“As the majority of the writers have declined the offer of money and being listed and having their stories on the website, it has been decided that the original judgement will stand”.
No matter how one looks at this matter, it comes back to Zadie Smith deciding that the shortlist writers to the The Willesden Herald Short Story contest were not “good enough” to warrant giving away the Prize. The writers, in declining the offer of splitting the money, are making a strong statement about their integrity, that one author’s dismissal, first, of their work, and her accomodation, later, of the stories as close to being good enough to receive a piece of the Prize, is not a good reason to act desperate. Good for them!
Let’s take a look at another quote from the Prize: ” Zadie was so disturbed by the idea of not selecting a winner that she even suggested she stand back and that the short-listing judges pick the winner. However, this would have deprived us of the patronage of a writer of Zadie’s stature and so this honourable offer was declined.”
The judges have given their last word on this issue, and they look forward to writer enthusiasm for next year’s contest. They should double the prize money, and include the interest this year’s amount is going to gain.
The judges had more to say: ” we do not regret running a competition that looks for excellence.”