Nigerian Olajide Omojarabi makes 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist

The 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist has been unveiled, showcasing the remarkable works of 23 writers from across the Commonwealth, according to a statement on the prize’s website, With an unprecedented number of 7,359 entries, this year’s competition has shattered previous records, underscoring the global appeal and significance of the prize.

Originating from 13 Commonwealth countries, including debut appearances from writers hailing from Mauritius, Rwanda and St Kitts and Nevis, the shortlist paints a vivid tapestry of human experiences. 

Announced on April 17, the shortlisted in no particular order are:

”A River Then the Road” , Pip Robertson (New Zealand)

”Dite” , Reena Usha Rungoo (Mauritius)

”Nobody Owns a Fire” , Jennifer Severn (Australia)

”Mananangal” , M Donato (New Zealand)

”Wrinkle Release” , Stefan Bindley-Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago)

”So Clean” , Anna Woods (New Zealand)

”You Had Me at Aloe” , Ark Ramsay (Barbados)

”Terre Brulée” , Celeste Mohammed (Trinidad and Tobago)

”Thambi, Thambi” , Bharath Kumar (India)

”Aishwarya Rai” , Sanjana Thakur (India)

”Mother May I” , Ajay Patri (India)

”When Things End” , Sarah Balakrishnan (Canada)

”What Burns” , Julie Bouchard (Canada)

”Your Own Dear, Obedient Daughters” , F.E. Choe (Canada)

”Milk” , Eaton Hamilton (Canada)

”Sookie Woodrow Goes to Heaven” , Ceilidh Michelle (Canada)

”The Devil’s Son” , Portia Subran (Trinidad and Tobago)

”Fadi” , Azags Agandaa


”House No. 49” , Olajide Omojarabi (Nigeria)

”A Song Sung in Secret” , Jayne Bauling (South Africa)

”The Goat” , Jean Pierre Nikuze


”The Marriage Proposal” , Heather Archibald (St Kitts and Nevis)

”The Woman Upstairs” , Audrey Tan (Singapore)

Themes range from the innocence of childhood to the complexities of adulthood, exploring topics such as parental separation, forbidden love and the enigmatic dynamics of human relationships.

Chair of the Judges, the Ugandan-British novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, lauds the shortlist as a “dream list” for aficionados of the short story genre, praising the diversity and creativity showcased by the selected writers. Dr Anne T. Gallagher AO, Director-General of the Commonwealth Foundation, echoes this sentiment, highlighting the Prize’s role in nurturing the rich creative talent within the Commonwealth.

The anticipation continues as the announcement of five regional winners on May 29 approaches, with the overall winner set to be revealed on June 26. These talented writers will have their works published in adda, the online literary magazine, granting them a global platform to share their stories.

Notably, the Short Story Prize serves as a beacon for emerging and established writers alike, offering both recognition and financial support. Regional winners are awarded £2,500 each, while the overall winner receives £5,000, reaffirming the Prize’s commitment to fostering literary excellence across the Commonwealth.

As the literary world eagerly awaits the crowning of this year’s victors, attention turns to the future as the 2025 prize prepares to open for submissions on September 1, 2024. With each edition, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize continues to enrich the cultural landscape, showcasing the power of storytelling to transcend borders and unite diverse voices in a shared celebration of creativity.

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