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Tok Pisin first for Commonwealth story prize

| Commonwealth Foundation

LONDON, UK - Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar will chair an international panel of judges for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which is now open to 1 November 2021.

And for the first time the prize - offering a first prize of K24,000 - will accept stories in Creole languages like Tok Pisin.

The other judges, drawn from the five regions of the Commonwealth, are Rwandan publisher Louise Umutoni-Bower, Indian author Jahnavi Barua, Cypriot writer Stephanos Stephanides, Trinidadian novelist Kevin Jared Hosein, and Australian writer and poet Jeanine Leane.

The prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation, the intergovernmental arm of the Commonwealth that works to support and amplify the voice of civil society.

The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) and is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and free to enter.

Five regional winners each receive £2,500 (K12,000) and the overall winner £5,000 (K24,000).

“Many view the short story as fiction in its most refined form,” said chief judge, Fred D’Aguiar.

“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.”

The prize now open for entries which will be accepted up until 1 November 2021.

In addition to English, stories can be submitted in a number of languages including, for the first time, Tok Pisin.

Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted and the translator of any story that wins will also receive prize money.

Now in its eleventh year, the prize has a strong reputation for discovering and elevating new talent.

“If you are a writer—which is to say, a person who cannot exist without writing—then you must avail yourself of this opportunity to have your work read and amplified and championed by one of the most diverse communities of writers anywhere in the literary world,” said last year’s winner, Sri Lanka writer Kanya D’Almeida.

“Don’t enter thinking I need this prize. Enter believing this prize needs me.”

If you are interested in applying, you can find out more here:


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Arthur Williams

Submissions for the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize have opened! Closes 1 November 2022.

Commonwealth Foundation
Marlborough House, Pall Mall,
London SW1Y 5HY,
United Kingdom
T +44 (0)20 7930 3783
E [email protected]

Rules etc at their website

£2,500 for five regional prizewinners. Overall winner £5,000.

2,500 words to 5,000 max

Alphonse Huvi

This is a great opportunity provided by the Commonwealth Foundation for Tok Pisin to be read by many people.

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