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

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Short Story Competition 2022 - Results and Book Launch

It's been a long time in the editing but here at last is the podcast/slideshow/video/audio thingummy from the competition results event and book launch for New Short Stories 12. (Ed.)

NOV 8, LONDON: Who will take the coveted one-off Willesden Herald inscribed “The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022”? All will be revealed on the night. Plus ten cash prizes to the writers of the stories in New Short Stories 12. From The Performance Space, upstairs in The Library at Willesden Green. 

With special thanks to Katy Darby, Claire Lacey and Liars' League

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Willesden Herald New Short Stories 12 - unboxing

Makes a good present for Christmas or Hannukah. International, all sorts of stories, well worth reading. More

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Competition accounts 2022


I always like to be open about where the money comes from and goes to in the Willesden Herald short story competition. You can also find the previous years' accounts by clicking on the accounts tag below. Note: the annual competition began in 2005/6 but did not run in 2015, 2018, 2020 or 2021 (ref. History of the competition.) 

We're probably in the red when all is finalised but it all depends on whether the library charges for the use of the Performance Space. These are my own accounts, I no longer run a limited company and I don't make any money from the sale of books online, which all goes to the publisher.* That also runs at a loss by the way - as the number of sales doesn't even cover the annual Ingram fee but let's leave that aside for now. We do it for fun, really.

In the rare case when an author asks me to organise a "short run" print of 10 or more copies for themselves, I send them at cost plus £1 per copy for my trouble, which makes it virtually at cost as my time is next to worthless (full disclosure!) 

I have the itemised details on a spreadsheet here, but the totals are as follows, using $ exchange rates that were current at the time, where applicable. Submittable .com collects the entry fees which they then remit in $USD minus $0.01 per entry + 5% of the total via PayPal and PayPal take their cut too when converting to £GBP. 

Money in

  • Entry fees for 371 entries @£5 after Submittable's percentage, paid in dollars: $1646.28 into PayPal, after conversion to pounds at the then rate and PayPal's cut, we got: £1390.95
  • Book sales at results/launch event, 17 x £5 = £85
  • 10 extra books sold direct from order received. £51.44
  • TOTAL: £1527.39

Money out
  • Prizes to contributors: £950
  • Fees for book designer and judge's introduction (only fair as all the writers are paid): £200
  • Book setup and Ingram annual catalogue fee $80 + $12 = $92, paid in pounds: £84.16.
  • 47 books ordered including p&p: £188.96
  • One month Spotify sub paid to get music for the event build up (yes, I did & cancelled): £9.99
  • Postage to UK, France, Ireland, India, Australia & Greece + prize mug + Jiffy bags: £92.07
  • TOTAL: £1525.18
If you build it, they will come!
(They did eventually.)

We're up £2.21 but we have yet to receive an invoice from the library for the space and we're hoping they will see the cultural value in the Willesden short story competition and waive the fee. Otherwise we'll be out another £80. (And if that lands, I will update this report.) So probably down £77.79.

Note. I haven't counted domain renewal for ($10 p.a.) and ($10 p.a.) and the WordPress subscription for New Short Stories ($45 p.a.). I suppose I get fun out of those, so - whatever. I don't run a server anymore, quit that when I closed the limited company.

Stock of books
In: 47
Out: 16 gratis to contributors to the book and the launch, 27 sold, total 43.
Balance: 4

(I get to keep one for myself, yeah? Ed.)

Steve M

Willesden Herald is an imprint of Pretend Genius Press

Friday, November 11, 2022

AVAILABLE now at New Short Stories 12

At the time of writing, is showing "10+ copies in stock" with free delivery in the UK. To view, click this direct link. Other suppliers are lagging behind at present but can order on demand. (Ed.)

Update 13 Nov. '22: Now also in stock at (UK free delivery with Prime) and Barnes & Noble (with free delivery US) and Can available on request in the UK from Waterstones.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Over the sky to sea



Two views of a telegraph pole with radiating wires in all directions under and over the blue and cloudy sky.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Announcement: Results of the Willesden Short Story Prize 2022

Zakia Uddin
The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022 was revealed at Willesden Library this evening. First prize went to "Hotline" by Zakia Uddin

Runners-up were "Vevey" by Catherine McNamara and "Cuckquean" by Jackie Morris. 

Thanks to Claire Lacey and Katy Darby for bringing the stories to life and making the event go with a zing. 

