By Ogova Ondego
Published October 3, 2013
The 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize invites writers across the Commonwealth to submit entries for the prize.
The prize considers unpublished short (2,000-5,000 words) fiction in English though translations into English from other languages are also eligible.
Though there is no entry fee, attractive prizes await winners who are considered on regional basis. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner £5,000.
“My hope is that writers from across the Commonwealth will be encouraged to send us stories that bring us news of wherever they are, in the wide variety of voices and accents that make up the English language,” says Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Chair of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
“It would be wonderful to see submissions from bold stylists and stories that experiment with the form as well as more traditional approaches to the short story. This prize celebrates the power of the short story to spin a tale that concentrates experience and character in such specificity that the local is transformed to significance far beyond its borders. This is the magic of good writing, and this is what I hope we will find.”
Besides Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing, other judges are Doreen Baingana (author of Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe, which won the Association of Writing Programs Prize for Short Fiction in USA and the Commonwealth Prize for First Book, Africa region in 2006); Michelle de Kretser (author of The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, which won the Commonwealth Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region) and the Encore Prize, The Lost Dog, which won the NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the ALS Gold Medal, and Questions of Travel, winner of the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction and the ALS Gold Medal); Marlon James (whose second novel, The Book of Night Women, was the winner the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, The Minnesota Book Award, The Go On Girl! Book Club Author of The Year and was a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award and the NAACP Image Award); Courttia Newland (Associate Lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London. Hi first novel, The Scholar, was published in 1997. Further critically acclaimed work includes Society Within and Snakeskin , The Dying Wish, Music for the Off-Key, and A Book of Blues. He is co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain. A novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published by Akashic Books of USA and Telegram of UK in February 2013) and Jeet Thayil (Poet, novelist, librettist and musician. His These Errors Are Correct won the Indian Academy of Letters 2013 award for poetry in English. Editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets, Thayil’s debut novel Narcopolis won the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for five other prizes, including the Man Booker Prize, the Man Asian Literature Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize).