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Sharma Taylor in Conversation with Alexia Tolas

Posted on 07/07/2022
By Commonwealth Foundation

Listen to the conversation between Sharma Taylor and Alexia Tolas, both shortlisted for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, to mark the launch of Sharma’s debut novel, ‘What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You’, published by Virago.

Join Sharma and Alexia as they discuss Sharma’s new novel, how she juggles her work-writing balance, the importance of support, submitting to prizes, and the process of developing her 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlisted story, ‘Son Son’s Birthday into her debut novel.



To order ‘What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You’, click here.


Sharma Taylor

Sharma is a Jamaican writer and lawyer living between Jamaica and Barbados. She holds a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, obtained on a Commonwealth Scholarship. She has won the Bocas Lit Fest’s Johnson and Amoy Achong Writer’s Prize, the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award and Wasafiri Queen Mary New Writing Prize. She has been shortlisted four times for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2018, 2020, 2021, 2022). Her 2018 shortlisted story ‘Son Son’s Birthday’ developed into her debut novel, ‘What a Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You‘ (2022, Virago, UK).

Summary of her forthcoming novel:
In mid-198os Jamaica, 18 years after giving up her baby boy to a childless American couple, housemaid Dinah is convinced the boy who walks into her life, Apollo, is her long lost son. This encounter sets off a chain of events that ripple with love and violence, shaking their lives and lives in the community around them.

Alexia Tolas

Alexia Tolas is a Bahamian writer whose stories explore small-island life and local mythology to convey realities silenced by tradition and trauma. Her writing has been featured in Womanspeak, Granta, Windrush, adda, and The Carribean Writer. In 2019, she won the Commonwealth Short Story Regional Prize for the Caribbean and was shortlisted for the 2020 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. Her story, ‘Have Mercy’, was shortlisted for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She is currently working on her first novel.