Kevin Jared Hosein wins the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for “Passage”
Kevin Jared Hosein, author of The Repenters, have been awarded the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for his story “Passage.” Novelist Sarah Hall, chair of the judges for this year, called it “an uncanny bar story, about a man who hears a strange tale, only to become part of the tale’s re-lived strangeness. It balances between formal language and demotic, ideas of civility and ferality, is tightly woven and suspenseful, beautifully and eerily atmospheric, and finally surprising. It is, in essence, all a reader could want from the short story form,” adding that it was a “truly crafted piece of fiction that transports the reader into another world, upends expectations, and questions the nature of narratives and narrative consequence.”
Hossain was among five regional winners that included EfuaTraoré from Nigeria, Sagnik Dutta from India, Lynda Clark from the UK, and Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa from Samoa.
This year also saw Bangladeshi author Imran Khan’s short story “Jyamitik Zadukor” (The Geometric Wizard), translated into English from Bangla by Arunava Sinha, shortlisted for the prize.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which awards £5,000 to the best unpublished story written in Bengali, Chinese, English, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, or Tamil, had 5,182 entries from 48 countries this year.
Hosein, whose prize-winning story “Passage” is about a man in his midlife crisis searching for a mysterious woman in the wilderness, said, “I wasn’t expecting it. First to be among this eclectic quintet of winning stories, all with central resonating themes—happiness, connection, isolation, freedom, repression, acceptance. Then to be chosen from that, I feel incredibly honored that this Trinidadian tale has traveled so far. I hope others in my region are inspired by this accomplishment.”
The winning story and the regional winning entries can be read online at Granta which publishes the contest winners every year.