brings the reality of war home better than any documentary, I think. Maybe BBC should make iPlayer viewable overseas, it would only be to the good and not a waste of the licence fee but rather an added merit.

Looking southwest

Most of the pictures from Herald House on here are to the west and north. This is the other view looking as southerly as possible from this vantage point, which is only as far as about southwest. The picture is of a lovely striated red sky from last Thursday evening.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Whose streets, whose images and why?

Citizen Surveillance | Brrnrrd

Interesting reflections on the selective use of images by the media to support accretion of more power to the establishment and its removal from the general public. Brrnrrd contrasts the "rogues galleries" of protesters and miscreants with the paucity or removal of images of police and police crimes.

Short story competition latest

Update, December 2010

To date over 200 entries have been received and hopes are high for another set of oustanding stories this year but I am still asking for more better stories, please. They are currently arriving at a rate of about 8 or 10 per day and I am behind with the reading. Looking forward to lots of fascinating stories over the next few weeks. The closing date is 17 December, 2010. Meanwhile previous finalists continue to conquer the literary world, so there's encouragement for you. Thanks. (SM)

Bloomsbury to publish first novel by Vanessa Gebbie

'The Coward's Tale' by Vanessa Gebbie, previous winner of the Willesden short story prize, will be published in hardback in UK by Bloomsbury UK, November 2011. Then in paperback late spring 2012, UK and simultaneous trade paperback in USA by Bloomsbury USA. Bloomsbury publishes major writers including J K Rowling.

Laura Solomon wins Hong Kong's Proverse prize

Another prodigy from our previous competitions, New Zealand writer Laura Solomon has won Hong Kong's international Proverse prize, for her novel Instant Messages. "Hilarious! Excellent! Its light and ironic touch makes Instant Messages a page-turner and gives it substance.' (International Proverse Prize Judges)"

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Spotted Dog update

dexter moren associates

"Status: Planning Secured

"Located within a conservation area in Willesden, this new mixed-use development will provide a 5-storey building accommodating 44 apartments, a retail unit, and will importantly retain and 'celebrate' the 1762 'Spotted Dog' public house."

There is a picture of how the result will look. Thanks to anonymous commenter for the link.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come all ye

6th annual Willesden Herald international short story competition

Competition entries are now coming in at a rate of about eight per day and rising. I look forward to finding stories with real attack, humour, a distinct and compelling voice, sense of adventure, landscape, time passing, engagement beyond solipsism, perhaps themes that rise a little above the problem of which fork to use for the starter and which for the main, which is not to say that nothing of any interest ever takes place in a tearoom. Didn't the boy eat oysters, shell and all in a Moscow café, and did we hear anything about their annoying neighbours or disgusting spouse? No. Give me something that matters, something that makes me pace like that boy's father. What is it that makes you angry, where is the love, the satire, travel, conflict? I'm sick of the tinkling of teacups and the swimming with waterwings. Do you read Hemingway, Chekhov, D. H. Lawrence, Denis Johnson, David Means, Annie Proulx, George Saunders, Maile Meloy, Hanif Kureishi, James Lasdun, Angela Carter, Lorrie Moore, Bernard MacLaverty, Arthur Shnitzler, Arthur Miller or Arthur Askey and Arthur Guinness? Aim high to allow for the trajectory of the narrative curving towards the target. Or something like that.

Steve Moran

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Protest outside Bertie Ahern's office today

On a day of mass protest in Dublin a lone picketer makes his verdict clear outside Bertie Ahern's constituency office.

Burn the bonds

Defend security of tenure, fight evictions. Don't let the ruling class pull up the ladder. They had free education and inherited wealth. Now their bank accounts are in jeopardy after decades of robbery, graft and corruption. Let those who benefited from the bonanza pay to clean up their own mess. Burn the bonds. Let the banks bury the banks.

