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2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Posted on 11/09/2014
By Commonwealth Foundation
Regional Winners The Shortlist Judges

Overall and Regional Winner, 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi Winning
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, and Romesh Gunesekera, at the announcement of Jenifer as the Overall Winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Kampala, Uganda, June 2014

“This is a dream. For Uganda, once described as a literary desert, it shows how the country’s literary landscape is changing and I am proud to be a part of it. The Commonwealth Short story Prize will help bring attention to Ugandan writing at a global level,” 
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

The Prize announcement and Jennifer’s acceptance speech

Jennifer Makumbi talking with the Chair of the 2014 judging panel, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

Overall Winner and Regional Winner, Africa

Let’s Tell This Story Properly, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda)
Nnameya is the grieving widow when she arrives at Entebbe Airport from Manchester with her husband Kayita’s coffin. But then events take such a dramatic turn that she must relinquish her widowhood and fight.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist, short story writer and poet. Jennifer has a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and her doctoral novel, The Kintu Saga, won the Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013. The novel was published in 2014 under the title Kintu. Jennifer teaches Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is currently working on her second novel, Nnambi.

Other Regional Winners

Regional Winner, Asia
A Day in the Death, Sara Adam Ang (Singapore)
A Day in the Death is a story about someone trying to tell a story. It includes a distressingly un-dramatic suicide, facts and knowledge about Singapore in the early 20th century and the workers who built the city.
Sara Adam Ang, 2014 CSSP Regional WinnerSara Adam Ang is a recent graduate of the National University of Singapore, majoring in History. As an emerging writer keen to make her mark in the literary world, the shortlisting of A Day in the Death, one of her first stories, is a major milestone in her career. She is in the process of seeking out her next writing challenge.

Regional Winner, Canada and Europe
Killing Time, Lucy Caldwell (United Kingdom)
A young girl just turned thirteen tries to take her own life. She swallows down as many paracetamol and baby aspirin tablets as she can and goes downstairs to have dinner with her family. That evening, and in the days that follow, she waits for something to happen, caught between the equally terrifying possibilities that something might, and that nothing will at all.
Lucy Caldwell 2014 CSSP Regional WinnerLucy Caldwell was born in Belfast. She is the author of three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the George Devine Award, the Imison Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Her latest novel, All the Beggars Riding, was selected for Belfast’s and Derry-Londonderry’s One City One Book initiative in 2013. She is currently working on her fourth novel and her debut collection of short stories.

Regional Winner, Caribbean
Sending for Chantal, Maggie Harris (Guyana)
The leaving of children with relatives whilst parents go abroad to seek employment is a familiar story, borne by promises of eventually being ‘sent for’. But what happens when a child never gets sent for? The central question remains, how do we measure achievement, and at what cost is economic migration to displaced and ‘broken’ families?
Maggie Harris, 2014 CSSP Regional WinnerMaggie Harris is a Guyanese-born author who migrated to the UK in 1971. She won the Guyana Prize for Literature in 2000 for her poetry collection, Limbolands (2004). Other collections include From Berbice to Broadstairs (2006), After a Visit to a Botanical Garden (2010) and Sixty Years of Loving (2014). She has written a number of short stories, including the collection Canterbury Tales on Cockcrow Morning (2013), and a memoir, Guyana Kiskadee Girl (2011).

Regional Winner, Pacific
The Dog and the Sea, Lucy Treloar (Australia)
An old man who lives by the sea is kept company by his dog, the fragmentary stories contained in his troubled past, and a small boy who visits each summer.
Lucy Treloar, 2014 CSSP Regional WinnerLucy Treloar is a writer, editor and creative writing teacher working in Australia and in Cambodia, where she has lived for a number of years. Her short fiction has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories 2013, Overland, Sleepers and Seizure. She is the recipient of an Asia link Writer’s Residency and the 2012 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Her novel Salt Creek – currently in development – was recently signed by Picador.

