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2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize entry opens


2016 winner, Indian Parashar Kulkarni and 2017 winner, Trinidadian Ingrid Persaud.

The 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English, has opened for entry from September 1 till November 1. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Translated entries are also eligible, as are stories written in the original Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil.

The competition is free to enter. This year’s winner is Trinidadian writer and artist, Ingrid Persaud, who calls Barbados home. She won with her story, ‘The Sweet Sop.’

According to the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Jury Chair, Kamila Shamsie, “The extraordinary ability of the short story to plunge you into places, perspectives and emotions and inhabit them fully in the space of only a few pages is on dazzling display in this shortlist. The judges weren’t looking for particular themes or styles, but rather for stories that live and breathe. That they do so with such an impressive range of subject matter and tone has been a particular pleasure of re-reading the shortlisted stories. The geographic spread of the entries is, of course, in good part responsible for this range – all credit to Commonwealth Writers for structuring this prize so that its shortlists never seem parochial.”
ealth Short Story Prize judging panel was chaired by Kamila Shamsie. The international judging panel comprises a judge from each of the five regions – Africa (Zukiswa Wanner), Asia (Mahesh Rao), Canada and Europe (Jacqueline Baker), the Caribbean (Jacob Ross) and the Pacific (Vilsoni Hereniko).


On ‘The Sweet Sop,’ Shamsie, said, “The judges were very impressed by ‘The Sweet Sop’s’ originality, the strength of its characterisation, the control of voice, and its humour and emotional punch. It loses none of its effectiveness on a second or third or fourth re-reading, always the mark of a rich and layered story.”

Nigeria’s Akwaeke Amezi, an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces, who won the African region with her story, ‘Who Is Like God.’ She is a 2017 Global Arts Fund recipient, awarded by the Astraea Foundation for her video art, and her debut novel Freshwater is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in Winter 2018. For more of her work, please see

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