By Ogova Ondego
Published October 12, 2015
Commonwealth Writers, the organisers of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, are inviting Kiswahili, Portuguese and Bengali writers to submit their stories in the original language.
The organisers, who have also announced London (England)-based, South African-born novelist Gillian Slovo as chair of the 2016 edition of the prize, say their inclusion of Bengali, Kiswahili and Portuguese writing is aimed at attracting more entries.
“We are inviting people who write in Bengali, Portuguese and [Ki]swahili, who are citizens of a Commonwealth country and who do not have an English translation of their story, to submit their stories in the original language,” Commonwealth Writers say in a media statement. “As part of the judging process, they will first be read by experienced Bengali, Portuguese and [Ki]swahili readers. Any stories which are successful at this first stage will be translated into English to be read by the international judging panel.”
Joining Slovo on the judging panel are writers Helon Habila, an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, USA. He hails from Nigeria; Pierre J Mejlak, a Belgium-based writer from Malta; Patrick Holland, an Australian writer whom Commonwealth Writers say “lives and writes between Saigon, Brisbane and Beijing”; Jamaican Olive Senior, a faculty member of the Humber School for Writers in Toronto, Canada; and Firdous Azim, “a Professor of English at BRAC University and a member of Naripokkho, the woman’s activist group in Dhaka, Bangladesh.”
The deadline for manuscript submission is November 1, 2015.