Awards Fiction Nigeria South Africa

Nigerians, South Africans feature on Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 shortlist

Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oyinkan Braithwaite

Four South Africans and three Nigerians featured on the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2016 announced earlier today. The Nigerians are Lausdeus Chiegboka, Enyeribe Ibegwam and Oyinkan Braithwaite while the South Africans are Mark Winkler, Cat Hellisen, Faraaz Mahomed and Andrew Salomon.

These writers are seven of the twenty six who were shortlisted from the nearly 4000 entries from 47 countries. They were selected by a global judging panel, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth of Helon Habila (Africa), Firdous Azim (Asia), Pierre Mejlak (Canada and Europe), Olive Senior (Caribbean), and Patrick Holland (Pacific).

Chair of the judges, South African novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, said of this year’s shortlist:

“As a novelist accustomed to the luxury of the long form it has been a treat to discover writers who manage to crystallise such different experiences into so few words.  The stories we have chosen for the shortlist are in turn comic, touching, poetic, mysterious but always fresh and unexpected.”

The Regional Winners will be announced on Wednesday 4 May and the Overall Winner of the Prize will be announced in early September 2016. The Regional winners receive £2,500 while the overall winner gets £5,000.

About the shortlisted writers;

Oyinkan Braithwaite writes novels, short stories, scripts, poetry, articles and notes to herself. She has had work published in anthologies and has also self-published work. Her flash fiction story – ‘Eba. Efo Riro and a Serving of Tears’ was recently longlisted for the Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize. She has performed spoken word live, on radio and on TV. You can find her at She was shortlisted for her story The Driver.

Lausdeus Chiegboka is a medical doctor trained at the University of Nigeria who practises in the Nigerian Navy.  Born in Nsukka, Nigeria, he has published a novel titled Devil at Bay. Lausdeus also writes poetry and won second prize (Literature) in Anambra State Youth Awards in 2012. He was shortlisted for his story Exorcism.

Enyeribe Ibegwam was brought up in Lagos, Nigeria, and now lives in Washington, DC, where he is a graduate student at Georgetown University. He was shortlisted for his story Saving Obadiah.

Andrew Salomon is the author of the young adult novel The Chrysalis and the fantasy thriller Tokoloshe Song. He has been shortlisted for the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award and his short fiction has won the PEN/Studzinski Literary Award for African Fiction and the Short.Sharp.Stories Award. He works as an archaeologist and lives in Cape Town with his wife and two young sons. He was shortlisted for his story The Entomologist’s Dream.

Faraaz Mahomed is a clinical psychologist and human rights researcher based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He also holds academic fellowships with the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. A former Fulbright scholar, Faraaz’s writing is largely academic in nature, having published several journal articles relating to human rights issues. He dreams of writing a novel and intends pursuing a PhD on the subject of mental health and human rights. He was shortlisted for his story The Pigeon.

Cat Hellisen
Cat Hellisen

Cat Hellisen is a fantasy author for adults and children who currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Her children’s book Beastkeeper, a play on the old tale of Beauty and the Beast, was released 3 February 2015. Her short stories have appeared in, Fantasy & Science FictionApex Magazine and more. She also won the Short Story Day Prize last year. She was shortlisted for her story This is How We Burn.

Mark Winker has spent his working life in advertising, winning over thirty local and international advertising awards. He is currently creative director at a leading Cape Town agency. Mark’s first novel, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Absolutely Everything, was published in 2013, and his second, Wasted, in 2015. His third novel, The Safest Place You Know, will be published in September 2016. Mark lives in Cape Town with his family. He was shortlisted for his story When I Came Home.

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