Thanks to Jarred McGinnis for judging and to the writers of all ten shortlisted stories, as every one is a prize-winner in this short story competition. (Ed.)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Another walk in Grove Farm (26/10/2022)

Update: Originally a series of tweets with four photos each. The photos also had ALT text with more narrative. However since that troll Musk destroyed that forum, I had to escape. What follows are the raw photos. (Ed.)

A walk through Grove Farm from Sudbury Hill entrance (not listed online) to Whitton Avenue West, 26/10/2022. Grove Farm is designated by Ealing Council, which owns and maintains it, officially as a "Special Nature Reserve". Ref:,_Ealing

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

About London's bluecoat schools and statues

A fascinating history and photo gallery about the many London bluecoat schools, the first of which was Christchurch Hospital, setup in the City of London by Henry VI in 1552.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

A walk in Grove Farm local nature reserve

I got some nice pictures in Grove Farm, an official local nature reserve today. I'm usually too cowardly to walk there on my own. I don't want to get mugged. But you know, life is for living and and all that bally rot. Shared foxy earlier. One might do for a poem, perhaps. Did you see the fox? Ever feel like you're being watched? 

Hollywood Nails

Hollywood Nails professional nail care, Greenford Road, north Greenford, Oct 2022


Horsenden Lane Farm Festival sign

"Horsenden Lane Farm Festival Event Open 1st October As Usual" road sign on a suburban footpath near the junction of Ennismore Avenue and Horsenden Lane North.

Our strapline used to be "yesterday's news tomorrow", so in keeping with that: how did it go? 

Other straplines of the past: the perplexing "tomorrow's news yesterday"; the JLP-style but oddly off-putting "never knowingly scooped"; "since 1894" - there was a newspaper with the same name about then; the unlikely hilarious "pray for the repose of the soul of Colin Di Limonade" etc. etc.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

New Short Stories 12 - first look

From Willesden Herald Books, an imprint of Pretend Genius Press

The best of the Willesden Short Story Prize 2020

New Short Stories 12 cover flat

Short fiction by David Butler, Helen Harjak, Catherine McNamara, Andy Mead, Jackie Morris, Diana Powell, Peter Newall, Anju Sharma, Lui Sit, Zakia Uddin 

With an introduction by Jarred McGinnis

Launch: The Performance Space, Willesden Green Library, 8 November 2022, from 7pm

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Results event and book launch, Willesden Green Library, Nov 8

Entrance to the new Willesden Green Library Centre, London NW10

The Performance Space, Willesden Green Library

Tues. 8 November 2022, from 7pm to 8:30pm

Who will take the one-off mug inscribed “The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022”? We’re going to have fun along the way with excerpts from stories, saving the results till last. With Katy Darby and Liars’ League.

This is also the book launch of New Short Stories 12. So there will be books [I hope – Ed.] A night to remember.

Event listing on Facebook

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Short list for the Willesden Short Story Prize 2022

The ten stories shortlisted for the Willesden Short Story Prize 2022 in alphabetical order by author

  • Shoes by David Butler
  • Remembering Not Forgetting by Helen Harjak
  • Vevey by Catherine McNamara
  • Haircut by Andy Mead
  • Cuckquean by Jackie Morris
  • My Last Journey with Baron Baldanders by Peter Newall
  • Empathy by Diana Powell
  • Things we see, things we don't by Anju Sharma
  • Forecast for Rain by Lui Sit
  • Hotline by Zakia Uddin
Thanks to all who entered for making our selection task so difficult with the high standard of writing. The total number of entries was 371. It was painful having to leave out many outstanding short stories.  

There will be a special event to announce 1st prize short story and runners-up and to launch the anthology, New Short Stories 12. Details to follow. 

The one-off mug inscribed "The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022"

Monday, August 29, 2022

Short story competition: Closing date Wednesday 31 August

The one-off prize mug inscribed “The Willesden Short Story Prize 2022” standing on a black electric piano with a metronome, a tambourine and learner's music book open at "Broken Chords" etc.

We're back with a competition for inclusion in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 12. Closing date will be August 31, 2022. Entry fee £5. 10 prizes: 1st £300, 2nd £200, 3rd £100 and 7 x £50, plus copies of the book. (The prize details have been updated.)

August 29, Monday. Good morning! The total number of short stories in the inbox as of this morning stands at 279. [Ed.]

Sunday, August 07, 2022

2022 Writers, Don't Let Me Down! Ed.

Your forebears could hunt an epiphany through the great forest of Um without breaking a twig and spear it with words sharpened on the soles of their feet. Arise, put on your leotards and send in your short stories, ye of this century…(Enough, thank you. Get to the music. Ed.)


