List of the regional winners of this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been announced. From a shortlist of 21 short fictions out of 5,081 unpublished entries, an international judging panel has selected five regional winners.
This year’s regional winners are: Saras Manickam (Asia/Malaysia); Mbozi Haimbe (Africa/ Zambia); Alexia Tolas (Caribbean/The Bahamas); Constantia Soteriou (Canada and Europe/Cyprus) and Harley Hern (Pacific/New Zealand).
The name of the overall winner out of the five regional winners will be announced on July 9 in Québec City, Canada. In this free-to-enter competition, regional winners receive £2,500 while the overall winner receives £5,000.
Malaysia’s Saras Manickam, creative writing teacher by profession, in her winning entry “My Mother Pattu” tells a thought-provoking story of a daughter who struggles to protect herself from her violent and jealous mother.
About the story she said, “It is also very humbling that this story with its different voices set in a time long ago in Malaysia has found relevance and connectivity."
The judging panel for the prestigious prize consisted of five distinguished writers who also represent these five regions. They were: Mohammed Hanif (Asia), Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Africa), Karen Lord (Caribbean), Chris Power (Canada and Europe) and Courtney Sina Meredith (Pacific).
Kittitian-British writer Caryl Phillips, Chair of the Judges, has said in the Commonwealth Writers’ website that in this year’s prize the winners explored “a remarkably diverse range of subject-matter, including stories about war, love, abuse and neglect.”
“What unites the stories is a common thread of narrative excellence and dramatic intensity. The voices of a truly global cast of characters enable us to engage with, and recognize, universal emotions of pain and loss,” he added.
The winning five stories will be published in acclaimed UK-based literary magazine Granta.
Besides original entries (2,000–5,000 words) written in Bengali, Chinese, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish, entries translated into English are also accepted.
Commonwealth Writers—an initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation—has been managing Commonwealth Short Story Prize annually from 2012.