This email I received as a (failed) entrant indicates that there were 5,081 entries this year; and 21 short listed entries. Regional winners will be announced in May and the overall winner will be named in July.
And FYI: “The Short Story Prize is Commonwealth Writers’ flagship project, attracting entries from almost every single country of the Commonwealth. We appreciate all the entries we receive: not only do we celebrate the winners and shortlisted writers, but a number of entries also feature in our anthologies and on our sister website, adda. We also run a series of creative writing workshops related to the Short Story Prize, and will be sure to contact you if any of these are organized for your area. Please do keep writing and sending us your entries.” Their email address is: email@example.com
So the email links to the actual news re winners – and right away I have to shout out Barbados’ Shakirah Bourne and Alexia Tolas of the Bahamas (both of whom I participated in a Commonwealth Writers workshop with last year – though I knew Shakirah before).
They are two of the four from the Caribbean still in the running – Shakirah for ‘A Hurricane & The Price of Fish’ and Alexia for ‘Granma’s Porch’; the other two are Guyana’s Kevin Garbaran for ‘The Ol’ Higue on Market Street’ and Trinidad and Tobago’s Rashad Hosein for and ‘Oats’ by Rashad Hosein.
There are short listed writers from across the Commonwealth and you can read the full list here. Of the list internationally acclaimed author and 2019 prize judge Caryl Philips (whose roots are in St. Kitts-Nevis) said, “The vitality and importance of the short story form is abundantly clear in this impressive shortlist of stories from around the world. These authors have dared to imagine into the lives of an amazingly wide range of characters and their stories explore situations that are both regional and universal. Almost as impressive as the number of entrants and the quality of the shortlist, is the amount of work that the panel of judges have invested in this process. They have read carefully, debated with great sensitivity, and been mindful of cultural traditions as they have collectively reached their decision. Compared to many literary prizes, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is still young. However, with each passing year the prize gains importance within the literary world. It offers a unique opportunity to read and think across borders, and to connect imaginations from around the globe. It has been a great honour to be a part of the judging of the 2019 prize.”
The announcement gives some teasers; I’ll just share the blurbs of the Caribbean ones:
“The unlikely romance between a no-nonsense market vendor and a retired swindler has dire consequences on the price of fish during hurricane season.” – A Hurricane & The Price of Fish
“Folktales and Jumbie stories take a dark turn after young Devika decides to investigate the rumours of an Ol’ Higue living in her village.” – The Ol’ Higue on Market Street
“Fearing for his life, Forceripe Frederick obeys the blind obeah man after breaking his window. His request: read to him. This is a story about an old man who keeps oats in his pocket and a troubled teen who learns why.” – Oats
“Abandoned by her father on her grandmother’s porch, Helena fumbles along the delicate border between adolescence and adulthood, guided by the past traumas of her friends and family and her troubled first love.” – Granma’s Porch
Congrats to all the winners; Caribbean, come through.
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