June 3, 2013

Sharon Millar and Eliza Robertson: Joint Winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The joint overall winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize were announced at the Hay Festival, in Hay-on-Wye, UK, on 31 May 2013.

Commenting on the unprecedented outcome, chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Razia Iqbal said, ”it is a measure of the quality we had to choose from in the shortlist, that we unanimously settled on two joint winners. It was impossible to decide between them, though each one is quite distinctly different from the other. Both fulfilled our criteria of excellence in style, originality and tone. The Whale House, by Sharon Millar, sets the scene immediately, and there are lush descriptions of landscapes as well as emotion. It is striking how even minor characters are drawn vividly in quick, tightly written strokes.  We Walked on Water, by Eliza Robertson, is an exhilarating story about the relationship between a brother and sister, both competitive swimmers. Writing with elegance about sport as well as the emotional bond between siblings is an impressive feat. The descriptive writing is nothing short of strikingly beautiful, in terms of emotions felt, the natural environment and the structure. Both these stories stay in the imagination and the heart, long after they have been read.

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