The winner of the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been announced. Find out more.

Meet the 2018 Short Story Prize Judges

Posted on 10/10/2017
By Commonwealth Foundation

The 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judging panel is chaired by Sarah Hall. The international judging panel comprises a judge from each of the five regions – Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Each year the judges select five winning writers who share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500.


Chair – Sarah Hall (United Kingdom)

Sarah Hall received a master of letters in creative writing from Scotland’s St. Andrews University and has published five award-winning novels and a collection of short stories, Beautiful Indifference which won the Portico Prize for Fiction 2012 and the Edge Hill short story prize. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s ‘Best Young British Novelists’, and she has won the BBC National Short Story Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has judged a number of prestigious literary awards and prizes including the Man Booker. She has tutored for the Faber Academy, The Guardian, the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing in a variety of establishments in the UK and abroad.

Facebook: @AuthorSarahHall


Africa – Damon Galgut (South Africa)

Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1963. He published his first novel in 1984 and his newest, his eighth, in 2014. His work has been shortlisted for numerous international awards, including the Man Booker Prize (twice), and has been translated into sixteen languages.





Asia – Sunila Galappatti (Sri Lanka)

Sunila Galappatti has worked with other people to tell their stories, as a dramaturg, theatre director and editor.  She started her working life at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle, working with both new and experienced writers for the theatre. Later moving to Sri Lanka, her other home, she has been a Director of the Galle Literary Festival, worked with Raking Leaves on its Open Edit project and is a Trustee of the Gratiaen Prize.  She commissioned and edited the non-fiction section of in its first year.  She is the author of A Long Watch, retelling the memoir of a prisoner of war. .

Twitter: @Sunilagala


Canada and Europe – Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Canada)

Kateri is an Anishnaabe writer of mixed ancestry from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation.  She lives and works at Neyaashiinigmiing, Cape Croker Reserve on the Saugeen Peninsula in southwestern Ontario. Her writing has been published in various anthologies, journals, and magazines in Canada, the US, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, and Germany and in the collection My Heart is a Stray Bullet. She is the founder and managing editor of Kegedonce Press, a publishing house devoted to Indigenous writers.

Twitter: @KateriAkiwenzie



Caribbean – Mark McWatt (Guyana)

Mark McWatt has published three collections of poetry, Interiors (1989), The Language of Eldorado (1994) and The Journey to Le Repentir (2009), the second and third of which were awarded the Guyana Prize for Literature. His first work of fiction, Suspended Sentences (2005), was the winner of a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2006, as well as the Casa de las Américas Prize for best book of Caribbean Literature in English or Creole. He is co-editor (with Stewart Brown) of The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2005).




Pacific – Paula Morris (New Zealand)

Paula Morris is the author of the short story collections Forbidden Cities (2008) and False River (2017); the essay ‘On Coming Home’ (2015); and seven novels, including Rangatira (2011), winner of best work of fiction at both the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards and Ngā Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards. She teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland and is the founder of the Academy of New Zealand Literature.

Twitter: @pjkmorris