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Judging panel for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize announced

  • Published at 04:17 pm September 17th, 2020
Editor from Bangladesh to represent Asia as judge

Bangladeshi writer and editor Khademul Islam will be the judge for the Asia region for the 10th annual Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Chaired by South African novelist and critic Zoë Wicomb, the other judges, drawn from the four regions of the Commonwealth, are Nigerian author A Igoni Barrett (Africa), British poet and fiction writer Keith Jarrett (Canada and Europe), Jamaican environmental activist and author Diana McCaulay (Caribbean), and essayist and fiction writer Tina Makereti (Pacific).

The judges will shortlist five stories for each region and choose five regional winners. They will pick an overall winner out of the five. 

Zoë Wicomb (Chair) is a South African writer who lives in Glasgow, Scotland where she is Emeritus Professor at the University of Strathclyde. Her Race, Nation, Translation: South African Essays was published in 2018.  She received Yale’s inaugural Windham-Campbell Prize For her fictional works that include You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, David’s Story, Playing in the Light, The One That Got Away, and October

Khademul Islam (Asia) is a writer, translator and editor based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was the literary editor of two dailies (Dhaka Tribune and Daily Star), where he encouraged English translations in Bangladesh. He is the Director of Bengal Lights Books publications, a board member of Dhaka Translation Centre, and the editor of the literary journal Bengal Lights. He has published two books of English translations of Bengali short fiction and poems. He is currently working on a non-fiction book to be published by Bloomsbury UK.


Also read -The 2020 Booker Prize shortlist announced


A. Igoni Barrett (Africa) was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and lives in Lagos. Love is Power, or Something Like That, his second short story collection, was selected by NPR as a best book of 2013. His first novel, Blackass, published in 2015, was nominated for the PEN Open Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the FT/Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award, and the Nommo Award for Best Novel. 

Keith Jarrett (Canada and Europe) lives and works in London. Poet and fiction writer, he is currently a PhD scholar at Birkbeck, University of London, where he is completing his first novel, exploring the migration of religion from the Caribbean to London. Keith is a former UK Poetry Slam Champion; he also won the International Slam Championship at FLUPP in Rio. 

Diana McCaulay (Caribbean) is a Jamaican environmental activist and award-winning writer. She is the founder and Chair of the Jamaica Environment Trust and has published four novels – Dog-Heart, Huracan (Peepal Tree Press), Gone to Drift (Papillote Press and HarperCollins) and White Liver Gal (self published). She won the Hollick Arvon Prize for non-fiction in 2014 for her work-in-progress, a creative non-fiction book entitled Loving Jamaica. She was the regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2012, for her story “The Dolphin Catchers”. 

Tina Makereti (Pacific) writes essays, novels and short fiction. She is author of The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke, Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings and Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa, and in 2017 she co-edited Black Marks on the White Page, an anthology that celebrates Māori and Pasifika writing, with Witi Ihimaera. In 2016 her story ‘Black Milk’ won the Pacific region Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize. 

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