The online community of Commonwealth Writers has grown exponentially in recent years, with our online activity achieving a truly global reach. In this we saw an opportunity: to create a place where writers and readers can talk to each other, across global and geopolitical divides.

This space is now known as adda. In Bengali, adda describes an informal conversation that takes place at length; in Hindi it can be traced back to a ‘perching spot’ for birds, in the Punjab it is a pit stop on long highways where travellers stop and exchange news. Put simply: an adda is a meeting place. It is now Commonwealth Writers’ online gathering of stories.
At adda we publish nonfiction and fiction – whether it takes the form of narrative essays, photo-essays, memoir, short stories, graphic novels or poetry. Alongside nonfiction and fiction we have an “Anomalies” section which offers the occasional quirky rejoinder to stories on the site or in the world. For the present, adda will exist online and will not be available in print form.

We don’t accept unsolicited submissions. Stories are selected through a combination of open calls and commissions. Our commissioning process is simple: we look for varied and complementary material, curating the site in such a way that stories might speak to each other in both form and content. While we will remain responsive to events in the world at large, we will also select stories precisely because we haven’t heard them before – whether as a result of geographical isolation, societal marginalisation or unexpected thinking.

Visit the Adda Stories Website

  • The Brief Insignificant History of Peter Abraham Stanhope by Mary Rokonadravu

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    At 11.42 pm on 1 November, 2016, Peter Abraham Stanhope sat at his family’s old mahogany dining table and slit his wrists. He had folded three clean bath towels to place his hands upon so as to not make a mess. He watched the news first; switched on to Fiji One Television crackling against the […]

  • Gypsy in the Moonlight by Caroline Gill

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    “I wish I had amnesia so I could forget Sally Burry.”Adda is a project of Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Foundation’s cultural initiative and it offers an online gathering of stories. This month we feature a story by Caroline Gill: a moon-bright night, the heady scent of jasmine and a childhood song conspire to disquiet the memories of an older white woman as she revisits the Caribbean island village where she was born and raised.

  • Echolocation by Sarah Jackson

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    Standing in the shade of a lime tree on a hot dusty afternoon, the boy waited for the bell to toll. He heard the bailiff cough and shuffle his papers through the open window across the market square. Saint Étienne’s rang, sending out waves like the ripples from a dead-weight dropped in the middle of […]

  • Hot Pot by Jasmine Sealy

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     ‘You is not the first body to wash up at Hot Pot, belly bloat and eyes black like cast iron. Anywhere them got water people going find a way to drown’. Adda is a project of Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Foundation’s cultural initiative and it offers an online gathering of stories. This month we feature a story by the Barbadian author Jasmine Sealy: when a girls body washes up at a local swimming spot in Barbados, her younger sister believes there’s more than a capricious current behind the death.

  • Speaking of Partition by Rita Kothari

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    In the summer of 2014 a panel discussion titled “Partitioned Voices, Divided Tongues?” held in Delhi, invited the panellists to think of “What happens to a language when its land and people are partitioned?” In the organizers’ scheme of things, this comprised Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and Bengali as languages that have undergone “the experience” of […]