Cypriot writer Constantia Soteriou’s story “Death Customs”, translated from Greek to English by Lina Protopapa, has been announced as the overall winner of this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize, on Tuesday. It is the first translated entry to win this title.
Two months earlier, the judging panel selected five regional winners, from a shortlist of 21 short fictions out of 5,081 unpublished entries.
Considered as “poetically intense and complex in form” by the chair of judges, Caryl Phillips, ‘Death Customs’, is a story about the women of Cyprus, mothers or wives who were left to believe that their beloved persons were missing after the 1974 war, while the state had clear evidence about their death.
Besides being a short story writer, Constantia Soteriou (born in 1975) is a novelist and a playwright. She has received Athens Prize for Literature award for his first novel Aishe Goes on Vacation.
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).
In this free-to-enter competition, the overall winner receives £5,000, while the regional winners receive £2,500.
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).