2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

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

Overall and Regional Winners, 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Eliza Robertson, Sharon Millar, Overall Winners 2013 CSSP
Eliza Robertson and Sharon Millar, Overall Winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize at Hay Festival, Wales, May 2013.
Listen to the announcement of the 2013 winners by UK novelist John Le Carré.

“It can be incredibly rehabilitative, that’s certainly one of the magic components of creative writing”, Eliza Robertson interviewed at the 2013 Hay Festival

“Who has control of a woman’s body, particularly in areas like the Caribbean?”, Sharon Millar interviewed at the 2013 Hay Festival.

Read the regional winners’ prize winning stories on Granta

In 2013 Commonwealth Writers continued its partnership with Granta magazine to give regional winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be published by Granta online. You can read them here on Granta.

Overall and Regional Winner, Canada and Europe

We Walked On Water, Eliza Robertson (Canada)

After the death of his twin sister during the Ironman competition in British Columbia, the boy decides to compete again.

Eliza Robertson, Overall Winner, 2013CSSPEliza Robertson was born in Vancouver, Canada and grew up on Vancouver Island. She has an MA in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia, where she received the Man Booker Scholarship and the Curtis Brown Prize for best writer. In Canada, she has won three national fiction contests and has been twice longlisted for the Journey Prize. Most recently, she was a finalist for the 2013 CBC Short Story Prize. She lives in Victoria where she is completing her first novel and story collection.

Overall and Regional Winner, Caribbean

The Whale House, Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)
As a woman recovers from a miscarriage, it resurrects an old conflict and a long kept secret. Bush medicine, teenage sexuality, and difficult moral choices culminate in this uniquely Trinidadian story, one of marriage and the secrets we keep from the ones closest to us.

Sharon Millar. Regional Winner 2013 CSSPSharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer who is particularly inspired by the landscape of her homeland and her work touches on issues that affect her as a Trinidadian citizen and as a woman. The worlds of her stories are occupied by protagonists who struggle with moral issues, crime, illness, loyalty, betrayal, and all the other messy things that make up a life. Writing from a Caribbean island here and now allows her to illuminate complications that lie beneath the surface of a young state trying to move forward as a cohesive society.

Other Regional Winners

 All Regional Winners, CSSP2013

Regional Winner, Africa

The New CustomersJulian Jackson (South Africa)
In a South Africa still riven by apartheid, a chance encounter in a small town bar ensues when an English speaking urban visitor finds himself in the midst of a scene of racial aggression between an Afrikaans farmer and local men.

Jullian Jackson, Regional Winner 2013CSSPJulian Jackson is a lawyer who was raised in England, Germany and South Africa. In 2003 he founded a legal practice in South Africa to facilitate investment into sub-Saharan Africa. Julian has written in magazines and journals on travel, politics and philosophy. Apart from writing and his legal work, his interests include jurisprudence, in particular the relationship between individual autonomy, freedom and legal rules.

Regional Winner, Asia

The Sarong-Man In The Old House, And An Incubus For A Rainy Night, Michael Mendis (Sri Lanka)
The old house is empty but for Wijey and an assortment of souvenirs of an endless life hiding in shadowy places. A storm after a long spell of dryness stirs the smell-memory of rain-on-dust: taking him back to a forgotten night of innocence.

Michael Mendis, Regional Winner 2013 CSSPMichael Mendis is an unpublished writer currently studying law at the University of Colombo. Educated at a Catholic boys’ school in Colombo, Michael is the fourth in a family of five children. He likes dogs, debating, and night-time Colombo. More of his unpublished writing can be found at oilmanstreet.wordpress.com.

Regional Winner, Pacific

Things With Faces, Zoe Meager (New Zealand)
Intangible keepsakes– sounds, images, feelings – piece together the memory of a childhood. From a wild landscape, a creature comes forth to live with people, while in return a father is swallowed whole, disappearing past the edges of the known world. As a family lives its life, each learns what it is to seek comfort and to love fiercely, and that those are instincts of not only humans, but other animals too.

Zoe Meager, Regional Winner 2013 CSSPZoë Meager grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, and completed an undergraduate degree in anthropology and gender studies at the University of Otago, before going on to complete a Masters in Sociology from the University of Auckland. She worked variously as a public servant, research assistant, and English language teacher before returning to the University of Auckland and graduating with a Masters in Creative Writing in 2012. Her stories often play up the artifice of fictional worlds, and explore liminal emotions and states, especially the human-animal conundrum.

