Meet the the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners

Regional winners have emerged in the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Making the announcement in a statement the Commonwealth Foundation named the winners as Hana Gammon, Agnes Chew, Rue Baldry, Kwame McPherson and Himali McInnes, saying they captivated an expert international judging panel with their powerful stories.

According to Bilal Tanweer, Chair of the Judges, “The winning stories demonstrated impressive ambition, an intimate understanding of place and a real mastery of the craft. The judges were unanimous in their admiration of these stories and how they sought to tackle difficult questions.”

One of the five regional winners will be announced as the overall winner in a special online ceremony on Tuesday 27 June.

The writers—each representing a region of the Commonwealth—shared these reflections on the challenge of writing, the importance of the prize and the power of storytelling:

Hana Gammon (Africa) – “The Undertaker’s Apprentice”

“I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard that my story had been selected as the regional winner. I wasn’t expecting it to get so far in the competition, especially since I’m an unpublished writer.”

Agnes Chew (Asia) – “Oceans Away from my Homeland”

‘Writing is often a solitary journey, one that compels you to venture to places dark and unknown; and so, this news arrived like a luminous orb of joy and affirmation.’

Rue Baldry (Canada and Europe) – “Lech, Prince, and the Nice Things”

“It is pleasing beyond words that a character who for months existed only inside my mind, has been experienced by such esteemed, knowledgeable judges, and is now going to be shared with so many more readers”.

Kwame McPherson (Caribbean) – “Ocoee”

“Stories make up the tapestry of our everyday lives. They manifest in how individuals, families, communities and the wider society interact and relate. And then, like a pot of delicious manish water soup, they are mixed into the entire world’s own story to be read, uplifted and absorbed”.

Himali McInnes (Pacific) – “Kilinochchi”

“It is a huge honour to be counted alongside such rich, varied stories from around the world, written by people who bring so much of their particular place, time and patois to their work”.

The winning stories will be available to read on Granta in the coming weeks.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is a cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation. 


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