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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Complete Results, Biographies and Book Cover etc.

Cover (detail) by Stratos Fountoulis

I have just sent a newsletter to our 1762 subscribers, with the cover reveal, biographies, publication details etc for Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10 and other news. Link to view online: Newsletter.
Many thanks to Stratos Fountoulis for the cover design and once again to Lane Ashfeldt, to Liars' League for continuing support over the years, and to the much-missed Willesden Green Writers' Group, who helped keep this competition going through hell & high water. And all writers everywhere, here's to you!
Available from:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Announcement: Willesden 2017 Results

Our 2017 judge Lane Ashfeldt says she had a great time reading (and re-reading!) all the shortlisted stories, and choosing the top three was a really tough call. She is delighted to pass on the titles of the ten winning stories selected for the book, which she hopes you will buy, read and enjoy*. And she’s looking forward to finding out who wrote them.

So without further ado, here are the winning entries, runners-up and long-listed in this hotly contested year. Congratulations to all, thanks for these marvellous short stories.

And the one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2017” goes to:
1st Prize (£300) –  “Dark Song” by Roberta Dewa

2nd (£200): “Art Zoo” by Paul J. Martin
3rd (£100): “Swimming Lessons” by Douglas Hill

(The remaining seven shortlisted receive £75 each.)

The following will be published in “Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10”:
A History of Fire by Gerard McKeown
Art Zoo by Paul Martin
Dark Song by Roberta Dewa
Isa’s Pitch by Maureen Cullen
Rictus by Tanvir Bush
Swimming Lessons by Douglas Hill
The Day John Lennon Died by Raphael Falco
The Fish that was not my Pa by Meganrose Weddle
The Quarry by Katherine Davey
Trespass by Roland Miles

Long List
A History of Fire by Gerard McKeown
Air by Angelina Taylor
Art Zoo by Paul Martin
Dancing Her Black Bones Home by Suzanne Conboy-Hill
Dark Rain Falling by Deirdre Shanahan
Dark Song by Roberta Dewa
Isa’s Pitch by Maureen Cullen
Out by the Lough by Sue Lovett
Overnight in the Day Room by Deirdre Shanahan
Reverse Reaction by Anna Glokas
Rictus by Tanvir Bush
Swimming Lessons by Douglas Hill
The Collectors by Michael Antoinetti
The Day John Lennon Died by Raphael Falco
The Fish that was not my Pa by Meganrose Weddle
The Lapidary by Melanie Whipman
The Nationals by Andrew Moffat
The Quarry by Katherine Davey
Trespass by Roland Miles
Winter Kale by Shannon Hopkins

There were 445 entries in total. Thank you to everyone who entered and gave us such delicious torment over the past months trying to see how we could possibly choose between so many fascinating stories.

* Coming soon: Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10. Watch this space for news on its launch and release.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

George Saunders on the art of the story

Short story writer George Saunders, winner of the Man Booker prize for 2017 for his debut novel Lincoln in the Bardo, on "how to tell a compelling and humanizing story—and how to avoid the pitfalls of a bad one."

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Don't look harshly on
the cold season that comes,
embrace it like an old friend
you might never see again.

Say something to Spring,
it's not without fears,
it's destined for the tragedy
of completeness.

Summer wants you,
Summer is not shy.
Summer won't bite you,
at least say Hi.

Take Autumn to the theatre,
something serious. Read
free verse from before the war.
But hurry.

Stephen Moran

Friday, October 13, 2017

All the happy moments

All the happy moments have whirled and twirled
and flown south for the winter. This morning
a few crazy stragglers defy the rain, and down here
the heavy minutes, shaking out their feathers.

Stephen Moran

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Street layout improvements - Sudbury Hill Harrow

Improvement works on Greenford Road near Sudbury Hill have been going on for "quite a while". A local woman passerby volunteered, "They don't know what they're doing."

Note: It's a joint project by Ealing and Harrow councils as the area around the station crosses the boundary between the two boroughs with Ealing to the south of the railway bridge and Harrow to the north. The map in the photo is aligned north to the right and south to the left.

Monday, September 18, 2017

445 entries - Reading

The total number of entries received was 445. We're swimming in fiction here, and loving it. Hoping to have some results about end of October. Watch this space, as they say. Making more noise on Facebook and Twitter, if you are keen. There's also the newsletter, which has the advantage of not needing space to be watched.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Liars' League - Tuesday 12th at 7pm - The Phoenix, W1


Our female-focused September event, Women & Girls, will feature brand new short stories by and about women (and girls), for everyone to enjoy. The six chosen pieces feature superhero(in)es, ventriloquists, obsession, depression, Victorian prisoners, charismatic polygamists, West Midlands spiritual healers, and all manner of enticing stuff besides ...

Summer Season by Sally Syson *NEW AUTHOR*, read by Charlotte Worthing
Walk a Mile in My Shoes by Olga Wojtas *NEW AUTHOR*, read by Keleigh Wolf
Limbo by Sue Smith *NEW AUTHOR*, read by Jennifer Aries
Finding Jezza by Sally Lane *NEW AUTHOR*, read by Nicky Newman 
The Ends of the Earth by Aileen O'Farrell, read by Annalie Wilson
Le Retreat by Fiona Salter

The show's on Tuesday 12th September: doors open at 7pm and we kick off at 7.30, when the winning stories will be read by our marvellous Liars' League actresses. The night will also feature our infamous interval book quiz (with female-authored novels as prizes #readwomen) and free sweets, just because.