If they should lose their fortunes who have destroyed our home industries by dumping their goods produced by cheap labour, prison slave labour, child labour, oppression of unions,  expropriation of workers and peasants, good. Let the money stay with us and let us say to them now it wasn't cheap labour after all.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The fall of Capitalism

Every day brings news of more financial collapses. It started with Lehman Brothers in the US and at present there is no knowing where it will end. The ominous metaphor that comes to mind is the collapse of the World Trade Centre towers. At present we are in the phase after the initial plane impacts, equivalent to the multiple financial shocks (that money is heir to). The economic collapse that follows might be as far beyond anything we have imagined as the collapse of the towers on that day. It could mean starvation, destitution and disintegration of the civilisation we have known in recent centuries and the advent of a new dark age. We saw the fall of Communism with the Berlin Wall in 1989; are we now seeing the fall of Capitalism?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


1: Willesden Library Centre. 2: St Mary Magdalene's. 3: Harlesden Road.
Copyright © Craig Moran 2010


Fog - visibility about 50 metres

On a clear day you can see Gladstone Park but last night's fog is still here on a windless morning, 11:40 am, with visibility only as far as the next garden or two.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More better stories please

The short story competition closes on December 17th. So far I have one story for the short list. The problem is not quantity but quality. To you the very good writers out there this means an open goal. So send in your best story. You will be joining a very good list, look at how well writers from the previous short lists have done: Norman Mailer Award, BBC Book At Bedtime, Asham Award, books published by many different publishers. The aim of this competition is to encourage the creation of excellent new short stories. You don't have to be young, you don't have to be published, you don't have to be resident in any country, you don't have to write to any theme. There are no copyright problems and the entry fee is a nominal amount. If you have a fine story, this is your chance to find recognition, get it in a book, win a prize. Link

Steve Moran

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

50 Stories for Pakistan

Big Bad Media | 50 Stories for Pakistan

Includes stories by New Short Stories authors Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Jarred McGinnis and Vanessa Gebbie who also wrote the introduction. There is also a rare story by Willesden Green Writers' Group founder Anne Mullane. "Proceeds go to helping the victims of the Pakistan floods."

Stormy weather

Northolt, November. Photo by Anne Mullane copyright © 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The ghost of Concorde

Bag Lady

For J*

Without a bag lady the earth would career
Out of its orbit and into the sun
She balances boxes of air and beer -
Nobody does it and it has to be done.

Without a bag lady cars would careen,
Forever speeding where children run.
She crosses, recrosses, slow and serene -
Nobody does it and it has to be done.

Without a bag lady inspecting the bins
Streetwalkers would walk the night alone.
She makes her own way, forgiving all sins -
Nobody does it and it has to be done.

Stephen Moran

* J. is a quiet soul who wanders the streets of Willesden carrying several bags full of other bags and empty packets and pulls a shopping trolley with more of the same. She is neither a small lady nor very tall and she wears a bandana.

<< Previous | Next >>

Outtakes from Spoon River Anthology


Tinnitus Young

Martha Postlethwaite hunted me for 20 years
Till at last I lay panting under her flashing teeth.
She stole her prize but in the taking
My heart burst and she lived forty years a widow.
Na na na na na.


Trod Strongly

As a child I liked nothing better
Than to roll and tumble in the hay in Art Poorly's barn
But on my first day as a hand on the harvest
I daydreamed and got rolled and tumbled
By Art's new combine harvester
And so I met my baleful end.


Mildred Fulbright

The local party chose me to present our town's gift
When Taft’s whistlestop train arrived.
I waved as the President left and he waved back.
Joe Fulbright was the proudest stationmaster in our state.
But when Washington shut the railroad down
Pa took to drink and overturned our wagon
Into the Spoon River one icy night.
He tried to save me but my hair caught in waterweed.
Now he's a Democrat.


Ulick Angstrom

They said it was a shame how I never ventured into town
Though I had travelled to the onion domes of the Kremlin
And to the minarets of Aya Sofia
And from the cafés of Paris
To the street barbeques of Manila.
But with all my knowledge
I brought home an embarrassing disease
Right when Doc Slein's daughter took over the practice
And that's what got me in the end.


Valerie de Valera

To this much at least they all could agree:
Discretion was not the best part of Valerie.


Pleat Muggins

Dory and Cory Muggins named their son Pleat
After an ancestor who sailed with Vasco Da Gama.
He was surly and never learned, though able,
And massacred his family at the age of 16.
When hanging judge Crudmore asked
If he had anything to say in mitigation,
All he said was, "My name is Pleat".


Mickey Pride

Here lies Mickey Pride.
He laughed till he cried.
He cried till he died.


