The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 shortlist has been announced. The Africa regional shortlist featured Harriet Anena, Fred Khumalo, Cheryl Ntumy, Michelle Sacks, Efua Traoré, and Obi Umeozor.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction and open to Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and over. Founded in 2012, prizes are awarded to each of the five regions of the Commonwealth each of whom wins £2,500 and a global winner who receives an additional £5,000. Previous winners of the Africa regional prize are Jekwu Anyaegbuna (2012), Julian Jackson (2013), Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (2014), Lesley Nneka Arimah (2015), Faraaz Mahomed (2016), and Akwaeke Emezi (2017). Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is the only African to win the global prize.
This year the Prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The 2018 judges are Damon Galgut (Africa), Sunila Galappatti (Asia), Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Canada and Europe), Mark McWatt (Caribbean) and Paula Morris (Pacific).
Speaking on the announcement the chair of the judges, award-winning novelist and short story writer Sarah Hall, said of this year’s shortlist:
“The versatility and power of the short story is abundantly clear in this shortlist. With such a range of subject, style, language and imagination, it is clear what a culturally important and relevant form it is, facilitating many different creative approaches, many voices and versions of life.”
Here are the shortlisted stories;
- Dancing with Ma, Harriet Anena (Uganda).
- Talk of The Town, Fred Khumalo (South Africa).
- Empathy, Cheryl Ntumy (Ghana).
- Hitler Hates You, Michelle Sacks (South Africa).
- True Happiness, Efua Traoré (Nigeria).
- Juju, Obi Umeozor (Nigeria)
Harriet Anena is a Ugandan poet and journalist. She is the author of a collection of poems, A Nation In Labour, published in 2015.
Fred Khumalo is a media consultant, editor, speaker, and the author of Dancing the Death Drill (2017), Seven Steps To Heaven (2007) and Bitches’ Brew (2006). He has featured on the shortlists for the Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship, and longlists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2018, and Short Story Day Africa 2016.
Cheryl Ntumy is from Ghana, but grew up in Botswana. She studied in South Africa for ten years and now works as a freelance journalist and writer in Botswana. She also writes short stories and plays. Her first novel, Crossing, was published in Botswana in 2010. The novel won first prize in the Bessie Head Literature Awards (2009). She has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Scholarship in 2015 as well as in 2017.
Efua Traoré is a Nigerian-German writer who grew up in a little town in the south of Nigeria. For as long as she can remember, her head was always filled with little stories, but it was not until her late twenties that she discovered her passion for writing them down. After winning a Glimmer Train prize for the first 1.000 words of a novel she wrote her first book.
Obi Calvin Umeozor.
Obi Calvin Umeozor received his B.A. in English from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and taught English Literature before moving to the States in 2015, where he obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Shift and others. And he will begin a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston this fall.
Michelle Sacks was born in Cape Town, South Africa was shortlisted twice for the HSBC/SA PEN Literary award. In 2014, her story All Them Savages was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her debut short story collection Stone Baby: Stories was published in 2017, and her first novel You Were Made For This is due out in June 2018.