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2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Posted on 09/09/2014
By Commonwealth Foundation
Regional Winners The Shortlist Judges

 Overall and Regional Winner, 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize


Emma Martin, Regional Winner, Pacific, was announced as the Overall Winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize at Hay Festival UK on 8 June 2012 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“It is a wonderful and unexpected honour to win this prize. Writing can be a solitary business, so to receive any award is immensely encouraging. But the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is especially meaningful to me – I couldn’t be more grateful to Commonwealth Writers for welcoming me into its global community.”
Emma Martin

Watch our interview with Emma Martin

“There were so many brilliant short stories on our shortlist but Two Girls in a Boat rose to the top as it fulfilled the judges’ brief that the winning entry have linguistic flair, originality, depth and daring. The story was chosen for its gorgeous, elegant and spare writing. It is also great that this prize, has discovered Emma Martin, who has not yet published a book, and brought her to an international audience. With her considerable talent we hope to see more of her work in the future.” Bernardine Evaristo, Chair, 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize
In 2012 Commonwealth Writers partnered with Granta magazine to give the overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be edited and published by Granta online.

Overall and Regional Winner, Pacific

Two Girls in a Boat, Emma Martin (New Zealand)

Emma Martin grew up in Dunedin. She studied philosophy at the University of Otago, later accepting a Commonwealth Scholarship to the UK. She started writing fiction in mid-life, completing an MA in Creative Writing at the Victoria University of Wellington in 2010. Her stories and essays have since been published in literary journals and anthologies in New Zealand and the UK. She lives in Wellington with her partner and two children, and is working on a collection of short stories.


Other Regional Winners

All Regional Winners, CSSP2012

“The five regional winning stories this year rose to the top and are the result of vigorous debate among the judges. Our final choices encompass range, depth, beauty, unpredictability and re-readability. These short stories will take you on a journey that spans cultures, eras, generations, and diverse ways of being and seeing. To read them is to inhabit other worlds.”
Bernardine Evaristo

Regional Winner, Africa

Morrison Okoli (1955-2010), Jekwu Anyaegbuna (Nigeria)
Jekwu Anyaegbuna, Regional Winner 2012 CSSPJekwu Anyaegbuna was raised and educated in Nigeria where he qualified as a chartered accountant. He was shortlisted by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the Farafina Trust International Creative Writers’ Programme. A graduate of the University of Ilorin, he writes both poetry and prose. His work has been widely published, or will be published, in literary journals in the United States and the UK. Jekwu lives, works and writes in Lagos where he has completed a manuscript of short stories.

Regional Winner, Asia 

Radio Story, Anushka Jasraj (India)
Anushka Jasraj, Regional Winner 2012 CSSPAnushka Jasraj writes short stories that often explore questions of identity and inheritance. Her influences include Wong Kar Wai and Anna Akhmatova. She has a bachelor’s degree in film production from New York University, and has worked on various independent films. She lives in Bombay, and is working on a novella based on an apocryphal story about Franz Kafka.

Regional Winner, Caribbean

The Dolphin Catcher, Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)
Diana McCaulay, Regional Winner 2012 CSSPDiana McCaulay is an award winning Jamaican writer and a lifelong resident of its capital city Kingston. Here novels include, Dog-Heart (March 2010) and Huracan (July 2012), published by Peepal Tree Press in the United Kingdom. Both novels met with critical acclaim and have broken local publishing records. Dog-Heart won a Gold Medal in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s National Creative Writing Awards (2008), was shortlisted for the Guyana Prize (2011), the IMPAC Dublin Award (2012) and the Saroyan Prize for International Writing (2012).

Regional Winner, Canada and Europe

The Ghost Marriage, Andrea Mullaney (Scotland)
Andrea Mullaney, Regional Winner 2012 CSSPAndrea Mullaney is a journalist, university tutor and writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. She has been the TV Critic of The Scotsman newspaper since 2006 and has written for many other publications. She has had stories published in Gutter, Algebra (Tramway Theatre journal), Fractured West and A Thousand Cranes (anthology in aid of the Red Cross’ Japanese tsunami appeal), among others, and has performed her work in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paris.