Benjy Doone**

I shat myself, I pissed the bed,
I thought this & that, I lost my head,
I loved three or two or one.
That's the autobiography done.


-- Stephen Moran

* After "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters
** Newly discovered (3 Nov. 2018)

Google freeloading on your wireless network

Google spied on British emails and computer passwords (Telegraph)

The Telegraph has missed the point. It's not the embarrassing but uninteresting emails of stupid people with no passwords on their networks, it's the annoying arrogance of Google in planning to use your wireless network identity as an indicator of location. For example be a person is walking down your street with a mobile phone using the Google Maps application. Google Maps is busy detecting where exactly he or she is, and in doing so it could scan for local wireless networks and recognise yours from its Streetview survey data, then use that to triangulate the person's location. The annoying thing is you are providing a service for which you are not being paid, though you are paying for its upkeep. They are using you, freeloading, without a by-your-leave. It's a matter of principle.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paul Celan in Mapesbury Road

BBC iPlayer: "What brought one of the most compelling modern European poets to a perfectly ordinary street in North London? Who did he visit there? And what made him write a poem about the experience? The writer, Toby Litt, investigates this most improbable of brief encounters between Paul Celan, the master elegist of 20th century Jewish experience and Britain at the end of the Sixties."

Available until 12:02pm Tue, 26 Oct 2010
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 11:30am Tue, 19 Oct 2010
Duration 30 minutes

View Larger Map

Mapesbury Road runs from Shoot Up Hill, which is between Kilburn and Cricklewood to Willesden Lane at Brondesbury Park to be precise. It's not as somebody says in the commentary "...North Kilburn ... South Cricklewood ... a no man's land", it's got a serviceable name of its own: Mapesbury, and is an official conservation area. There are a lot of magnolias all around here to this date. (More: Mapesbury - Wikipedia) (Ed.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where are your bards oh youth of 2010?

Your forefathers could describe a forest in one twig, could perform their deadly thunder feats without appearing to move a muscle, could split a metaphor head to crotch with the blow of a single phrase. Do ye lie abed pleasuring yourselves while armies of creeping mumblers invade our ancient fields? Rise and send forth your magic incantations before the whole world sinks under the dreary wave.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Songs from the Road

BBC iPlayer - Leonard Cohen: Songs from the Road: "A selection of live performances from Leonard Cohen's triumphant 2008-2009 world tour, featuring classic songs like Bird on the Wire, Famous Blue Raincoat and Hallelujah."

Broadcast on BBC Four, 11:00pm Fri, 15 Oct 2010
Available until 11:59pm Fri, 22 Oct 2010
Duration 60 minute

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fete on the Green

Saturday, October 2: Autumn fete at Willesden Green Library run by Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage in aid of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)

Very lively, loads of events and stalls. It looks like everyone had fun, all smiles and thumbs up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Spotted Dog site fenced off

Derelict for two years since closing, work appears to have begun on The Spotted Dog. The site has been fenced off and tidied a bit. There is an excavation underway on the east side of it.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

John Lennon 70

Watching the Wheels (Double Fantasy, John Lennon)

"Happy Birthday to ya." Good wishes to Yoko, Sean, Julian and Cynthia and fans everywhere.

The undeserving rich

A woolly Michael Heseltine, flustered and throwing roundhouse ad hominem remarks is floored by Ken Loach, who simply points out that a 5% tax on the top 10% of the rich would pay for the entire national debt. It takes the others a time to realise the absurdity of their counter-arguments, "But what will the poor contribute?" and "What will the unemployed contribute?" If they cannot see the absurdity of those questions then "there are none so blind". Heseltine says the rich will leave the country and Loach responds, "So the rich have to be bribed to stay in the country" while the poor have to be forced to pay for the national debt. The logic that the rich who benefitted from the financial bonanza should be forced to pay for the clean-up after it crashed seems unarguable. Why is the Labour party supine about this, will it never recover from Blair's sell-out to big business and vested interests?


