The shortlists for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2022 have been announced today, Monday, April 25, 2022.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English in the regions of Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Each of these winners is then eligible for the global prize. Previous winners in the Africa region have been Jekwu Anyaegbuna (2012), Julian Jackson (2013), Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (2014), Lesley Nneka Arimah (2015), Faraaz Mahomed (2016), Akwaeke Emezi (2017), Efua Traoré (2018), Mbozi Haimbe (2019), and Chizaram Ilo (2020), as well as Rémy Ngamije and Roland Watson-Grant in 2021. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi won the global prize in 2014.

The judging panel this year announced on September 21, 2021, is chaired by Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar. His fellow judges, drawn from the five regions of the Commonwealth, are Rwandan publisher Louise Umutoni (Africa), Indian short story writer and novelist Jahnavi Barua (Asia), Cypriot writer and academic Stephanos Stephanides (Canada and Europe), Trinidadian novelist and former winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Kevin Jared Hosein (Caribbean), and Australian Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic Jeanine Leane (Pacific).

The stories on the 2022 shortlist were selected from a total of 6,730 entries from 52 Commonwealth countries. Chair of the Judges Fred D’Aguiar hailed a list of ‘memorable and urgent stories that captured the concerns of their respective communities’ and noted that ‘these writers achieved all this while they displayed an astute sense of the many forms of the story and its many long traditions on a continuum, from oral to scribal, from performance to contemplation [….] the result is a shortlist of stories that is aware of history, while never sacrificing story. These stories are as diverse as the world that they are drawn from and care about: they reflect a complex and afflicted planet; they answer the call of today’s multiple societal tensions by acts of reading that transform how the reader views that world.’

African and African writers in the diaspora in the running for the award are;

Africa

  • and the earth drank deep, Ntsika Kota (eSwatini)
  • Lifestyle Guide for The Discerning Witch, Franklyn Usouwa (Nigeria)
  • Something Happened Here, Dera Duru (Nigeria)
  • How to Operate the New Eco-Protect Five-in-One Climate Control Apparatus, Charlie Muhumuza (Uganda)
  • Thandiwe, Mubanga Kalimamukwento (Zambia)

Canada and Europe

  • A Hat for Lemer, Cecil Browne (United Kingdom/St Vincent and the Grenadines)
  • Hot Chutney Mango Sauce, Farah Ahamed (United Kingdom/Kenya) ‘
  • Omolara, J.S. Gomes (United Kingdom/Trinidad and Tobago)

Caribbean

  • No Man’s Land, Alexia Tolas (The Bahamas)
  • Bridge over the Yallahs River, Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)
  • Have Mercy, Sharma Taylor (Jamaica)

The 2022 shortlisted stories will be published online, in the online magazine of the Commonwealth Foundation, adda, which features new writing from around the globe. The judges will go on to choose a winner for each of the five regions. These regional winners will be announced on Monday 23 May, before being published online by the literary magazine Granta. The overall winner will be announced in June.