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The Commonwealth Foundation - The 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Movemeback African initiative cover image

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The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. It is run by Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation. The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) and covers the Commonwealth regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean and Pacific.

The international judging panel comprises one judge from each of the five regions. Please note that while the entries will be judged regionally, all judges will read and deliberate on entries from all regions. The final selection will be judged by an international judging panel. Experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the long list.

Regional winners each receive £2,500 and the opportunity to be published online by Granta magazine, and the overall winner receives £5,000. As well as English, stories are accepted in the Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish languages. Translated entries from any language into English are also eligible. If the winning story is a translation, the translator receives additional prize money.

The competition is free to enter and open to any citizen of a Commonwealth country who is aged 18 and over.

Criteria

  • Entrants must be citizens of a Commonwealth country
  • For regional purposes, entries will be judged by country of citizenship. Where the writer has dual citizenship (of two Commonwealth countries), the entry will be judged in the region where the writer is permanently resident.
  • There is no requirement for the writer to have current residence in a Commonwealth country, providing that they are a citizen of a Commonwealth country
  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over on 1 November 2020
  • All entries will be accepted at the discretion of the Commonwealth Foundation which will exercise its judgement, in consultation with the prize chair, in ruling on questions of eligibility. The ruling of the chair on questions of eligibility is final, and no further correspondence will be entered into
  • Entries from previous overall winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible. Entries from previous regional winners are eligible
  • Entries from current members of staff at the Commonwealth Foundation are not eligible
  • Entries must be unpublished and remain unpublished in any language until 1 May 2021
  • Entries must be 2,000 words minimum, 5,000 words maximum (not including title)

Benefits

  • Regional winners each receive £2,500
  • The overall winner receives £5,000
  • There will be 5 winners, one from each region
  • If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money

 

Prize Regions

  • Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, eSwatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
  • Carribean: Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Asia:  Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka
  • Canada and Europe: Canada, Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom. Overseas Territories: Gibraltar, Falkland Islands
  • Pacific:  Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Overseas Territories: Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn.

 

About The Commonwealth Foundation

The Commonwealth Foundation is a development organisation with an international remit and reach, uniquely situated at the interface between government and civil society.

We develop the capacity of civil society to act together and learn from each other to engage with the institutions that shape people’s lives.

We strive for more effective, responsive and accountable governance with civil society participation, which contributes to improved development outcomes.