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cloudwatch update

The view from Herald House, Sunday

Back to the Futura

Welcome to the Cabaret Futura "Cabaret Futura is every third Monday of the month at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green; entry £10" (Park Life)

Richard Strange: "After a long period of consideration, and a lot of encouragement from friends and family, I have relaunched Cabaret Futura..."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Laughing my head off

Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado:

"Coming at the same time as Tony Blair's fictive auto-hagiography, this much more factual journal covering the period of the Iraq war is very welcome. It is also extremely funny and I have translated the title of this review from a rather more amusing version noted in the text. The author has a way with description. When we learn that somebody on the Heath is munching on a knob the size of a rolled-up Willesden Herald, the scene is conjured instantly and characteristically. Against the background of the daily developments during the second Iraq war, a constant battle of wits with the Old Bill and business enterprises that involve a lot of night moves, there is also the human story of a typical family trying to carry on its daily life and loves against the backdrop of seemingly universal depravity. I'm not just puffing this up because Mikey is one of the lads from round this way and because I'm in fear of some of his mates - it really is an excellent read." (Ganache, Amazon Reviews)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project Natal: fiction, hype, fraud or karaoke?

If, like me, you love fiction but hate computer games, I think you should watch this. Personally, I think it's a fraud but it's fascinating. It does approach the experience of story somewhat and so we must take it into consideration. It is really another way of translating a story, not film, not stage, not other languages but into an interactive scenario that brings the story partly to life. The pre-planned scenarios that are inevitably programmed into it are the problem, reading a story gives us an infinitely variable visualisation, conjecture and response. This robotised interpretation is always on the verge of saying "Sorry, that does not compute." Don't swallow all that sales hype without a large pinch of salt. All that said, the demonstration is quite amusing. The nearest analogy would be that it is to fiction as karaoke is to music.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Here's $300 Lord, super size me

Tonight, a bunch of despicable frauds ripping people off in the UK and worldwide courtesy of cable TV. They are jibbering and jabbering ("speaking in tongues") in between telling people to go to their phones and donate money to go onto the virtual altar that they are then going to pray over and they will get "double portion" from God. You couldn't make this shit up. And of course, the offer is for one day only, bizarrely Yom Kippur is the pretext. Notice they can't even keep a straight face about 2 minutes in when the holy tart makes up a story that she has "just heard about a court case that was impossible ... I can't name names ... involving a child ... and it has just been won! ..." and the Brit twat or whatever he is "... has just been won? ... Praise the Lord." ... "And if you knew just how impossible this case was!" wibba-bibba-jibba-jabba-floba-lboba-lobo-abopalob-cooroocoocoo Go to your phones now, time is running out. "That's £200 in the UK. I don't know what it is in Euros."

There are a few disgusting things in the media and online but by crikey, if this isn't among the most disgusting and nauseating of the lot. (Ed.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Last year's competition accounts (2009/10)

When we added an entry fee last year, having no sponsor for the prize money, I promised to publish the accounts for the competition.

Paypal commission: £93
Book setup and buy 36: Approx £200
Event booking (Charles Dickens museum): £206
Prizes: £600
Books for contributors, extra 10 mostly overseas through Amazon, approx: £100
Postage: £18
Wine: £60
Bank charges p.a. (£5 x 12): £60
Web hosting (Pipex Webfusion incl. database and PHP support): (£17.99 x 12): £215.88
Domain registry: £10 approx
Total: £1562.88 (approx.)

Entries: 310 - 16 no pay - 4 test = 290 x 3 = £870
Sale of books at launch: 10 x £10 = £100
Wine fund contributions at launch: £34
Contribution from shared web hosting for WGwg: £25 approx
Amazon Associates commission on book links: £40 approx
Google Ads: £40 approx (not receivable till £60)
Total: £1109.00 (approx)

The inscribed mug is donated by Object Tree Ltd. gratis. Loss therefore in the region of £450 all picked up by Object Tree Ltd, for which I am of course extremely grateful. Thank you Object Tree. Don't mention it Willesden Herald. 

Where we miscalculated badly last year was in the cost of the results event. Thought that was sponsored but it wasn't after all. However friends did help a lot with the organising and running of it. Willesden Green Writers' Group has stepped in to sponsor next year's event, so hopes are high that ends will meet this time.

Of the 36 books bought at cost, most went gratis to contributors. 10 were sold at the launch. 7 authors came to the launch. Several of the contributors (overseas etc.) got their copies sent via Amazon.