2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Shortlist

2014 CSSP Shortlist

“This year it has been rewarding to see the ambition, skill and imaginations of writers across the Commonwealth displayed in works that cover a dazzling range of subjects. These are stories of rage and of love, of sexual experimentation and adventure. The shortlist provides a glorious ride across continents and into the imaginations of writers whose work illustrates the power of a short story to inform, to challenge and to entertain.”
Ellah Allfrey, Chair, 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Hummingbird, Daniel Anders (Australia)
 A Day in the Death, Sara Adam Ang (Singapore)
Grandmother, Yu-Mei Balasingamchow (Singapore)
Killing Time, Lucy Caldwell (United Kingdom)
Household Gods, Tracy Fells (United Kingdom)
Sending for Chantal, Maggie Harris (Guyana)
Playing the Stringless Guitar, Michael Hunt (Australia)
Ikanre, Adelehin Ijasan (Nigeria)
Rhododendrons in Mist, David Kerkt (New Zealand)
Cowboy, Helen Klonaris (Bahamas)
Let’s Tell This Story Properly, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda)
Monkey Boy, Janine Mikosza (Australia)
Tenure, Julian Novitz (New Zealand)
Miss Annie Cooks Fish, Charmaine Rousseau (Trinidad and Tobago)
All Them Savages, Michelle Sacks (South Africa)
Agnes, Agnes, Agnes, Luiza Sauma (United Kingdom)
On the Other Side, Idrissa Simmonds (Canada)
The Dog and the Sea, Lucy Treloar (Australia)
The Night of Broken Glass, Jack Wang (Canada)

2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Judges

Chair: Ellah Allfrey

Photo Credit: Danielle Silva

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is an editor, critic and broadcaster. The former deputy editor of Granta magazine, she is series editor for the Kwani? Manuscript Prize, the Deputy Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing, and patron of the Etisalat Literature Prize. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Ellah was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry. Twitter: @epwa66

Doreen Baingana

Doreen Baingana, Judge 2014 CSSP, photo credit Jerry Riley
Photo Credit Jerry Riley

Doreen Baingana is the author of Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe (2005), which won the Commonwealth Prize for First Book, Africa region in 2006. She has published two children’s books, Gamba the Gecko wants to Drum (2010) and My Fingers are Stuck (2010), as well as fiction and essays in many anthologies, journals and newspapers. Doreen has worked for Voice of America and Storymoja publishing house in Kenya, she has been Chairperson of FEMRITE, the Uganda Women Writers Association, and taught creative writing in the US, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. Twitter: @dbaing01

Michelle de Kretser
Michelle De Krester, Judge 2014 CSSPMichelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. She has worked as a university tutor, an editor and a book reviewer. She is the author of The Rose Grower, and the award-winning novels The Hamilton Case, which won a regional Commonwealth Prize, The Lost Dog (2012), and Questions of Travel (2012), winner of the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction and the ALS Gold Medal. She lives in Sydney.

Marlon James

Marlon James, Judge 2014 CSSPMarlon James was born in Jamaica. He is the author of the award-winning novels, John Crow’s Devil (2005), which was a Commonwealth Regional winner, and The Book of Night Women (2009). His short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in journals and anthologies including Esquire Magazine, Granta, and the Caribbean Review of Books. James teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, is currently editing an anthology of Caribbean fiction for McSweeneys and completing his third novel. Twitter: @MarlonJames5

Courttia Newland
Courttia Newland, Judge 2014 CSSPCourttia Newland’s first novel, The Scholar, was published in 1997. Further critically acclaimed work includes Society Within (1999) and Snakeskin (2002), The Dying Wish (2006), Music for the Off-Key (2006), and A Book of Blues (2011). He is co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000). A novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published in February 2013. He is an associate lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London. Twitter: @courttianewland

Jeet Thayil
Jeet Thayil, Judge 2014 CSSPJeet Thayil is an Indian poet, novelist, librettist and musician. His four poetry collections include English and These Errors Are Correct (2008), which won the Indian Academy of Letters 2013 award for poetry in English. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (2008). As a musician and librettist, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil. Jeet’s debut novel Narcopolis won the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Twitter: @jeetthayil