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

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