“This is a difficult thing to write. Just like everybody, we at The Willesden Herald are concerned about the state of contemporary literature. We are depressed by the cookie-cutter process of contemporary publishing, the lack of truly challenging and original writing, and the small selection of pseudo-literary fictio-tainment that dominates our chain bookstores. We created this prize to support unpublished writers, and, with our five grand, we put our money where our mouths are,” writes Zadie Smith in a letter to the 2008 Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize entrants.
Smith argues that most entrants tried to reflect in their stories the themes that she has dealt with in her own novels, and this did not impress her. The contest was looking for works “good enough” to win the 5000 pounds.
This competition has been postponed to next year, when Zadie Smith will try again to find a story that’s “good enough”.