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The online community of Commonwealth Writers has grown exponentially in recent years, with our online activity achieving a truly global reach. In this we saw an opportunity: to create a place where writers and readers can talk to each other, across global and geopolitical divides.

This space is now known as adda. In Bengali, adda describes an informal conversation that takes place at length; in Hindi it can be traced back to a ‘perching spot’ for birds, in the Punjab it is a pit stop on long highways where travellers stop and exchange news. Put simply: an adda is a meeting place. It is now Commonwealth Writers’ online gathering of stories.
At adda we publish nonfiction and fiction – whether it takes the form of narrative essays, photo-essays, memoir, short stories, graphic novels or poetry. Alongside nonfiction and fiction we have an “Anomalies” section which offers the occasional quirky rejoinder to stories on the site or in the world. For the present, adda will exist online and will not be available in print form.

We don’t accept unsolicited submissions. Stories are selected through a combination of open calls and commissions. Our commissioning process is simple: we look for varied and complementary material, curating the site in such a way that stories might speak to each other in both form and content. While we will remain responsive to events in the world at large, we will also select stories precisely because we haven’t heard them before – whether as a result of geographical isolation, societal marginalisation or unexpected thinking.

Visit the Adda Stories Website

  • Hot Pot by Jasmine Sealy

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     ‘You is not the first body to wash up at Hot Pot, belly bloat and eyes black like cast iron. Anywhere them got water people going find a way to drown’. Adda is a project of Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Foundation’s cultural initiative and it offers an online gathering of stories. This month we feature a story by the Barbadian author Jasmine Sealy: when a girls body washes up at a local swimming spot in Barbados, her younger sister believes there’s more than a capricious current behind the death.

  • Speaking of Partition by Rita Kothari

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    In the summer of 2014 a panel discussion titled “Partitioned Voices, Divided Tongues?” held in Delhi, invited the panellists to think of “What happens to a language when its land and people are partitioned?” In the organizers’ scheme of things, this comprised Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and Bengali as languages that have undergone “the experience” of […]

  • Luis by Jo-Anne Mason

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    ‘First you don’t use nails, hurricane eat them up and spit them out like little bones in your fried snapper.’ Adda is a project of Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Foundation’s cultural initiative and it offers an online gathering of stories. This month we feature Jo-Anne Mason’s story of living through Hurricane Luis and the devastation it wrought on her island home of Anguilla.

  • Down the Mountain by Sunila Galappatti

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    The first time I heard Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala speak about climbing Mount Everest (Sagarmatha or Chomolungma), it was to a small room crowded with colleagues and friends, at the Women and Media Collective, where Jayanthi started her working life. A fortnight after her return to Sri Lanka from Nepal, newly anointed the first Sri Lankan to […]

  • Ophelia by Breanne Mc Ivor

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    Adda is a project of Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Foundation’s cultural initiative and it offers an online gathering of stories. This month we feature a story about a young actor born to poverty, who falls hopelessly in love.