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Short Story of the Month, July 2022

A guest story to cool the air this summer. Sean Brijbasi has kindly lent us this far out story as a reprint from his unknowed book of the same name. Sean is one of the unknowed people behind the Willesden short story competition. Please do not write in to tell us that unknowed is not a word! (Ed.)
The Willesden Herald Short Story of the Month

July 2022: The Unknowed Things by Sean Brijbasi

… To my surprise, I received a response, stating that a vice admiral couldn’t be blamed for the consequences of my ingratitude. Such a knowing people, I thought. It was true. Lily had given me everything even when I didn’t ask, appearing with unexpected gifts even when I deserved nothing. She told me the most beautiful stories that I, in turn, told to others as if they were my own …

Sean Brijbasi

Sean Brijbasi 
lives in America.

Sometimes he writes.

“You get the feeling that NO ONE CAN SEE THE WORLD I LIVE IN by Sean Brijbasi is the kind of book inspired by people who will most likely never read it.” –Rail Drinks Magazine (?)

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Grove Farm - smart new sign

The new information board for Grove Farm at the Whitton Avenue West entrance

The old signboard. Some helpful person added pointers for "Harrow 2 miles and Wembley 2 miles".

The Willesden Herald has mentioned before that groups of men hanging around or sometimes standing in groups among the trees and drinking, near the Greenford Road entrance are not conducive to more community use of this wonderful nature reserve. A lone woman was murdered there a few years ago. Not sure what more can be done about that, as a "no drinking zone" has been tried but doesn't seem to have made much difference. If you walk in from Greenford Road on the path to the David Lloyd sports centre, you will see mountains of beer cans and bottles piled in ditches and under bridging parts of the road. There is a small stream that runs down by the old IBM/Kellogg Tower, which has now been redeveloped into flats. Further development is planned in an adjacent site but Grove Farm is not set to be affected. It's a site of special interest for rare trees and plants. Of its nature, it must remain wooded with hills and obscure paths. So best suggestion, a permanent warden service, someone uniformed and tasked with keeping a watchful eye and combatting litter etc. No, we can't afford a warden because we're so modern and sophisticated, so rich? Question to Ealing Council. (Ed.)

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Hawthorn down, South Vale


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Another great Spitalfields Life feature

Charles Dickens in Shadwell & Limehouse. Superb photo essay with supporting quotes in the redoubtable Spitalfields Life. A must for devotees of Charles Dickens and old London, as indeed is the whole journal.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

It's polling day in the local elections (May 5 2022)

It's a nice day in London for kicking the Tories out of office.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Long time, no shops

Launderama - Laundry, Dry Cleaners, Alterations

Maya Pub

"Lobsters Fish Bar" Fish & Chips

Random shops from the marvellous Shaftesbury Circle, Harrow, a wonderful shopping parade. The circle's architecture is wonderful and deserves its own dedicated report by someone far better at this than me. (Ed.)

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Jarred McGinnis to judge Willesden Short Story Competition 2022

Jarred McGinnis

We are pleased and excited to announce that novelist and short story writer Jarred McGinnis has agreed to judge the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition 2022. An American abroad, his debut novel The Coward (Canongate, 2021) was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club recommendation. It is also about to be published in the US as well as France, Italy and Spain later this year. He has many strings to his bow, including short fiction for BBC Radio 4 and much more besides, which you can read all about on his website. He is no stranger to our competition, having had a short story in New Short Stories 4. [Ed.]

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Call for Submissions: New Short Stories 12

Willesden Herald short story competition 2022

We’re back with a competition for inclusion in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 12. Open to international entries. Closing date will be August 31, 2022. Entry fee £5. There are ten prizes, as follows:

  • 1st prize: £300 + one-off inscribed Willesden Herald mug
  • 2nd: £200
  • 3rd: £100
  • 7 x £50
  • Plus you get a copy of the anthology when it’s published.

Judge: Jarred McGinnis (updated 20 Feb. 2022)

Please visit our page for full details and to Submit

The Obscure Object of Desire (inscribed mug)

Photo: One-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed "Willesden Short Story Prize"

Listed at Duotrope

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Wood End Library and Children's Centre demolished (photos)

Update 8 Feb 2022, the scene today



Whitton Avenue West

According to this website presentation, Ealing Council's proposed plan for the site includes a block of 11 new "affordable homes" and a community library.

"View of the current, emerging proposal" (from the linked site above)