The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 was announced and sadly for us rabid Africa watchers it went to another continent. The winner of this years “battle of the continents” was Indian Parashar Kulkarni for his story ‘Cow and Company’.
The award was presented by Man Booker Prize Winner and former short story judge Marlon James at the Calabash Literary Festival in Jamaica on 5 June. The most interesting thing about this win was for the first-ever story that the writer has ever written. As expected, he is chuffed at the turn of affairs so early into his short story writing.
“I am very happy to receive the Commonwealth Short Story Prize which provides an inclusive, accessible, and international platform for participation which is particularly helpful for new writers,” Kulkarni said.
The 2016 Prize attracted nearly 4000 entries from 47 countries; these were whittled down at the shortlist stage in early May as writers from the five Commonwealth regions were selected. The representative for Africa was South African Faraaz Mahomed for his story The Pigeon a brief and turbulent affair, reflected through the narrator’s close relationship with a peculiar confidant. The other four were Pacific – Tina Makereti (New Zealand), Asia – Parashar Kulkarni (India), Canada and Europe – Stefanie Seddon (UK), and the Caribbean – Lance Dowrich (Trinidad and Tobago).
The judging panel represented the five regions of the Commonwealth – Helon Habila (Africa), Firdous Azim (Asia), Pierre Mejlak (Canada and Europe) Olive Senior (Caribbean), and Patrick Holland (Pacific) selected Indian author Parashar Kulkarni as the overall winner of the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for his story ‘Cow and Company’.