5 regional winners emerge in Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize has announced this year’s regional winners. 

According to a statement by the organiser, the judging panel has decided on this year’s five regional winners.

“The winning stories for Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific were drawn from a shortlist of 26 authors, following a record-breaking 6,730 entries this year,” says the statement.

In another breakthrough for the prize, the statement adds, the regional winners include authors from Eswatini, Singapore and St Vincent and the Grenadines for the very first time. 

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. 

The prize’s international panel of judges is now undertaking their final deliberations. Next month, the overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2022 will be announced in a special online award ceremony on 21 June.

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