Friday, April 01, 2016

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 Shortlist Announced

Commonwealth Short Story Prize
  • Regional winners announced 4 May

  • 4000 entries from 47 countries

  • 26 writers on the shortlist

  • First translated entry, from Bangladesh, on the shortlist 

  • £15,000 in prize money

Gillian Slovo
Gillian Slovo © Charlie Hopkinson
Twenty-six “fresh and unexpected” stories make up the shortlist for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In its fifth year, the prize is for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English.

The shortlist covers a wide range of subject matter, from rivalry between chefs, a community of puppeteers in Delhi, society and class in Jamaica, genocide and revenge, to an advertising campaign for chewing gum in India and the heartbreak of Alzheimers.

Chair of the judges, South African novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, said of this year’s shortlist:

“As a novelist accustomed to the luxury of the long form it has been a treat to discover writers who manage to crystallise such different experiences into so few words.  The stories we have chosen for the shortlist are in turn comic, touching, poetic, mysterious but always fresh and unexpected.”

The prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The 2016 judges are Helon Habila (Africa), Firdous Azim (Asia), Pierre J Mejlak (Canada and Europe), Olive Senior (Caribbean) and Patrick Holland (Pacific).

The regional winners will be announced on 4 May, and the winning stories will be published on Granta online. Commonwealth Writers is also working with the literary agents Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd to identify writers through this year’s prize, which is part funded by the Sigrid Rausing Trust.


Aabirah, Sophia Khan (Pakistan)          A Visitation, Jane Healey (United Kingdom)
Black Milk, Tina Makereti (New Zealand)
Charmed, Jane Downing (Australia)
Children of the Zocalo, Don McLellan (Canada)
Confluence, Nova Gordon-Bell (Jamaica)
Cow and Company, Parashar Kulkarni (India)
Dirty White Strings, Kritika Pandey (India)
Eel, Stefanie Seddon (United Kingdom)
Ethelbert and the Free Cheese,
Lance Dowrich (Trinidad and Tobago)
Exorcism, Lausdeus Chiegboka (Nigeria)
Girdhar’s Mansion, Sumit Ray (India)
Imbecile, Craig S Whyte (United Kingdom)
Instant Karma, Vinayak Varma (India)
Kurram Valley, Munib A Khan (Pakistan)
Niroporadh Ghum (Innocent Sleep),
Sumon Rahman (Bangladesh);
Translator: Arunava Sinha
Saving Obadiah, Enyeribe Ibegwam (Nigeria)
Space Invaders, Stuart Snelson
(United Kingdom)
The Driver, Oyinkan Braithwaite (Nigeria)
The Entomologist’s Dream, Andrew Salomon (South Africa)
The Pigeon, Faraaz Mahomed (South Africa)
This Here Land, Miranda Luby (Australia)
This is How We Burn, Cat Hellisen
(South Africa)
Vestigial, Trent Lewin (Canada)
When I Came Home, Mark Winkler
(South Africa)
Where Mountains Weep, Bonnie Etherington (New Zealand

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