Tickets cost £5 on the door (cash only, no advance booking) and seating is unreserved - so it's a good idea to get there a bit ahead of time if you want a good table. Accessibility note: access to the basement bar is via stairs - there's no lift, alas.

The venue is downstairs at:
The Phoenix
37 Cavendish Square

P.S. We got an amazing number of submissions for this theme - more than double our usual amount - so if we get a good turnout at the event we may make Women & Girls a regular theme. If you think this is a great idea, please do come along, bring your friends and tell everyone you know, of any and every gender, about it. Ta!

Everything you ever wanted to know about ...

Liars' League presents
Link: Event listing on Facebook

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Newsletter: Last call for stories. Closing August 31st

This has just gone out by email to our 1755 subscribers. You can read the newsletter online here. It has news about Lane Ashfeldt, our judge for 2017, at the Cork Short Story Festival, and more.

Anaesthesia by Adrian Horn - London Kilburn connection

Anaesthesia, a novel by Adrian Horn, set for publication in September, centres on a Kilburn family and the effect that WW1 has on them. It features local roads, shops, pubs and St Augustine’s church as well as iconic London monuments from the time like the War Office, St James’ Park, the CafĂ© Royale, Piccadilly night life etc.

"In the first frantic year of World War 1 London, Jan Strang, the son of a Swedish timber merchant and Lucy Green, daughter of a suburban postmaster become lovers, marry and live with Jan's cosmopolitan parents in Chichester Road, Kilburn. Jan introduces Lucy to a new world of experiences and temptations. But then Jan goes off to fight.

When he returns from his stint as a Second Lieutenant on the Front Line, Lucy quickly discovers he has returned a very different man from the one she married: wounded, battle-scarred and hooked on morphine. Can Lucy's love, faith and inner strength heal his deepest wounds?

With a host of memorable characters, including the scruffy terrier Tinker, the ultimately optimistic Anaesthesia takes us on a gripping atmospheric journey from a London in confusion in 1915 over to Belgium and France and back again to a war-weary London. One is left wondering which is the real battle: the one in Europe or the battle of love over addiction."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Turandot live from the Royal Opera House

A magnificent production of Puccini's Turandot live from the Royal Opera House, London with Roberto Alagna and a spectacular production. This video includes introductory interviews, vox pop from Trafalgar Square, an overview of the storyline etc. The show starts at about 40 minutes into the recording.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Where are the fire extinguishers, the hoses, the sprinklers?

David Lammy MP

Iceland collection for Grenfell Tower this evening

Yusuf of Iceland, Greenford Road, collecting donations and
supplies for those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


The great trees, tall-masted,
heave away and sail by,
while I, who cannot move,
reach out and sway to them,
as they follow their green way.
For now it's Summer.

Stephen Moran

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels

How interesting to read Lane Ashfeldt’s take, on judging for the International Willesden Herald Short Story Prize 2017!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Groundwork UK - Brent Volunteering Fair - 5th June

Date and Time

Monday 5 June 2017
1pm to 4pm


The Bridge, Brent Civic Centre
Engineers Way

Ever thought about volunteering?

For details and how to register, click here: Event link.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A.B.C. - Always Be Continuing

There is a mnemonic that salesmen swear by, ABC - "Always Be Closing". But in fiction, it might be better to say Always Be Continuing. Not only is there often an unnecessary last sentence in a story, there are sometimes unnecessary last sentences even in paragraphs too. Maybe it's a tendency to want "to tie a ribbon on it". But that goes against the need to unfurl, to expand. After all someone could break a tooth on those unpopped kernels of popcorn. When you come to continue writing in your next session, don't you often delete the last sentence from the time before? This is something I'm trying to remember myself, when I try to write fiction.


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Monday, May 01, 2017

Open for submissions

Update: Lane Ashfeldt's take on judging this year's competition: The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels

This is the newsletter that just went out to our subscribers. If you’re thinking of subscribing to our mailing list and want to see what past newsletters were like, here is the archive.

See here for all about the competition and how to enter. Thanks, cheers, Steve M.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Newsletter announcing 2017 short story competition

I just sent out this email newsletter to our 1500+ subscribers, with details of the 2017 competition, opening 1 May. Cheers! (Steve)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ancient oak felled in South Vale, Harrow

The tree has already been cut into sections.
Some of the sections
Hard to count the rings where the saw's been
More than a hundred years?
Never noticed anything different about the tree they've felled, so the question now is what was wrong with this tree, and are the other oaks, along South Vale and trees elsewhere in Harrow, in danger now as well? It's been reported from other areas of the country that privatised contractors are felling trees and replacing them with saplings, because it's cheaper than maintaining the old trees. Could that be happening in Harrow?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hampstead and Kilburn - Tulip Siddiq

Tulip Siddiq's constituency of "Hampstead and Kilburn" also covers part of Willesden, following boundary changes a few years ago. It was the most marginal constituency in the UK when Glenda Jackson won by just 42 votes in her last term before retirement. Every vote counts! #ge2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unexpected guest

This is brilliant. It shows the innate good nature of Dubliners, despite the provocations. Hilarious.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Competition accounts 2016

The itemised details go to an accountant at the end of the financial year and thence to the taxman etc. Here's a quick overview.

