Top: Reena and Olajide Omojarabi. Bottom: Azags Agandaa, Jean Pierre Nikuze, and Jayne Bauling.

Five African writers have made it to the shortlist for the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, including writers from Mauritius and Rwanda for the first time in history.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from any of the Commonwealth’s 56 Member States. The Prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation. Regional winners receive £2,500 GBP and the overall winner receives £5,000 GBP. The winning stories are published online by Granta and in a special print collection by Paper + Ink.

The stories on the 2024 shortlist were selected from a total of 7,359 entries from 53 Commonwealth countries—a ten per cent increase as compared to 2023. The Africa shortlist includes writers from South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana, along with Mauritius and Rwanda for the first time. All but one have never been shortlisted before. The stories feature well-written characters including a pensioner reflecting on forbidden love and a football-mad young boy.

The 2024 Africa shortlist is below:

“Fadi” by Azags Agandaa (Ghana)

“Dite” by Reena (Mauritius)

“House No. 49” by Olajide Omojarabi (Nigeria)

“The Goat” by Jean Pierre Nikuze (Rwanda)

“A Song Sung in Secret” by Jayne Bauling (South Africa)

Chaired by Ugandan-British writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, this year’s judging panel includes South African writer Keletso Mopai (Africa), Singaporean novelist O Thiam Chin (Asia), Canadian writer Shashi Bhat (Canada/Europe), poet Richard Georges from the British Virgin Islands (Caribbean), and Australian Bundjalung writer Melissa Lucashenko (Pacific).

Chair of Judges Makumbi remarked that the 2024 shortlist is a “dream list for lovers of the short story form” and readers will be “amazed and thrilled, startled and shocked, and heartbroken and humbled in equal measure by the skill and talent, imagination and creativity, by the flexibility of the form and what it is capable of, and by what the world is doing with the English language.”

The 2024 shortlisted stories will be published online in adda, featuring new writing from around the Commonwealth. Regional winners will be announced on May 29, while te overall winner will be announced on June 26.

Congrats to all the shortlisted writers! Learn more about the shortlisted stories and the writers below.


Azags Agandaa

Azags Agandaa is a Ghanaian writer whose collection of short stories, The Slummer’s Curse (2019) won the Ama Ata Aidoo Award 2nd Prize of the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) Literary Awards. Aguriboma (2022), his poetry collection, also won the Kofi Awoonor’s Prize of the same Literary Awards. He teaches English/ Literature at The Victoria Grammar School, Accra, whilst completing his MPhil in Literature at UCC, Ghana.

Fadi is a story about grief, disability, homelessness, and love despite all these. It follows Baba and his autistic daughter, Fadi, seeking a safe home.


Usha Reena Rungoo is a Mauritian writer, scholar, teacher, speaker, and mother. As an islander, an African and a diasporic South Asian, she uses the language of fiction (whether as a writer or a literary critic) to speak on how colonial violence infiltrates our beings, our languages and our desires, and on the creative ways in which we resist. She is an assistant professor of literature at Harvard University.

Dite, which means “tea” in Creole, is an exploration of a Mauritian woman’s love of tea and of her ties to the colonial history of tea. Each tea in her collection contains an olfactory memory in which her relationship with education, language, sex and other women is captured.

Olajide Omojarabi

Olajide (Olajide Omojarabi) is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of South Florida. Last year, he was the fiction editor at Saw Palm, and has published works in Guernica, Off Assignment, Barren magazine and elsewhere. He’s at work on his debut novel.

In House No. 49, the arrival of a new scout in town dashes five boys’ dreams of playing football in England’s top-flight clubs.

Jean Pierre Nikuze

Jean Pierre Nikuze is a Rwandan who grew up in Kenya, and is currently residing in Vancouver, Canada, where he is attending graduate school at Regent College. A writer of stories, poems, and essays, Nikuze’s work has appeared in CalibanOnline, The Nonconformist Magazine, Agbowo, Hobart, Africasacountry, and elsewhere.

The Goat is about a woman whose newborn is stolen from the maternity ward, and her own unusual way of dealing with the loss, which is complicated by her relationship with a billy goat her husband bought as their son’s birth gift.

Jayne Bauling

Jayne Bauling is a South African writer best known for her youth novels which have won several awards. She also writes short stories and poetry, and has contributed stories to FunDza Literacy Trust. Her tenth novel for youth Things I Learned in the Forest was published by the NB Publishers imprint Best Books in early 2023. She lives in White River, in the province of Mpumalanga.

In A Song Sung in Secret, in a social grants queue, a chance encounter with another pensioner has a man recalling the pressures that parted them – and reaching for courage to take a step towards healing.