I don't get any money from book sales, unless I buy the books at cost and sell them direct, which I could but I don't except for the launch event. Pretend Genius is part sponsoring this year by selling the anthologies and forwarding the entry fee for anyone who wants a free entry with each anthology. The accounts are part of Object Tree Ltd, all audited and submitted to the tax inspectors.

Pretend Genius, the publisher of the anthologies, is a registered not-for-profit organisation in the US.

Willesden Herald does not receive any public money. The organising and reading for the competition are on a voluntary basis. Sometimes if we have helpers they get a WH mug (not the priceless inscribed one). The links at the side of the blog to books on Amazon and Google Ads earn a little money (see above) towards running expenses.

There. I hope that's clear. If there are any questions I will try and answer them. I hope you can see that it's still for the love of the short story. (Ossian)

P.S. About the bank charges. The competition had its own bank account with Lloyds last year, which cost £5 per month. Having seen marvellous offer of free business banking from Alliance & Leicester (now Santander), thought that would be good for the competition account and duly switched over. Unfortunately the small print says that banking is only free if you deposit £1,000 per month. What it really costs is - have you guessed? - £5 per month. Doh! Have since moved it again, this time into main business account so it's "sort of free" now (some months!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Simon Armitage reading at Dodge poetry festival

1. The Shout. 2. The Christening

There is a moment after the end of The Shout when the audience laughs, a release of tension that is a little strange and the poet appears to be in pain. I haven't twigged why the last one is called "The Christening", it's an odd mixture of marvellously executed "jokes" and more portentous elements. (Ossian)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Wena Poon's new novel is BBC4 Book at Bedtime

BBC4 Book at Bedtime for the the week starting September 6, 2010 is "Alex y Robert" by Wena Poon. Earlier this year, "The Architects" by Wena Poon took the Willesden Herald 2009-10 prize for best short story of the year. For a lot more about Alex y Robert, please visit Salt Publishing. If you would like to read "The Architects", it is published in New Short Stories 4, which if you buy direct from the publisher between now and December 17th, includes free entry into this year's short story competition.


Friday, August 27, 2010

One act play in a folk song

Nanci Griffith - Boots Of Spanish Leather (Bob Dylan, cf. Wikipedia)

"Well how can, how can you ask me again?
Well it only brings me sorrow.
Oh the same thing I would want today
I would want again tomorrow."

Very easy on the eye and the ear

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado

"Before Hutton, before Butler, before Chilcot, Mikey Fatboy Delgado was looking into the matter... In the spring of 2003 the Iraq war is underway and Mikey is almost all in favour of it. It makes for good television and is improving his sex life. If only the BBC would sort out those green pictures of fighting in the dark he might even be prepared to cough up for a licence. And if only corrupt policing and the amount that Blair grins weren't so unsettling he would be able to relax and enjoy watching the highlights of the fighting more." (Laughing Mushroom Press)

We're asking old Mr Scrotum himself of Scrotum Scrotum Bumwilley Haversack to look into this publication with a magnifying glass and you can rest assured that if there is anything defamatory about anyone at the Willesden Herald in this new book we will not let it rest.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Russia in color, a century ago

Russia in color, a century ago - The Big Picture -

Fascinating pictures. Number 32 looks like a pre-incarnation of Barry McGuigan. Most of them, even the Khan, look steeped in the sorrow of short and brutish lives. It's only some of the peasants who raise even a hint of a smile, notably the group of peasant women of different ages.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Afghanistan war touches Willesden today

"Mourners leave after the funeral mass of Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum of 1st Battalion Scots Guards mass at the New Testament Church of God in Willesden, London August 20, 2010. Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum was killed in the conflict in Afghanistan on August 1." (Yahoo News photo viewer)

68 Reggae hits for £7.99

"Heads up" as they say, there is an album called "Massive Reggae" available on iTunes with 68 reggae hits for just £7.99. If you had to buy each track individually it would come to about £55. There are some great tracks on there. I was looking for Silly Games by Janet Kay and that's how I found it. I'm not going to attempt to list the contents - the scope of it is truly amazing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cumulonimbus (?) over Dollis Hill

