Commonwealth Writers: Regional Winners for 2012



Commonwealth Writers announces regional winners for 2012 prizes

21 May 2012

Commonwealth Writers has announced the regional winners for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Representing Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, Caribbean, and the Pacific regions, these new writers will now compete for overall winner which will be announced at Hay Festival on 8 June.

Commonwealth Book Prize


Regional Winner, Africa
Jacques Strauss, South Africa The Dubious Salvation of Jack V, Jonathan Cape



Regional Winner, Asia
Shehan Karunatilaka, Sri Lanka, Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, Random House



Regional Winner, Canada and Europe
Riel Nason, Canada, The Town that Drowned, Goose Lane Editions



Regional Winner, Caribbean
Alecia McKenzie, Jamaica, Sweetheart, Peepal Tree Press



Regional Winner, Pacific
Cory Taylor, Australia, Me and Mr Booker, The Text Publishing Company


Commenting on the winners, Chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Margaret Busby said, “We were wonderfully spoilt for choice among some strong regional contenders on the shortlist, and although we could not take every favourite further, the books that triumphed are a reminder of what the best fiction can be: moving, entertaining, enlightening, exciting, engaging our thoughts and emotions, while creating an intimate connection with someone else’s imagination. Here are novels with memorable characters, unpredictable situations, a sense of humour, books that give insights into cultures and histories not our own, crafted by writers who care about language, and its ability to renew and enrich our view of the world. ”

Commonwealth Short Story Prize


Regional Winner, Africa
Jekwu Anyaegbuna, Nigeria, Morrison Okoli (1955-2010)



Regional Winner, Asia
Anushka Jasraj, India, Radio Story



Regional Winner, Canada and Europe
Andrea Mullaney, UK, The Ghost Marriage



Regional Winner, Caribbean
Diana McCaulay, Jamaica, The Dolphin Catcher



Regional Winner, Pacific
Emma Martin, New Zealand, Two Girls in a Boat


Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Bernardine Evaristo said, “The five regional winning stories this year rose to the top of a pool of 2200 entries and are the result of vigorous debate among the judges. We discussed not only the quality of the storytelling but the context of their respective literary cultures including notions of stereotypes and ‘the prize-winning formula’. Our final choices encompass range, depth, beauty, unpredictability and re-readability. These short stories will take you on a journey that spans cultures, eras, generations, and diverse ways of being and seeing. To read them is to inhabit other worlds.”

Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta magazine to give regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be published by Granta online during the week commencing 4 June.
John Freeman, Editor of Granta said: “The Commonwealth Short Story Prize introduces some of the best writers in the world, writers who bring a thrilling and essential glimpse of the world and the worlds that are within Britain. This is also what I hope Granta has been as a magazine. A Trojan Horse for writers you don’t know, but once you read cannot forget: writers who can make the ground beneath your feet a little more mysterious. I am pleased Granta can partner with the Commonwealth Short Story Prize to help carry this mission forward.”

Commonwealth Writers is a new cultural programme within the Commonwealth Foundation which develops, connects and inspires writers. By awarding prizes and running on-the-ground activities, it works in partnership with international literary organisations, the wider cultural industries and civil society to help writers develop their craft in the fifty four countries of the Commonwealth.www.commonwealthwriters.org is a forum where members from anywhere in the world can exchange ideas and contribute to debates.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2011, the Commonwealth Foundation re-launched its prizes to form part of Commonwealth Writers. The prizes act as catalysts to target and identify talented writers from different regions who will go on to inspire and inform their local communities.

Lucy Hannah, Programme Manager (Culture) Commonwealth Foundation, said “These two new prizes are a really positive start toCommonwealth Writers. We had entries from a huge range of countries including Lesotho, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Samoa. We’ll now be helping our regional winners to gain a wider readership, develop their craft and to inspire others in their region.”

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