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2012 Shortlist



‘Morrison Okoli (1955-2010)’, Jekwu Anyaegbuna (Nigeria)

Jekwu Anyaegbuna was raised and educated in Nigeria where he qualified as a chartered accountant. He was shortlisted by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for the Farafina Trust International Creative Writers’ Programme. A graduate of the University of Ilorin, he writes both poetry and prose; and his work has been widely published, or will be published, in literary journals in the United States and the UK including Ambit, Orbis, Word Riot, Other Poetry, The Journal, Bow-Wow Shop, Eclectica Magazine, Atticus Review, Yuan Yang Journal, The Talon Magazine, Dark Lady Poetry, Asinine Poetry, Vox Poetica, Breadcrumb Scabs, Haggard and Halloo, New Black Magazine, Pattaya Poetry Review, Dcomp Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, Obsession, Black Heart Magazine and many other places. He hates mosquitoes and sometimes wonders whether they are domestic or wild animals. Jekwu lives, works and writes in Lagos where he has completed a manuscript of short stories. He is currently at work on his first novel.


‘Flight’, Jayne Bauling (South Africa)

Jayne Bauling writes fiction and poetry.  Her Young Adult novels have been awarded the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa and the Maskew Miller Longman  Literature Award.  She also won the inaugural African Writing Prize for Flash Fiction with her story Settling.  Her adult and youth short stories have been published in a number of South African anthologies.  Her poetry has been broadcast on the SABC’s SAfm and published in a number of international literary journals.  She has won poetry awards from SAfm and People Opposing Women Abuse.


‘The Queen’s Blessing’, Edyth Bulbring (South Africa)

Edyth Bulbring was born in Boksburg and grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She attended the University of Cape Town where she did a BA and edited the University newspaper Varsity. She worked as a journalist for fifteen years and was political correspondent at the Sunday Times covering the constitutional negotiations and first democratic elections.  After completing her MBA at Wits University in 1999, she was a project manager for a few years before quitting corporate life. She is the author of The Club, which was published by Jonathan Ball Publishers in September 2008, and five young adult novels: The Summer of Toffie and Grummer (Oxford University Press, February 2008); Cornelia Button and the Globe of Gamagion (Jacana, April 2008); Pops and The Nearly Dead (Penguin, March 2010); Melly, Mrs Ho and Me (Penguin, September 2010) and Melly, Fatty and Me (Penguin, September 2011). She lives in Johannesburg.


‘Devil Star’Hazel Campbell (Jamaica)

Hazel Dorothy Campbell lives in Kingston, Jamaica. She is a published author of both adult and children’s stories. Now retired, she freelances as an editor and teaches an occasional outreach writing class at the Philip Sherlock Centre at the University of the West Indies at Mona.Her titles include Singerman (Peepal Tree Press), My Darling You (ebook), and six books for children published in Jamaica by Carlong Publishers (Caribbean) Ltd and LMH Book Publishers. In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for her ‘contribution to children’s literature and the encouragement of new writers in the island’. She has won other awards for writing for children (National Book Development Council and the Book Development Association of Jamaica).


‘Brothers’, Adrienne Frater (New Zealand)

Having lived all over New Zealand, Adrienne Frater now lives in Nelson, in sight of sea and mountains. After a career in education, in the new millennium she decided to write. In 2002 she moved south so she could attend a writing course and lived in a motor-home. Each weekend she explored the region. Many of these settings have since appeared in her stories.  By the end of the course she was on her way. She writes for both adults and children and her work has been published or broadcast in New Zealand and overseas. In 2004 she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia and in 2010 she donated the profits from a collection of her short fiction to the Cancer Society. “These days writing is my life-line. It has opened my eyes and ears to so much I would normally miss. Yes, for me, writing is fun. “


‘Like a Heart Maybe, but Cold’, Chris Hill (UK)

Chris Hill works in communications as media officer for UK children’s charity WellChild and has a background in regional newspaper journalism as a reporter, news editor and editor. He lives in Gloucester and is married with two sons. Chris has had some success as a short story writer winning a number of prizes including the Bridport Prize. His first novel Song of the Sea God will be published by Skylight Press this summer. ‘Song of the Sea God’ is a darkly comic tale of a stranger who arrives on an island off the coast of northern England and attempts to convince the local people he is a god. It has been described as: “A visionary and delightfully bizarre novel which reads like the gospel for a neophyte religion spawning in the sea foam among strange goings-on.” The novel was shortlisted (as The Longing) for the Daily Telegraph Novel in a Year prize and the Yeovil Prize for Literature. http://songoftheseagod.wordpress.com/ 


‘The False River’,
 Nick Holdstock (UK)

Nick Holdstock’s work has appeared in The Southern Reviewn+1 and the London Review of Books. He is author of The Tree That Bleeds, a non-fiction book about China, and the recipient of a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship.



‘Radio Story’, Anushka Jasraj (India)

Anushka writes short stories that often explore questions of identity and inheritance. Her influences include Wong Kar Wai and Anna Akhmatova. She has a bachelor’s degree in film production from NYU, and has worked on various independent films. She currently lives in Bombay, and is working on a novella based on an apocryphal story about Franz Kafka. Her twitter handle is @nostalgia_vu.