Young WH finalist receives Mailer scholarship

Pennsylvania, June 2010: Morowa Yejidé has been awarded Norman Mailer’s Norris Church Mailer Scholarship in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. The widow Mrs. Mailer presented the award to Ms Yejidé at an awards banquet at the campus. "Tokyo Chocolate," first featured in the 2009 Willesden Herald Anthology (New Short Stories 3), will also be featured in the fall issue of the Hiroshima, Japan based magazine Yomimono. Other stories by Morowa Yejidé have since been published in Bananafish Magazine and Jersey Devil Press.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guardian summer short story special

Summer Fiction Special: "It's time for our summer short story special. So sit back, relax and soak up the best in original fiction from five established writers, plus the winner of our short-story competition and five runners up" (Guardian Online)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another new song from Mr Cohen

" wake up in the morning by myself.
A cup of coffee in the kitchen,
fire up a little danger to my health."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Willesden cloudstation report, Tuesday

Toy Story 3 dismantled

LENIN'S TOMB: Chattel Story

"In the furnace of capitalist culture, all of human existence is silly putty or play doh, malleable, protean, and saleable."

Throw the toys out of the pram, grab the baby safely from underneath them and watch the pram go bumping down the steps.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Pakistan flood disaster appeal

"Pakistan floods: disaster is the worst in the UN's history" (Telegraph). DONATE VIA Disasters Emergence Committee (DEC).

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Willesden Herald short story competition 2010-11


It's that time of year again when we ask you to round up those wild stories from the mountain, throw a bucket of rainwater over them and lead them into town for the annual gala. The short story competition opens on 1 September 2010 and closes on 17 December 2010.

The results will be announced in the new year at a special event sponsored by Willesden Green Writers' Group. See if you can claim the one-off inscribed Willesden Herald mug and 300 British smackers (approx. $500 US) or get one of the two equal runner-up prizes of £150. Up to ten shortlisted and up to four commended will be published in New Short Stories 5.

We are very lucky and honoured to have the great writer Maggie Gee, a literary superstar, to judge the winning stories this year. You could do worse than read Maggie's short story collection The Blue to find out what kind of short stories might appeal.

What we look for

People sometimes ask what sort of stories we look for in the Willesden competition and one very simple way to find out would be to get hold of some of the previous winning entries, which are all collected in the four previous New Short Stories anthologies. You can find excerpts and full details at New Short Stories.

To find out more about what we look for please visit the Willesden Herald website and blog, follow the links, browse, "stroll around the grounds until you feel at home!" Some of our winning stories have been included in Guardian Online original fiction, so there is another place to find the sort of stories we like. Although we have introduced a word limit of 7,500 the main challenge is still to overcome our reader's "highly variable attention span".

Entry fee offer

The entry fee this year will be £3, the same as last time, but we have arranged with the publisher of the New Short Stories anthologies to include prepaid entry to the competition with every copy of one of the anthologies bought direct from the online bookstore, starting from 1 August 2010. There are four books to choose from.

N.B. This only applies to the specified books bought from the publishers direct starting from 1 August 2010, not from Amazon or anywhere else and not to other books from the same publisher or books bought in the past. The publishers will forward the entry fee to the competition. If you wish to take advantage of this offer, please save your unique order confirmation number because you will need it for the entry form.


For whatever reason, the writers who find success in the Willesden Herald international short story competition continue to go from success to success, making our competition an excellent form guide to interesting new writing. Here are just some of the achievements of previous finalists.

Wena Poon
August 2010. The BBC announces Wena Poon's new novel Alex y Robert is to be serialised on its long-running popular national radio show "A Book at Bedtime". Wena Poon's story "The Architects" was awarded first prize in the Willesden competition earlier this year at Charles Dicken's House museum in London. You can read "The Architects" in New Short Stories 4. The British TV and radio critic Bidisha described Wena Poon as one of the most exciting fiction writers to come out of the US in recent years.

Carys Davies
London, 15 June 2010. Society of Authors' 2010 Awards. Twice Willesden Herald short story competition finalist Carys Davies has been awarded the Olive Cook Short Story Award for her story 'The Quiet'. The award, worth £1,000 and judged by Jane Gardam and Jacob Ross, was set up in 2004 and is awarded every two years. Carys Davies joins previous recipients, Claire Keegan, Bethan Roberts and Alison Macleod. Link: Some New Ambush

Jo Lloyd
Last year's winning story was "Work" by Jo Lloyd. We are thrilled to report and repeat and repeat again and again (sorry) that this superb and enthralling writer went on to win the prestigious and lucrative (£1,000) Asham Award for another of her short stories. The Willesden was Jo's first win and you can bet your last penny we are proud, oh yes mightily, to have been the first to recognise this most outstanding new writer.

