1 winner to emerge from 6,730 writers in 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

In a matter of a few days,   the Commonwealth Foundation will announce the winner of the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize to a live online audience across the world.

A statement by the organisers says its panel of judges have shortlisted five regional winners from Eswatini, Fiji, Jamaica, Singapore and United Kingdom / St Vincent and the Grenadines. However, only one writer will win the global prize.

Date is Tuesday 21 June and the time is; 7 am Kingston / 1 pm London / 2 pm Mbabane / 8 pm Singapore / 12 am (+1) Suva.

According to the prize’s Chair of Judges, Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar: “If a reader harboured any doubt about whether fiction is relevant to today’s world, these stories answer with a riposte that resonates beyond a resounding ‘yes.’.. These stories fulfill a higher function.” 

This is true for the thousands of writers who entered into the 2022 prize competition amidst a global pandemic.

Below is the list of winners:

Africa – Eswatini: Ntsika Kota, ‘and the earth drank deep’

Born in Mbabane, Eswatini, Ntsika Kota is a chemist by training and self-taught writer. ‘Being shortlisted was a shock of its own, but winning the regional prize as a rank amateur… even I would never write such an improbable storyline!’

Asia – Singapore: Sofia Mariah Ma, ‘The Last Diver on Earth’

Sofia Mariah Ma is a writer born and raised in Singapore with Javanese origins. ‘Coming from a small island-nation, it is a great honour to have my story chosen to speak on behalf of the stunningly diverse, polyphonic Asian region.’

Canada & Europe – United Kingdom: Cecil Browne, ‘A Hat for Lemer’

A college lecturer in Maths, Cecil Browne was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but has lived in the UK since his teens. ‘Knowing that my entry was shortlisted was a really fabulous feeling, discovering that I was the regional winner has filled me with joy.’

Caribbean – Jamaica: Diana McCaulay, ‘Bridge Over the Yallahs River’

Diana McCaulay is a Jamaican environmental activist and writer. ‘I wanted to write about the conflict I saw during my environmental life – the heavy costs of what we call ‘development.’

Pacific – Fiji: Mary Rokonadravu, ‘The Nightwatch’

Mary Rokonadravu is a Fijian writer of mixed indigenous Fijian, indentured Indian, and settler European heritage. ‘I chose to remain in Fiji, to remain in the Pacific, and to tell stories from here…this win is reaffirming.’

Each regional winner has been awarded £2,500 and will have their stories published online in Granta, the magazine of new writing.


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