Enter the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

by Commonwealth Writers   /  The Short Story

Enter The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Eligibility Rules

The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is open for entries. Entry is free. Each year, we 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 The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers.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.

Commonwealth short story prize

Romesh Gunesekera and 2014 Prizewinner Jennifer Makumbi

Eligibility and Entry Rules

To enter the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, submit your unpublished short story of 2000-5000 words via the online application form between 15 September and 15 November 2014. 

Before submitting a story to the prize, please read the eligibility and entry rules [Download 2015 CSSP Eligibility Entry Rules]. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of the rules.

For any entry or eligibility queries not in the rules, please email writers@commonwealth.int for clarification before submitting an entry. This year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize is part-funded by The Sigrid Rausing Trust.

Opening date: 15 September 2014

Closing date: Entries must be submitted via the online entry form by 15 November 2014 (12 noon GMT)

No entries will be considered if submitted after this date. 

The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Judges 

The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judging panel is chaired by Romesh Gunesekera.

Romesh Gunesekera, Judge 2015CSSPRomesh 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


Enter The 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Eligibility Rules

Get Inspired

Good luck and in the meantime, here is some inspiration: listen to Jennifer Makumbi’s interview with the BBC, recorded just after she became the Overall Winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

BBC New Africa Podcast

“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

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

If you’d like some more inspiration before you enter your story 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

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