Rush’Nic Low (Australia)

Nic Low is a writer and installation artist of Ngai Tahu Maori and European descent. He was born in New Zealand and currently divides his time between a Melbourne sharehouse and a bush retreat in rural Victoria. Nic’s short fiction, essays and criticism have been published in various Australian and New Zealand magazines, journals, newspapers and suspect anthologies. In 2011 he was awarded the GREW Prize for non-fiction for his writing on the Christchurch earthquake. He holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. As an installation artist Nic has exhibited at festivals across Australia, tackling public-space politics, suburban and international surveillance and the conceptual mapping of climate change. He works with video, sound, plants, water and, often, his own house. In addition to writing and art-making, Nic runs the international writing program at the Asialink institute, developing tours, publishing projects and multi-arts collaborations across the Asian region. His latest project is a six-writer tour across India by train, accompanied by an ingenious pop-up travelling library.


‘Elbow’, Khadija Magardie (South Africa)

Khadija Magardie was born in Johannesburg, a city she is pained to be separated from. Currently living in the Middle East , she is a journalist by trade but a writer by aspiration. This is her first attempt at fiction.
Khadija is inspired by the short story traditions of the south of Africa – of Bessie Head, Doris Lessing, Dan Jacobson, Ahmed Essop, Don Mattera, and of Nadine Gordimer, who wrote that ‘nothing factual that I write or say will ever be as truthful as my fiction.’  Khadija is currently working on her first novel.


‘Two Girls in a Boat’, Emma Martin (New Zealand)

Emma Martin grew up in Dunedin. She studied philosophy at the University of Otago, later accepting a Commonwealth Scholarship to the UK. She started writing fiction in mid-life, completing an MA in Creative Writing at the Victoria University of Wellington in 2010. Her stories and essays have since been published in literary journals and anthologies in New Zealand and the UK. She lives in Wellington with her partner and two children, and is working on a collection of short stories.


‘Glory’, Janice Lynn Mather (The Bahamas)

Janice Lynn Mather is a Bahamian writer.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, and has published in anthologies including Tongues Of The OceanA Sudden And Violent Change, and We Have A Voice.  Her poetry was shortlisted for the Small Axe 2011 literary competition.  She spends much of her time abroad, but will always be a Nassau gal. 


‘The Dolphin Catcher’Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)

Diana McCaulay is a Jamaican writer and environmental activist; she is the founder and CEO of the Jamaica Environment Trust.  She was six when her first writing was published – and reviewed in the West Indian Review.  At seven, she wrote a newspaper series for Children’s Own, published by the Gleaner.  When she was sixteen, one of her stories won third place in The Writer’s short story competition.  Marriage, motherhood and life then intervened and Diana wrote nothing for publication for twenty years.

In 1991, her story, ‘The Mango, the Ackee and the Breadfruit’, won the Lifestyle Short Story competition and in 1994, she began writing a popular opinion column for the Gleaner. Her short fiction has been published by The Caribbean Writer and in 2008, her story, ‘The Blue Tarpaulin’, won The David Hough Literary Prize awarded by editorial board of The Caribbean Writer.  After two decades of writing books in secret, her first novel, Dog-Heart won a Gold Medal in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s National Creative Writing Competition in 2008 and was published by Peepal Tree Press in March 2010.    Her second novel, Huracan, will also be published by Peepal Tree Press in July 2012.


‘Friends’, Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)

“Gardening in the rain, watering at dusk with a glass of red wine and making up new recipes that I can never reproduce are just some of the things that I like to do. I live under a large tree in a nostalgic old house with my husband and my daughter, three dogs and two cats.

I write about the things that I see in front of me, the moral choices that good people are forced to make. I wrote “Friends” at a time when kidnapping was endemic on the island. Such a terrible crime for such a small island where it’s said that everyone knows where you come from and who you are. This was the point that I was interested in exploring. On small islands, the tiniest things can trigger explosive consequences. I do feel a certain moral obligation to write against the “tourist-brochure” stereotype of the Caribbean, a duty to document what’s happening in this space at this time.”

Sharon Millar has an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has just completed her first collection of short stories, The Dragonfly’s Tail and other Stories. 


‘The Ghost Marriage’, Andrea Mullaney (UK)

Andrea Mullaney is a journalist, university tutor and writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. She has been the TV Critic of The Scotsman newspaper since 2006 and has written for many other publications, but has only been brave enough to show her fiction to anyone quite recently. She has had stories published in Gutter, Algebra (Tramway Theatre journal), Fractured West and A Thousand Cranes (anthology in aid of the Red Cross’ Japanese tsunami appeal), among others, and has performed her work in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paris.

Since writing The Ghost Marriage, she has been working on developing it into a novel, which has involved much fascinating research into 19th Century Shanghai, sea voyages and the Opium Wars. “Being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is a great encouragement to keep going!” 