Vanessa Gebbie
Vanessa was joint winner in the first year of this competition, which was adjudicated for the first three years by Zadie Smith. Other wins have included Telegraph novel of the year, winning out of thousands of entries. Vanessa has since published two collections of short stories, Words From a Glass Bubble and Storm Warning with a novel on the way. Her stories have been anthologised alongside such other famous writers as Jhumpa Lahiri and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Link:

Mikey Delgado
Mikey's short story "Secure" was joint winner in the first Willesden Herald short story competition. You can read Secure in the first anthology we produced which was entitled "Fish Drink Like Us". It is also available to read in Guardian Online original fiction. With great pleasure, joy would not be too strong a word, it can now be announced that Mikey's much anticipated novel Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado is about to be published by laughing mushroom press.

Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Steve Finbow, Tao Lin, Nicholas Hogg - we could go on (and on (and on (and on (...))))

The list of books published by various publishers, competition successes etc. is too long to fit in this newsletter. See the right-hand column at for a list of the latest books by finalists. "Alumni" of the Willesden Herald international short story competition are among the most successful up and coming authors. Perhaps we are a little biased but we have only been running for five years and the track record of our finalists is - don't you agree? - amazing.

Last word

I am looking forward to reading the new short stories as they come in day by day, saving some for re-reading, making a longlist and finding out which ones leave something in the memory when days have passed. There is no advantage to be gained by sending entries earlier or later. It would help if they came in at a steady rate from the opening to the closing date but on past evidence that is unlikely. In all honesty there might even be a slight advantage to getting entries in earlier, though I must try to efface that effectively. If you send your entry in the last week it will be one of a large number of entries that week, so you might want to think about that. In other words, the earlier the better. There, I said it. The closing date is December 17th and as usual I will use the Christmas holiday to work on the longlist. Good luck and thanks for supporting the competition.

Cheers, here's to the short story, sláinte!
Steve Moran (

Name that colour

There's some mauve in it, no?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

We are stardust, we are golden and we like reading

Prodigies from the Willesden Writers' Group on stage at Bookstock

Bilal Ghafoor* 

* And please do stop writing in because no, that is not one of ZZ Top.

Gravitas proposes a Poetry Tax

Gravitas Manifesto

Now that the Liberal Democrats have self-destructed the Conservatives might manufacture a petty disagreement and call a snap election on the pretext that we need their "strong government". Therefore I think it's time for a new manifesto for Gravitas.

As you know we campaigned last time on a Jubilee debt cancellation initiative for all personal debt to be declared null and void every 50 years (backdated to 2000). Plus permission for shoulder-launched rockets to be used against cars with booming stereos, summary execution for tailgaters, one law limit per ten years etc. Having failed to achieve power last time our think tank has been hard at work and we have come up with a simple but radical plan to solve the debt crisis and reform the tax system. Our proposal is for a Poetry Tax.

If everyone who writes poetry just had to buy a £50 license for each poem they write and include the license number with it when published, at a stroke we could wipe out the national debt, eliminate the need for all other taxes, solve world poverty and still have change left to replace unsustainable energy sources with eco-friendly ones, establish free education and free school lunches for all children everywhere. This would also have the benefit of improving the general standard of poetry in the country.

Vote Gravitas to implement a Poetry Tax now. Thank you.

From the desk of
Feargal Mooney
Founder and President for Life
Gravitas Jubilee Debt Amnesty / Death to Tailgaters

Friday, July 30, 2010


Some of the gliding moves appear to defy gravity and also to defy friction. I seriously thought it was camera trickery at the beginning. There are moves where one guy appears to glide along on tiptoe, more deceiving to the eye than the famous moonwalk. I know they won't want to hear this word but it is in fact ballet.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where the bees are

Globe thistle with four bees

Photo by Anne Mullane copyright © 2010

Flowers of July in west London

Blooming in west London this month, from top right, clockwise: Papaver Somniferum, Cistus, Oriental Poppy, Iris (yellow), Iris (mauve).

