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PRESS RELEASE: Commonwealth Writers Announces Regional Winners for 2015 Short Story Prize

Posted on 28/04/2015
By Commonwealth Foundation

For immediate release: 28 April 2015
Contact Emma D’Costa on +44 20 7747 6328 or; or
Joe Byrde on +44 20 7747 6556 or

Commonwealth Writers announces the regional winners of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The Prize provides a platform for writers from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth to inspire others by bringing compelling short stories to a wider audience. This year unpublished stories were entered by 4,000 writers from the five regions of the Commonwealth. The international judges reflect these regions: Leila Aboulela, (Africa), Bina Shah (Asia), Marina Endicott (Canada and Europe), Fred D’Aguiar (the Caribbean) and Witi Ihimaera (the Pacific).

This year’s Chair, Romesh Gunesekera, said of the winning stories:

‘We had a strong short-list of stories from around the world that excited the judges and provoked a lively, stimulating set of discussions. The judges were looking for well-crafted stories that were compelling and original. The standards were high. We wanted stories that would engage us and make us rethink our notions of form, language and what mattered. The winning stories did all of that and more. Thank you writers.’

From the exuberant tone of ‘King of Settlement 4’, rooted in the language and place of Trinidad, to the beautifully written and evocative ‘Famished Eels’ set in Fiji but which crosses continents, these best of the prize entries show the diversity and range of stories across the Commonwealth.

Events to celebrate the regional winners will be held in local venues and locations, relevant to the individual authors, across the world, including a Chinese restaurant in London, a book store in New Delhi and a literary centre in Minneapolis, USA. The regional winners will compete with each other to become the overall winner, which will be announced in London on 8 September.

2015 Regional winners:

Africa: Lesley Nneka Arimah, ‘Light’ (Nigeria)

Asia: Siddhartha Gigoo, ‘The Umbrella Man’ (India)

Canada and Europe: Jonathan Tel, The Human Phonograph (United Kingdom)

Caribbean: Kevin Jared Hosein, ‘The King of Settlement 4’ (Trinidad and Tobago)

Pacific: Mary Rokonadravu, ‘Famished Eels’ (Fiji)

Further details of the authors and links to their winning stories can be found on the regional winners page.

Commonwealth Writers has a partnership with Granta magazine which each year publishes some of the regional winners on Granta online. The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is part funded by the Sigrid Rausing Trust.

Commonwealth Writers also has an association with the London-based literary and media agency Blake Friedmann, which will work with selected writers identified through the Prize.


Notes to editors

1. For media enquiries please contact Emma D’Costa on +44 20 7747 6328 or or Joe Byrde on +44 20 7747 6556 or

2. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £2,500 and the Overall Winner receives £5,000. Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible. Translators receive additional prize money.

3. Commonwealth Writers
Commonwealth Writers is the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation. Commonwealth Writers was set up in 2012 to inspire, develop and connect writers and storytellers across the world. We believe that well-told stories can help people make sense of events, engage with others and take action to bring about change.

4. The Commonwealth Foundation is a development organisation with an international remit and reach, uniquely situated at the interface between government and civil society. It develops the capacity of civil society to act together and learn from each other to engage with the institutions that shape people’s lives. It strives for more effective, responsive and accountable governance with civil society participation, which contributes to improved development outcomes.

5. Granta is a quarterly literary magazine of new writing. Published in book format, each issue includes stories, essays, memoir, poetry and art centred around a theme. Throughout its long history, Granta has published the most significant writers of our time featuring work by writers including Julian Barnes, Edwidge Danticat, Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie, Santiago Roncagliolo, David Mitchell, Lorrie Moore, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson and more. In recent years, the magazine has expanded to include foreign-language editions – in Spain, Italy, Brazil, Norway, China, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria and Japan.

6. Blake Friedmann
Blake Friedmann is a literary, film and television agency, representing a broad range of writers globally in both fiction and non-fiction. Their focus is on working with the most talented, dynamic and exciting writers across all genres, and the intention is always to represent writers’ careers, rather than individual books or projects, and to sell those writers into as many markets, languages and media platforms as possible.

Blake Friedmann authors have won a wide variety of prestigious prizes, including the Caine Prize, the Commonwealth Prize, the Orange Prize and PEN Awards; and been shortlisted for, among others, the Man Booker Prize, Guardian First Book Prize, Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and the Costa Book Awards. Their books have topped bestseller charts around the world, and continue to regularly appear in the Sunday Times bestseller lists.