2012 Shortlisted writers

2012 CSSP Shortlist

Morrison Okoli (1955-2010), Jekwu Anyaegbuna (Nigeria)

Flight, Jayne Bauling (South Africa)

The Queen’s Blessing, Edyth Bulbring (South Africa)

Devil Star, Hazel Campbell (Jamaica)

Brothers, Adrienne Frater (New Zealand)

Like a Heart Maybe, but Cold, Chris Hill (UK)

The False RiverNick Holdstock (UK)

Radio Story, Anushka Jasraj (India)

RushNic Low (Australia)

Elbow, Khadija Magardie (South Africa)

Two Girls in a Boat, Emma Martin (New Zealand)

Glory, Janice Lynn Mather (The Bahamas)

The Dolphin Catcher, Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)

Friends, Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)

The Ghost Marriage, Andrea Mullaney (UK)

If These Walls had Ears, Carl Nixon (New Zealand)

Next Full Moon We’ll Release Juno, Bridget Pitt (South Africa)

The Crane, Sarah Quigley (New Zealand)

Drums, Mahesh Rao (UK)

Ammulu, Poile Sengupta (India)

Another Dull Day, Sreejith Sukumaran (India)


2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Judges

Chair: Bernardine Evaristo

Bernadine Evaristo, Chair 2012 CSSP (version2)Bernardine Evaristo is the author of six books including: Hello Mum (2010); Lara (2009); Blonde Roots (2008); Soul Tourists (2005); The Emperor’s Babe (2001). She co-edited poetry anthology Ten, with Daljit Nagra (2010); Wasafiri – Black Britain: Beyond Definition with Karen McCarthy Woolf (2010), and the British Council anthology NW15 (2007) with Maggie Gee. She was made an MBE in 2009.

Urvashi Butalia
Urvashi Butalia, Judge CSSP 2012Urvashi Butalia is a writer and publisher. Co-founder of India’s first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women, she is now the director of Zubaan Books, which is an imprint of Kali. She co-edited In Other Words: New Writing by Indian Women (1994) and her books include Making a Difference: Feminist Publishing in the South (1995), Women and Right Wing Movements: Indian Experiences (1995), and Speaking Peace: Women’s Voices from Kashmir (2002). In 1998 she wrote the award-winning The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India.

Craig Cliff
CCraig-Cliffraig Cliff is the author of the novel The Mannequin Makers (2013), described by The New Zealand Listener as “tremendous, darkly entertaining and original from start to finish,” and the short story collection, A Man Melting (2011) which won Best First Book in the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Cliff writes a column for the Dominion Post about his double life as a writer and public servant in Wellington, New Zealand, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Billy Kahora
Billy KahoraBilly Kahora is the Managing Editor of the Kenyan literary journal Kwani?. He has edited five issues of Kwani and numerous Kwani Trust publications including Kenya Burning and Nairobi 24. He is also an Associate Editor of the Chimurenga Chronic. His writings have been published in Granta Online, McSweeneys, InternazionaleKwani?Chimurenga and Vanity Fair. His short story, Treadmill Love, was highly commended by the 2007 Caine Prize judges. He has written one book of creative nonfiction, The True Story of David Munyakei (2009), as well as the scripts for the 2010 film Soul Boy and Nairobi Half Life (2012).

Nicholas Laughlin
Nicholas Laughlin, Judge CSSP 2012Nicholas Laughlin is the editor of The Caribbean Review of Books, programme director of the Bocas Lit Fest and a writer with a particular interest in Caribbean literature, art and culture. His reviews, essays, and poems have appeared in a number of journals and books. He is also a director of Alice Yard, a contemporary arts space and collaborative based in Port of Spain. He was born and has always lived in Trinidad.

Lisa Moore
Lisa Moore, Judge CSSP 2012Lisa Moore lives in St. Johns, New Foundland. Lisa has written two collections of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness (2005) and Open (2007), and two novels, Alligator (2007) and February (2011). She has edited The Penguin Anthology of Canadian Short Fiction by Women, and co-edited Great Expectations: 24 True Stories about Childbirth (2008). Open and Alligator were shortlisted for the Giller Prize, and Alligator won the Commonwealth Prize for the Canadian and Caribbean Region, and was long-listed for the Orange Prize. February and Open were short-listed for the Winterset Award, and February was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.