Ah, as one Herald blog commenter wrote...the power of bitching. Or words to that effect.
Having stated that no story was strong enough to win, and a vibrant, brave exhortation to writers to do better, The Willesden Competition now has ten winners. The prize money of £5K is to be divided equally, in an act worthy of King Solomon.
One of the winners is a writing friend of mine. Congrats!
But, if I may, I am also sad. Sad because a wake-up call is so badly needed in short story writing all over, especially here. Sad because having taken a decision, however hard, I think it is best to stick to it. And sad because it's a fair bet that this might see the end of this brilliant competition. Will Zadie Smith really want this hoo ha again? It remains to be seen. And is there a Willesden competition without her? And will the hard working filter judges really do this again?
Why the f*** they had to bring money into it, is a mystery. It was lovely, generous, don't get me wrong.
But when the prize was just a mug, there was something straight and true about the competition. It was 'doing one's best for art and a pat on the back'. Thats how this writer saw it.
And that mug and pat on the back was worth ten times the prize money.
However. This writer now has a 5000 wd stodgy historic story to inject a little zip into. No wonder it didn't get to the last ten!!