‘If These Walls had Ears’, Carl Nixon (New Zealand)

Carl Nixon lives in Christchurch, New Zealand He has a Masters in Religious Studies from the University of Canterbury. He is a full-time writer of plays, short stories and novels.

His collection of short stories, Fish “n’ Chip Shop Song was published in early 2006 by Random House New Zealand, and immediately went to number one on the NZ best selling fiction list. It was short listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, 2007, Best first book Southeast Asia and South Pacific Region. His stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, and over a dozen have been broadcast by Radio New Zealand.

He has published two novels, Rocking Horse Road (Random House NZ, 2008) and Settlers’ Creek (Random House NZ, 2010). Rocking Horse Road is to be published in German by Weidle Verlag in July 2012. His third novel is due to be published in 2013. It is a historical romance called The Virgin and the Whale.

His theatrical scripts include: an adaptation of Lloyd Jones’ novel The Book of Fame, and an adaptation of Nobel Prize winner J M Coetzee’s novel Disgrace for Auckland Theatre CompanyCarl has completed a new play, a comedy, commissioned for the Court Theatre, called, The Birthday Boy, and is currently working on a drama for the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, The War Artist. 


‘Next Full Moon We’ll Release Juno’, Bridget Pitt (South Africa)

Bridget Pitt is a Zimbabwe born South African writer. Her first published writing was for a newspaper called Grassroots, which was used by Cape Town black communities as an organizing tool in the anti-apartheid struggles during the 1980s; she also produced media for a number of organizations and ran workshops in media skills. She later moved onto writing educational material for NGO’s, school text books, poetry and fiction. She has published poetry in The Thinker magazine, short stories, and two adult novels: Unbroken Wing and The Unseen Leopard, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2011. She is passionate about nature and art and runs workshops using both of these to help people heal, grow themselves, and to find inspiration and direction in their work. 


‘The Crane’Sarah Quigley (New Zealand)

Born in New Zealand, Sarah Quigley is a fiction writer, poet, and reviewer. She has a D.Phil. in English Literature from St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. Her work has been widely published in New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Germany, and she has received several high-profile awards. Since winning the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer’s Residency in 2000, she has lived and worked in Berlin.

She has published several novels, two collections of short fiction and poetry, and a creative writing manual. Recent novels include Shot and Fifty Days (Virago). Her new novel, The Conductor, tells the story of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony and its historic performance during the Siege of Leningrad in 1942. The Conductor was Number One Bestseller in New Zealand for 20 weeks. It will be published in the UK in July by Head of Zeus as their lead fiction title, and will also be published in Germany, France, Italy, and Canada in 2012/13. Quigley is represented by Simon Trewin at United Agents, London. 


‘Drums’, Mahesh Rao (UK)

Mahesh Rao was born and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya.  He studied politics and economics at the University of Bristol and law at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics.  In the UK he has worked as a lawyer, academic researcher and bookseller.  His work was shortlisted for the 2010 Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest.  He has completed his first novel and is currently working on a collection of short stories.  He lives in Mysore, India. 


‘Ammulu’Poile Sengupta (India)

Poile Sengupta is a playwright and a writer of fiction. Her collection of six plays was published by Routledge, in 2010, as Women Centre Stage: The Dramatist and the Play. The collection includes Mangalam which won a special award at The Hindu-Madras Players Playscripts Competition, 1993, Keats was a Tuber which was shortlisted at the 1996 British Council International New Playwriting Competition and Samara’s Song which was on a shortlist of three for the 2008 Hindu MetroPlus Playscripts Award. Her plays have been performed in Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and other Indian cities.  In 1999-2000, Sengupta received a Government of India senior fellowship  to write plays for children. Her book of one act plays for children, Good Heavens! was published by Puffin in 2006.

Poile Sengupta is also a writer of fiction for children. Her recent work includes Role Call and Role Call Again, 2003, by Rupa and Co. as also Vikram and Vetal, 2005 and Vikramaditya’s Throne, 2007, from Puffin. Role Call has been translated into Bhasa Indonesia. Her short fiction for children has been included in many anthologies.  Poile Sengupta has been an actor for both stage and film and lives in Bangalore. 


‘Another Dull Day’, Sreejith Sukumaran (India)

Sreejith Sukumaran pursued theoretical physics research for more than ten years in Bangalore and Germany. He then lived in Mumbai for five years working in risk management divisions of global investment banks.  In 2009, he returned to live in his sleepy hometown, Trivandrum, and started writing his autobiography. He soon realized that the best parts of that work are fictitious and the rest hardly worth mentioning. He has remained faithful ever since to his first love of writing, guided by the dictum: forget reality, fiction suits life better.  He has posted more than fifty stories on his personal blogs.

He writes about global problems like marriage, divorce, misunderstanding, deceit, death, hopelessness and emptiness in life. He is addicted to crime fiction and scared of serious people. His fiction usually eschews happy endings, love, long-lasting friendships and well-adjusted characters. He is currently trying to write the shortest story with the most interpretations.

Recently, he has been active in the avatar of ‘New Nonentities’ on http://justoneavatar.blogspot.com/.