The 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is open for submissions. This year, we have two esteemed African writers on the judging panel – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi as chair and Keletso Mopai for the Africa region.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. The prize covers the Commonwealth regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific. The judging panel comprises one judge from each of the five regions.
The judging panel will select a shortlist of around 20 stories, from which five regional winners are chosen. One of the regional winners is then selected as the overall winner, who receives £5,000. The regional winners will receive £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money. All five regional winning stories will be published on Granta.
The prize is free to enter and open to any citizen of a Commonwealth country aged 18 and over. It is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words). Any genre is accepted along with stories in translation or written in 13 other languages.
Deadline: November 1, 2023
Read about this year’s judges below:
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist who wrote The First Woman (2020), which in 2021 won the Jhalak Prize, was shortlisted for The Diverse Book Award, the Encore Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, and longlisted for The Aspen Words Literary Prize. Her first novel, Kintu, won the Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013, the Prix Transfuge du meilleur premier roman francais in 2019 and, in the same year, she was shortlisted for Edward Stanford Awards and longlisted for the Prix Médicis. Her collection of short stories, Manchester Happened, was shortlisted for The Big Book prize: Harper’s Bazaar in 2019 and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Jennifer was the recipient of the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize in 2018. She was also the overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014. She was part of the DAAD Artist-in–Berlin programme in 2022 and currently she is Artist in Residence at STIAS Stellenbosch. She has a PhD from Lancaster University and has taught in several universities in the United Kingdom.
Keletso Mopai is a South African writer and geologist. Her award-nominated and acclaimed debut collection of short stories If You Keep Digging, a social commentary on Post-Apartheid South Africa, was published in 2019 by Blackbird Books. Her work has been published in several journals internationally including Internazionale, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Catapult, Portside Review, Imbiza Journal, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Lolwe, and anthologies such as Joburg Noir. She returned to university in 2022 to pursue an MA in creative writing at The University of Cape Town where she wrote a novel-in-stories about a farm murder set in her hometown, Tzaneen.
O Thiam Chin is the judge for Asia, Shashi Bhat is the judge for Canada and Europe, Richard Georges is the judge for the Caribbean, and Melissa Lucashenko is the judge for the Pacific.