Efua Traoré

Efua Traoré is the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 winner for the Africa region for her short story True Happiness. The Nigerian-German writer was announced as the winner of the prize on June 29, 2018.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction and open to Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and over.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 was judged by a 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).

Efua Traoré, who grew up in the south of Nigeria, beat out four other shortlistees with a first person narrative that sees a 13-year-old boy wrestle with the question of what it means to find ‘True Happiness’. Speaking about the win she said, “Africa – and in particular Nigeria – has the most amazing storytellers. This prize gives me the humbling feeling of being part of something great. I am truly honoured.”

Update: The winner of the global prize, announced in an elaborate ceremony on July 25 2018, is Kevin Jared Hosein the regional prize winner for the Caribbean.