By Ogova Ondego
Published October 20, 2011
Writers in the Commonwealth have till November 30, 2011 and December 9, 2011 to enter their short story and first fiction book, respectively, for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize competitions.
The Commonwealth Foundation, an intergovernmental organisation established in 1965, made the call for entries for the new Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize on October 19, 2011. The Foundation, that is supported by the Commonwealth governments, says the “prizes are part of a new initiative, Commonwealth Writers, an online hub to inspire, inform and create a community of writers from all over the world.”
Together with the prizes, the Foundation says, Commonwealth Writers unearths, develops and promotes the best new fiction from across the Commonwealth.
Commonwealth Foundation Director, Danny Sriskandarajah, says, “As one of the Commonwealth Foundation’s flagship projects, I’m delighted that we’re putting the prizes firmly on the contemporary map of new writing and launching a dedicated Commonwealth Writers website to extend our global reach.”
Awarded for best first book, the Commonwealth Book Prize is open to writers who have had their first novel (full length work of fiction) published between January 1 and December 31, 2011. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £10,000. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £1,000 and the overall winner receives £5,000. The winners will be announced in June 2012.
“The significance of a prize such as this”, says Commonwealth Book Prize 2012 Chair, Margaret Busby, “becomes greater with each year. It is vital to encourage and celebrate the talent of newly emerging novelists whose words have the potential to inspire and enrich the entire literary world. Searching out and promoting the best first books of fiction internationally is a serious task, a great honour and a wonderful challenge.”
Bernardine Evaristo, Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2012, says, “This wonderful prize will turn the spotlight on the increasingly popular short story form and aims to support and encourage short story writers worldwide.”
The Commonwealth Foundation says its “Commonwealth Writers works in partnership with international literary organisations, the wider cultural industries and civil society to help writers develop their craft. Commonwealth Writers is a forum where members can debate the future of publishing, get advice from established authors and ask questions of our writer in residence.”
Full rules and entry and eligibility information on the prizes is available on the commonwealthwriters.org website.