The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

by Commonwealth Writers   /  The Short Story


The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is now closed for entries.

The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Judges 

The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judging panel is chaired by Romesh Gunesekera. Each year our judges select five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions who share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500. All stories submitted are unpublished, but published writers are also eligible to apply. The Shortlist, the Regional Winners and the Overall Winner of the Prize will be announced in 2015.


Romesh Gunesekera, Judge 2015CSSP

Romesh Gunesekera was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Britain in the early 1970s. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he is the author of eight books of fiction. His novel Reef was short-listed for the 1994 Booker Prize. His new collection of stories set in post-war Sri Lanka, Noontide Toll, was published by Granta in 2014 along with a 20th anniversary edition of his first novel Reef. Twitter: @RomeshG






Leila Aboulela, Judge 2015CSSPLeila Aboulela’s latest novel Lyrics Alley (2010) was the Fiction Winner of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards. It was long-listed for the Orange Prize and short-listed for the S. Asia and Europe Region in the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Her previous novels The Translator (1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Minaret (2005) were longlisted for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award. Leila was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing for ‘The Museum’ included in her story collection Coloured Lights (2001). Her work has been translated into 14 languages.


Fred D'Aguiar Judge 2015CSSPFred D’Aguiar was born in London of Guyanese parents and grew up in Guyana. His twelve books include novels, poems and plays. His latest novel, inspired by events at Jonestown, Guyana, is Children of Paradise (2014). Fred teaches at Virginia Tech in the United States. Twitter: @VTPOET



Marina Endicott, Judge 2015CSSPMarina Endicott worked as an actor and director before turning to fiction. Marina’s novels and stories have been serialized on CBC Radio, and she’s had three plays produced. Her novel Good to a Fault was a finalist for the Canada’s Giller Prize and was a regional winner of the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book. Her novel Close to Hugh is released in 2015. Twitter: @marinaendicott



Withi Ihimaera, Judge 2015CSSPWiti Ihimaera is a New Zealand novelist, short story writer, film producer and teacher. In 1973 he became the first Maori novelist with Tangi, and won a Commonwealth regional prize for The Matriarch in 1987. His book The Whale Rider was made into a successful international film in 2002. His memoir Maori Boy, will be released in November 2014 in New Zealand.



Bina Shah, Judge 2015CSSP

Bina Shah is a Karachi-based author of four novels and two collections of short stories. A regular contributor toThe International New York Times and a frequent guest on the BBC, she has contributed essays and op-eds to Al Jazeera, Granta, The Independent, and The Guardian, and writes a regular column for Dawn, the top English-language newspaper in Pakistan. Twitter: @BinaShah


Get Inspired

Good luck to all who submitted stories to this year’s Prize. In the meantime, and while we sort through your entries, here is some inspiration (after all, there’s no need to stop writing): read about how everyday objects inspired Romesh Gunesekera’s writing:

Short Stories, Romesh Gunesekera


Short story writer and novelist, Jon McGregor gives his views on what makes a good short story:

“I think location is really important in a story. It should be one of the characters in a sense. It should inform how the characters live.”
Jon McGregor, 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize Judge

If you’d like some more reasons to keep writing while you wait for the announcement of the Prize Shortlist in 2015, head to the Get Inspired section for tips and suggestions from past judges and short story writers.

Commonwealth Writers

Commonwealth Writers is the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation. It inspires, develops and connects writers and storytellers in a range of disciplines.

  • David Isoje Author

    Great! So glad that you have commenced this interesting pieces of literary.

  • Martha Namirembe

    I have just submitted a short story. However, I have realised that it had a few errors. Is there any way I can correct them?

    • Lindy

      I had the same question… just realized I did not do the double spacing and the work was already submitted.

      • CommonwealthWriters

        Don’t worry to much. All we are interested is that the story is clearly presented and can be read.

    • CommonwealthWriters

      A few formatting, spelling or grammatical mistakes will not count against you. We are primarily interested in a good story, and will not dismiss a story based on a few errors.

  • Edward Mollel

    In exception of prize competition how is it easy for other writers who have no access to publication make it possible under common wealth support..??

  • Edward Mollel

    I get so much inspired here..but it take time to reach there..where I intended..I like reading stories but am carefully to remain a story teller who never act though my art is never out..I feel so much sad but anxious when I read others,I got feelings of different imagination but this time I have to fullfill many though I have some in my diary but publication and even supportive in the community of writers is not so much eyes in Tanzania..My collection are pilling but good investment resources to the commonwealth writers if not mkuki and nyota publishers..Beatiful country of kilimanjaro that peaked to roof Africa must have stories that can never be hidden in deep cretor of Ngorongoro the scenerio of beauty can tell…from the wide plane of serengeti to the spiced island of Zanzibar..On such reflection I must fall in love with a very lovely story writer that cant stop the fellings of ideas,Welcome to my gallery art see what I deserve…but dont take it serious am just a tourist +255 752 652 544 Dar es salaam Tourist Adventure Story Teller.

  • Amanda

    When is the winner announced?

    • CommonwealthWriters

      In late May/early June. This is subject to change.

  • Josiah Fisher

    Please can I submit a short story previously self-published?

    • Commonwealth Writers

      You can submit a self-published story. You can write about non-human characters.

      • Josiah Fisher

        Thanks a lot.

    • Josiah Fisher


  • Lee

    Hi, do you accept simultaneous entries, and if so, would the applicant be required to withdraw the submitted piece to the Commonwealth competition if it wins elsewhere?

    • Commonwealth Writers

      We do accept simultaneous submissions. If your story is published due to success in another competition, we may ask you to withdraw it. However, it’s unlikely that the same story will win two competitions.

  • Aparna Pallavi

    Hi, can the name of the author be mentioned in the story document, or is it to be mentioned only on the form?

    • CommonwealthWriters

      You should only include your name on the form. However, if you have already submitted your entry, please don’t worry about it.

  • Darren

    When is the shortlist announced?

    • Commonwealth Writers

      It should be in April or early May. This is subject to change though – you should keep an eye on our facebook and twitter, and sign up to our newsletters for updates.

  • Odunosho Micheal Adedamola Oma

    Does it matter if a story is posted online after submission? If it does matter, is there any rectification?

  • Immanuel Lashley

    I have a similar question. I unloaded the pdf file with my name on it and not the one where i removed my personal details. Is it possible for me to rectify same. In my rush to meet the deadline, I made this error If it is possible to be fixed. I politely request to be notified. My email address is

  • Immanuel Lashley
  • Omobolaji Oladimeji Odewuyi

    I just got to know about the short story four days ago and I am just trying to perfect the story I want to send in but it was stated that the closing date is 15th November, 2014 at 12 noon GMT. I want to ask if there is any chance of submitting latest tomorrow or what can you do for me please? I will love to send in my own submission too. I got to know about it late. Please do something for me. Thank you.

  • Veena Nagpal

    I submitted a short story (Ref No. India/12144/SSP). I have not yet received a confirmation e-mail.

  • guest

    when will you accept entries for 2016?i missed this year’s deadline

  • Ikenna Oje

    I’ve learnt so much here just by going thru these discussions.
    I’d like to ask.. what if ur story was inspired by a few lines u had previously written and pasted on Facebook?