Fred D’Aguiar, Kevin Jared Hosein, and Louise Umutoni are on the judging panel for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2022 announced today, September 22, 2021.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English in the regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Each of these winners are then eligible for the global prize. Previous winners 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), Innocent Chizaram Ilo (2020), and Rémy Ngamije and Roland Watson-Grant (2021). Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi won the global prize in 2014.

The road to 2022 started today as the judges were revealed to the public with Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar to chair the panel. 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, and Australian Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic Jeanine Leane (Pacific).

Fred D’Aguiar said, ‘Many view the short story as fiction in its most refined form. With the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the global Commonwealth, as articulated by its writers, can be seen as a kaleidoscope of traditions, peoples and places, that is, the best of the Commonwealth at its imagined best.’

Here are profiles of the three judges we are focusing on today;

Chair

Fred D’Aguiar
Fred D’Aguiar

Fred D’Aguiar’s sixth novel, Children of Paradise (Granta, 2015), is inspired by the events at Jonestown, Guyana. Carcanet published his eighth poetry collection, Letters to America, in 2020 along with his first nonfiction book in 2021, Year of Plagues: A Memoir of 2020. Born in London of Guyanese parents and brought up in Guyana, he returned to the UK for his secondary and tertiary education. Currently, he teaches in the Department of English at UCLA in the United States.

Africa

Louise Umutoni-Bower
Louise Umutoni-Bower

Louise Umutoni-Bower is the founder of Huza Press, a Rwandan-based publishing press devoted to supporting African literary craftsmanship. It has published writers such as Yolande Mukagasana, Billy Kahora and many emerging writers from across the continent. Huza Press also run the only prize for fiction in Rwanda and launched some of the growing number of writers from Rwanda. Louise started her career as a journalist and worked as a regular reporter and contributor for several Newspapers and Magazines. She has also written academically on National Liberation Movements in Africa and women’s political inclusion. Her work was selected for the Winihin-Jemide grant at the University of Oxford.

Caribbean

Kevin Jared Hosein. Photo/Leo Kiss, Commonwealth Foundation
Kevin Jared Hosein. Photo/Leo Kiss, Commonwealth Foundation

Kevin Jared Hosein is an award-winning writer from Trinidad and Tobago. He was named overall winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for his story, Passage, and was the Caribbean regional winner in 2015. He has published three books: The Repenters (longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award), The Beast of Kukuyo (second-place winner of the 2017 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature) and Littletown Secrets. His writings have been published in numerous anthologies and outlets including Lightspeed Magazine, Moko and adda. His next novel is being published by Bloomsbury (UK/Commonwealth) and Ecco (USA/Canada) in 2022.

Entries for the award will be accepted up until 1 November 2021. Click here for information on how enter.