2013 Shortlisted writers 

Not For Publication, Rachel Bush (New Zealand)

A Killing In The Sun, Dilman Dila (Uganda)

Normal, Susan Everett (United Kingdom)

Chutney, Debz Hobbs-Wyatt (United Kingdom)

Fatima Saleh, Alexander Ikawah (Kenya)

The New Customers, Julian Jackson (South Africa)

Notes From The Ruins, Anushka Jasraj (India)

A Good Friday, Barbara Jenkins (Trinidad and Tobago)

Anthonya’s Baby Shower On Camperdown Road, A.L. Major (Bahamas)

Mango Summer, Janice Lynn (Bahamas)

Things With Faces, Zoe Meager (New Zealand)

The Sarong-Man In The Old House, And An Incubus For A Rainy Night, Michael Mendis (Sri Lanka)

The Whale House, Sharon Millar (Trinidad & Tobago)

No War Is Worth Debating, Tobenna Nwosu (Nigeria)

Take Me Home United Road, Sally-Ann Partridge (South Africa)

Mortal Sins, Sinead Roarty (Australia)

We Walked on Water, Eliza Robertson (Canada)

Tug Of War, Deborah Rogers (New Zealand)

Raven, Tom Williams (Australia)

2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Judges

Chair: Razia Iqbal
Currently, Razia Iqbal works as a Special correspondent and Presenter for BBC news; she is one of the main presenters of BBC World Service’s flag ship current affairs programme, Newshour. She also presents Talking Books for BBC World TV and the BBC news channel: a half hour interview programme with leading writers. She also presents documentaries and interview programmes on Radio 4 and World Service. Before that she was the BBC Arts correspondent for seven years.

Tash Aw
Tash Aw, Judge 2013 CSSPTash Aw grew up in Malaysia and moved to Britain to attend university. He is the author of three novels, The Harmony Silk Factory (2005), Map of the Invisible World (2009) and Five Star Billionaire (2013). His work has won the Whitbread First Novel Award and a Commonwealth Writers Prize, and been translated into 23 languages.

Elise Dillsworth
Elise Dillsworth, Judge 2013 CSSPElise Dillsworth is a literary agent and set up the Elise Dillsworth Agency (www.elisedillsworthagency.com) in 2012. Based in London, the agency represents literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction, with a keen aim to reflect writing that is international. Previously she was a commissioning editor at Virago Press, an imprint of Little Brown Book Group. She co-founded the Diversity in Publishing Network (Dipnet), which ran from 2005 to 2011 and was established to promote wider diversity in all areas of publishing.

Cresantia Frances Koya
Cresentia Frances Koya, Judge 2013 CSSPCresantia Frances Koya is a writer, artist, editor, academic and spoken word performer from Fiji. She is a member of the Niu Waves Writers’ Collective and her first collection of poetry is titled Of Schizophrenic Voices. In 2008, she founded the Fiji Emerging Women Writer’s Group and Kalamwasa: Ocean of Ink Writing Initiative. She co-curated the first Pacific wide women’s exhibition Vasu: Pacific Women of Power and co-edited its catalogue. She started the poetry chain ‘After The Tsunami’: a lament responding in poetry to the last section of an email from American Samoan Writer Sia Figel. 18 Pacific writers contributed to the running poem which featured on BBC’s Have Your Say in 2009.

Oonya Kempadoo
Oonya Kempadoo, Judge 2013 CSSPOonya Kempadoo, a novelist and social development researcher, has worked for most of her life in various Caribbean islands and currently lives in Grenada. Her first novel, Buxton Spice (1998), was long-listed for the Orange Prize and translated into six languages. Her second novel Tide Running won a Casa De Las Americas 2002 prize, was also well received on both sides of the Atlantic. Kempadoo was named a ‘Great Talent for the 21st Century’ by the Orange Prize judges and both books were nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards.

DW Wilson
DW Wilson Judge 2013 CSSPD.W. Wilson was born and raised in the small towns of the Kootenay Valley, British Columbia. He is the recipient of the University of East Anglia’s inaugural MAN Booker Prize Scholarship – the most prestigious award available to students in the MA programme – and the 2011 BBC Short Story Prize. His stories have appeared in literary magazines across Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, including the Malahat ReviewGrain, and Southword.