for writers and readers….

International short story competition

Winner ssLe me be frank, the prizes on offer in the Willesden Herald short story competition won’t raise your blood pressure.

  • 1st prize is a one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed “The Willesden Short Story Prize 2016” and a bottle of champagne.

  • All ten short-listed stories will be included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9 anthology

  • Two copies of the anthology to each of the ten authors.

  • After the first 150 entries is reached  (and the organisors admit that it might not be)  all subsequent entry fees less expenses will go into a prize fund to be divided equally among the ten authors.

Why bother?

Because this competition has a good reputation and launched  a number of excellant short story writers in the past.
Because the word limit is a very generous 7500 words.* I can’t think of another short story competition that allows writers to be so expansive. If you are tired of shoe-horning a story into the typical 2,000 word box this competition might suddenly have become more attractive.
Because the maximum word count says nothing about what the judges would like to see:“We don’t prefer longer stories and we don’t prefer shorter stories. How long should it be? As long as it’s a story.”
Because winners and runners-up in previous Willesden Herald short story competitions are excluded to give new writers more of a chance.

Submissions opened at the weekend and the deadline is 31 August 2016. The results will be announced on 31 October 2016. That may seem like a long way away and maybe it is in real time, but not in writing time when whole weeks can be swallowed up in thinking. Mark the deadline on calendars now but bring it forward by a month: that way you have enough time to write and enough time to revise and seek feedback from other writers.

All the rules are HERE. Follow each one faithfully.

You can read previous Willesden Herald anthology stories to get an idea of what might go down well. You can find them here:

* Word counts. 7500 words probably isn’t a very commercial length – I’d say there are a lot more publishing opportunities for stories that are between 1000 and 2000 words long.

However, stories don’t like being squashed or stretched and most seems to have their own  ‘right’ length which it doesn’t do any good to ignore it.

My advice is write for the idea not for a potential market. And 7500 is a very good length for inclusion into a short story collection. I’m not just thinking about the WH’s anthology of winning entries. I am also thinking about the collection you might bring out yourself one day….


17 comments on “International short story competition

  1. Phillip T Stephens
    May 4, 2016

    You forgot to include a link to the rules.

  2. Phillip T Stephens
    May 4, 2016

    However I found the link to the link in the sample short stories

  3. bridget whelan
    May 4, 2016

    Thanks Philip for spotting a crucial link was missing. I’ve now added it.

  4. The Story Reading Ape
    May 4, 2016

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    More competition information courtesy of Bridget 😀

  5. lesleyscoble
    May 4, 2016

    Thanks Bridget – I fancy a new mug 😊

  6. bridget whelan
    May 4, 2016

    Not just any mug, Lesley. It’s an heirloom in the making!

  7. patriciaruthsusan
    May 4, 2016

    Thanks, Bridget, for this information. 🙂 — Suzanne

  8. franklparker
    May 4, 2016

    Reblogged this on Frank Parker's author site and commented:
    Something for all writers for the summer. You could be drinking champagne in November and seeing your story in print.

    • bridget whelan
      May 4, 2016

      Thanks for reblogging Frank – like the look of your website!

  9. Mariana
    May 4, 2016

    Sorry, it’s a rubbish prize and the rules suggest an insufferably snotty judge. If you want a well-respected competition with a realistic prize there’s still time to enter the Bridport.

    • bridget whelan
      May 4, 2016

      Snotty judges? No, I don’t think so. And I feel they deserve some marks for clarity about how the prizes will be funded.
      You’re right, of course, there is still time to enter the Bridport (it closes in 27 days) and here’s the link:
      It is both a prestigious competition & a rewarding one with a prize pot of over £16,000. However, I would guess that the Bridport will attract ten times as many entries as the Willesden Herald. The Bridport is the biggie with a long-standing international reputation.
      I’m not sure what you meant by ‘realistic’ because most competitions are small and offer more in the way of honour and glory than hard cash. I’m pretty sure the Bridport has the biggest prizes of any ‘open’ competition, but I’d love to know what others think.
      Is the Willesden Herald (and others of its kind) not worth the bother?

  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A short story competition that has a generous wordage allowance and a good reputation for launching writer’s careers.. head over to Bridget Whelan for all the information.

  11. Pingback: Mention in Dispatches – Outstanding blog posts this week. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  12. Pingback: International short story competition | The Proof Angel

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2016 by in News, Uncategorized and tagged , , .


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