Photos by Anne Mullane copyright © 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bounds Green

Photo by Lynsey Rose copyright © 2010

R.I.P. Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins

Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins - 'snooker is like a drug' (Telegraph, February 2010)

We all loved him, crazy mad Irishman that he was. He brought the family together, the Ma would love him too and everyone had to watch together. We were willing those erratic lunges of his to find their mark long after the boring players had got him where they wanted him. Yes, he was crazy but what is not to be crazy about, after all? The video above is a very nice memento of him, an interview where he points out that he is still ranked in the rankings though he hasn't played for 12 to 16 years. Still thinking he could beat the others but not being "healthy enough, as yet."


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Clegg "only shoots self in foot, not Cameron"

Coalition in confusion as deputy prime minister pronounces invasion 'illegal' at dispatch box (Guardian)

The Deputy PM of the UK, standing in for the Prime Minister, twice pronounced the Iraq war illegal at Prime Minister's questions today. The constitutional convention of "cabinet responsibility" is now in disarray as they say he was speaking as leader of the Liberal Democrat party and not as Deputy PM. Problem: the government he is supposedly near the top of (actually he's only a messenger boy) does not admit the war was illegal.

Corporal Clegg also took the opportunity to stick his foot even further down his own throat by coming back unbidden and "clarifying" declaring an absolute date for pullout from Afghanistan. Yes, pull out a.s.a.p. but keep the other side guessing to avoid a more deadly military situation. Different matter if it was happening this year but he has cast his idiotic pall over the next five years. Straw tried to do Clegg a favour by inserting the word "conditional" in his summary of Clegg's answer about the withdrawal but wee Cleggy was too thick to take the hint and came back full of the hubris of a junior clerk who has just been promoted to line manager.

At least it means Labour now has the left field to itself, since it must be safe to assume that the LibDem's are toast. Straw hammered on and on about the cancelled grant to Sheffield Forgemasters versus the half billion married tax allowance that Clegg had derided before the election. I couldn't work out why Straw was so hot on it till I remembered Clegg's constituency is in Sheffield and it is fairly marginal.

Who shall we choose to slay them - Ed Miliband, no?


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sub-contracting brutality to children

Revealed: brutal guide to punishing jailed youths

Instructions to staff warn that the techniques risk giving children a "fracture to the skull" and "temporary or permanent blindness caused by rupture to eyeball or detached retina".

The guidance, designed to cope with unruly children, also acknowledges that the measures could cause asphyxia. One passage, explaining how to administer a head-hold on children, adds that "if breathing is compromised the situation ceases to be a restraint and becomes a medical emergency".
(Society | The Observer)

The war between humanity and inhumanity is so finely balanced in the UK that at any moment our humanist defences against the brutal vicious and "privatised" horde could collapse, initiating an era of unbridled mayhem and carnage.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Ana & Jorge

Very agreeable. Ana Carolina's voice must be one in a hundred million. Seu Jorge's is marvellous too. It's a Damien Rice song "The Blower's Daughter" translated into Portuguese but I doubt they called it that again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Culture, Kultur or Cultúr?

Belfast burning

"Next, I'd be saying how disgawsted ay awm with the oitrayt vayilence n thawggery awn display" (Lenin's Tomb)

A handy pull-out-and-keep guide to the festivities of the Glorious Twelfth.

Willesden by night

Expand Brondesbury into Willesden?

Palestinian homes bulldozed as Israeli freeze on demolitions appears to end

Settlements on land occupied by Israel in 1967 are illegal under international law. "The rule of thumb in this part of the world is that in the run-up to US elections Israel has a free hand," said Jeff Halper, of the International Committee against House Demolitions. "Israel is taking advantage of that." (World news | The Guardian)

Brent Council please note: Why not demolish some of the crappy houses in Willesden so we can make Brondesbury a bit bigger and posher? I'm sure some of them were built without planning permission centuries ago.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

If you think you have problems...

Wouldn't normally show this for fear of creating a freakshow but in this case it may save a few kids from eating disorders and other problems. Maybe if they see this, they will catch some of this guy's positivity.

Herald hack extraordinaire

Museum of Illusions

We're big enough to applaud when some of our staff get websites of their own, so reluctant congratulations to Steve on his quaint wee home page.

And on and on