Commonwealth Writers inspires writers, storytellers and a range of cultural practitioners to work for social change. It builds communities of less heard and emerging voices to influence, directly and indirectly, the decision making processes which affect their lives.
In line with this vision, the Commonwealth Book Prize and Short Story Prize unearth talented writers to take part in online residencies and on-the-ground activities. As well as inspiring others through their work.
“Two of the most important prizes on the international literary calendar, these prizes are a wonderful way to showcase the best and emerging writing talent in the Commonwealth.”
Margaret Busby, Chair, 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize.
The prizes unearth, develop and promote the best new writing from across the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Book Prize is awarded for the best first novel, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the best piece of unpublished short fiction.
The prizes have a global reach, attracting entries from across the Commonwealth and eminent members of the literary community to join our international judging panels. The entries are judged within the five regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean and the Pacific.
The selection process culminates in the announcement of the regional winners on 14 May, and the two overall winners to a global audience at the Hay Festival UK in the summer.
Commonwealth Book Prize
The Commonwealth Book Prize is open to writers who have had their first novel published during the previous year. The overall winner receives £10,000 and regional winners receive £2,500.
The Book Prize is open to translated and self-published books, opening them up to people in countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, and to those who are writing in a language other than English.
Entries for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize have now closed.
Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of original unpublished short fiction (2,000 – 5,000 words). The overall winner receives £5,000 and regional winners receive £1,000.
The Short Story Prize is open to translated fiction.
Entries for the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize have now closed.
Commonwealth Writers is delighted to partner with Granta Magazine again this year to give the overall and regional winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to have their story edited and published by Granta online.
“Writing as well as reading fiction is on the face of it, a solitary occupation. But it is also potentially, a source for collective transformation: stories allow us to stand in someone else’s shoes, walk into their worlds and imagine their lives. All good fiction does this, and there are many prizes to highlight such stories but the Commonwealth Prize actively seeks stories from the margins, stories which would otherwise lay concealed. It is a Prize whose name sums up what it stands for: our common wealth in hidden stories, revealed and shared.”
Razia Iqbal, Chair, 2012 Short Story Prize.