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About the Short Story Prize

Posted on 09/09/2014
By Commonwealth Foundation
'I recommend this short story competition to all writers who challenge the continued dominance of Eurocentric literature and consider their works to be as global as they are local.'
Kritika Pandey, overall winner of the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize started in 2012 with the launch of Commonwealth Writers. Free to enter and with a global reach across five continents, the Prize seeks out talented writers and brings stories from new and emerging voices to an international audience. Stories often come from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure and from places that are marked by geographical, geopolitical or economic isolation.
The Prize now attracts between 6,000 and 7,000 entries each year from almost all of the 56 countries of the Commonwealth. It is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction. It is open to citizens from all Commonwealth countries, aged 18 and over. You don’t need an agent, just an internet connection to submit your unpublished story of 2000-5000 words. Entry is always free and stories can be submitted in Bengali, Chinese, Creole, English, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish and the Creole languages of the Commonwealth, as well as in translation into English from any language.
The 2023 prize closed for submissions on 1 November 2022 the prize will open again for submissions on 1 September 2023.
For details of the 2022 shortlist please click here, and here for the 2022 regional winners. The overall winner of the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is Ntsika Kota, who you can learn more about here.
The Prize is judged by an international panel of writers, comprising a chair and five judges, one from each of the Commonwealth regions – Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. The panel select a shortlist of around twenty stories, from which five regional winners are chosen. Each regional winner receives £2,500, and their story is published online on Granta, the magazine of new writing. One of the regional winners is then selected as the overall winner, who receives £5,000 – one of the highest amounts for an international prize for unpublished short stories.

"When we read human stories we come alive in bodies which are not our own,"
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2011 Commonwealth Lecture

Through submission to the Prize, writers also gain access to opportunities to take part in other Commonwealth Writers’s activities, and be featured in Commonwealth Writers’s online magazine, adda.

"Prizes like the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are essential for introducing readers to emerging voices; we’re proud to be one of the first to publish these new talents."
Sigrid Rausing, Editor, Granta