The prize formula said "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." It was (b) that was activated. These go into the accounts of Object Tree Ltd. except where otherwise stated, e.g. PGP below.

Entries 344 @ £5. Proceeds from Submittable after their commission and dollar conversion: £1320
Sold 11 books at the event: £66
"Wine fund" envelope at event: £4
There was no other income or sponsorship in 2016, other than a bottle of Champagne donated.
Total in: £1390

Prizes £10 x £75 = £750
Book setup + costs for (2 x 10) authors, actors copies (event), judges and helpers copies, approx £220.
Adwords adverts: Approx £40
Performance space for event: £120 (there is a query over this as we were expecting more and it could go as high as £272, according to our records, but only £120 has been invoiced).
Wine: 6 bottles used (out of 12) at about £6.50 each: £39
Bottled water and pretzels: disregard, took most home.
3 WH mugs: (winner, judge and agent) about £40
Total out: £1239 so far, possibly £1361 if Brent council bills the additional items that were quoted.

Further book sales and costs
There are a few books left over for sale from the New Short Stories shop (about 6?).
Proceeds from sales on Amazon, B&N etc go to the publisher Pretend Genius Press (PGP), a registered not-for-profit corporation in Maryland, US.
There is an annual fee to keep the books available in the Ingram catalogue, which is an ongoing cost to PGP on all the back issues.

You can see for yourself, it's just about break even (or a loss really - see update below). If you want to see previous years' details, click on the Accounts link below. Note, there was no competition in 2015.

Update: After reading the previous year's accounts myself, I see I've forgotten to mention the web server costs. These are ongoing at £230 per year (Webfusion now taken over by Heart ISP). That hosts but also several other domains. If that's taken into account, we're running at a loss, of course. (Steve)

Monday, February 27, 2017

24 things NOBODY does better than Trump*

* in his tiny mind

What he really should be saying, what he really is saying, is "I know nothing and I'm completely useless." Self-praise is no praise.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

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 the much admired and super cool Lane Ashfeldt, a writer who is no stranger to the short story form herself.

Lane Ashfeldt. Photo: H.McGinty ©2016
Lane is the author of the fiction collection ‘SaltWater’, a book of twelve short stories and a novella. A contributor to ‘Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story’, her stories have won several international prizes and appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, among them Punk Fiction, Dancing With Mr Darcy, The Guardian, The London Magazine, and the Dublin Review. (

Lane has kindly agreed to pick the winning entries from a short list, and hopes to see an eclectic, entertaining and truly international range of writing represented on the list. We’re looking forward to reading the best stories you have, and you’ve never let us down yet. The submission window is from May to August.

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Competition 2017 

Opening date: 1 May 2017
Closing date: 31 August 2017
Word limit: 7500
Any theme

The prize fund of £1225 will be divided among the ten finalists as follows:
  • 1st Prize: The one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “Willesden Short Story Prize 2017” + £300
  • 2nd: £200
  • 3rd: £100
  • £75 to each to the remaining seven short-listed
  • All ten shortlisted stories will be published in "Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10".
  • Two copies go to each of the ten shortlisted contributors.
Entry fee: £7.50


Updated March - April 2017, revising prize fund and entry fee
Updated July 2017, adding an additional prize for 3rd place

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Routemasters of Dublin 1965

Among the many wonders of this is the Swastika laundry van about 4:30-ish in. And the skid pan tests at the start, needless to add. You can't overturn a Routemaster, though the cornering of some of the drivers always felt like it would. There's concrete in the base so it can never overbalance.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Beethoven ‘Kreutzer’ sonata

Joshua Bell and Yuja Wang
Verbier Festival, 28 July 2010

The best of the best in music

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Our best ever post (dance video)

"Dancing to No One by Alicia Keys.. Watch it if you want to, but if you don't want to - then don't. I don't want to pressure you into anything.." Justin Lawrence Hoyt

Happy new year (from Alaska)

Friday, January 13, 2017

The coming of the Anti-Worker

It looks like Trump's billionaire's club administration must have said, "Who can we get who would be the most anti-worker person imaginable?" and come up with this Puzder putz for "Secretary of Labor".

And next, whoever is to be put in charge of firefighters will turn them into book burners, as in Fahrenheit 451.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Crow's nest

Crow's nest in an oak tree

At this time of year, you can see where the birds nested, and also why that place at the top of a mast is called the crow's nest. There are a lot of crows around Harrow, as Brendan Behan seems to have known when he wrote "In our dreams we see old Harrow and we hear the crow's loud caw*". You can indeed hear and see them if you walk around here, and that looks like one of their nests at the top of an oak tree.

* At the flower show, our big marrow took the prize from Evelyn Waugh.