2014 Regional Winners
On 13 June Commonwealth Writers announced the Overall winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in Kampala, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Jennifer’s entry is one of five regional winning stories which are now all available to read by clicking the title links below.
Overall and Regional Winner, Africa
Let’s Tell This Story Properly, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Uganda)
Nnameya is the grieving widow when she arrives at Entebbe Airport from Manchester with her husband Kayita’s coffin. But then events take such a dramatic turn that she must relinquish her widowhood and fight.
Jennifer Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer. She studied Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2012, her short story The Accidental Seaman was published in Moss Side Stories by Crocus Books. In 2013, her poems, Free Range, and Father cried in the kitchen were published in Sweet Tongues. Jennifer also has a PHD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and her doctoral novel, The Kintu Saga, won the Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013. The novel will be published in the summer of 2014 under the title Kintu. Jennifer teaches Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is currently working on her second novel, Nnambi.
“I screamed when I learnt the news! To win the regional (Africa) leg is a privilege. It will bring attention to my writing and to Ugandan writing at a global level. I am immensely grateful to Commonwealth Writers.”
On learning that she had become the Overall Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, 2014, Jennifer said:
“This is a dream. For Uganda, once described as a literary desert, it shows how the country’s literary landscape is changing and I am proud to be a part of it. The Commonwealth Short story Prize will help bring attention to Ugandan writing at a global level,”
For a full report on the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize announcement in Kampala, including an interview with Jennifer and photographs click here. Commonwealth Writers partnered with Granta magazine to give the Overall Winner the opportunity to be published on Granta online.
Regional Winner, Asia
A Day in the Death, Sara Adam Ang (Singapore)
A Day in the Death is a story about someone trying to tell a story. It includes a distressingly un-dramatic suicide, facts and knowledge about Singapore in the early 20th century and the workers who built the city.
Sara Adam Ang is a recent graduate of the National University of Singapore, majoring in History. Sara has had a keen interest in writing fiction for many years. As an emerging writer keen to make her mark in the literary world, the shortlisting of A Day in the Death, one of her first stories, is a major milestone in her career. She is in the process of seeking out her next writing challenge.
“To me, winning the Asia regional prize means three things. The first is money, the second is moderate anxiety about whether I deserved it, because by my own standards I feel like I can do better; and the third is that if something I write is being seen as on the same level as actual professional writers, then maybe I could be one too!”
Regional Winner, Canada & Europe
Killing Time, Lucy Caldwell (United Kingdom)
A young girl just turned thirteen tries to take her own life. She swallows down as many paracetamol and baby aspirin tablets as she can and goes downstairs to have dinner with her family. That evening, and in the days that follow, she waits for something to happen, caught between the equally terrifying possibilities that something might, and that nothing will at all.
Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981. She is the author of three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the George Devine Award, the Imison Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Her latest novel, All the Beggars Riding, was selected for Belfast’s and Derry-Londonderry’s One City One Book initiative in 2013. She is currently working on her fourth novel and her debut collection of short stories.
“I am thrilled to hear that my story Killing Time has been chosen as the Canada and Europe regional winner. It was a very difficult story to write, and took well over a dozen entirely new drafts for me to get the balance and tone of it right. At several points I almost abandoned it entirely. So it’s a huge boost for it to receive such recognition.”
Regional Winner Caribbean
Sending for Chantal, Maggie Harris (Guyana)
The leaving of children with relatives whilst parents go abroad to seek employment is a familiar story, borne by promises of eventually being ‘sent for’. But what happens when a child never gets sent for? The central question remains, how do we measure achievement, and at what cost is economic migration to displaced and ‘broken’ families?
Maggie Harris is a Guyanese-born author who migrated to the UK in 1971. She holds a BA Honours Degree in African/Caribbean studies and an MA in Post-Colonial Studies from Kent University. She won the Guyana Prize for Literature in 2000 for her poetry collection, Limbolands. Other collections include From Berbice to Broadstairs, After a Visit to a Botanical Garden and Sixty Years of Loving (Cane Arrow Press). She has written a number of short stories, including the collection Canterbury Tales on Cockcrow Morning, (Cultured Llama Press), and her own memoir, Guyana Kiskadee Girl. .
“I am overwhelmed and thrilled to receive this acknowledgement of my work, and to represent the Caribbean. A writer’s life is full of ups and downs and I am very grateful to be granted this fantastic opportunity to share my writing with a wider audience. The story of Chantal is one that I have carried in my mind for a very long time.”
Regional Winner, Pacific
The Dog and the Sea, Lucy Treloar (Australia)
An old man who lives by the sea is kept company by his dog, the fragmentary stories contained in his troubled past, and a small boy who visits each summer.
Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and attended schools in Melbourne, England and Sweden. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing program, Lucy is a writer, editor and creative writing teacher working in Australia and in Cambodia, where she has lived for a number of years. Lucy’s short fiction has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories 2013, Overland, Sleepers and Seizure. She is also the recipient of an Asialink Writer’s Residency and the 2012 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Her novel Salt Creek – currently in development – was recently signed by Picador.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be a regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize; acknowledgement of this sort is both affirming and encouraging. It’s an honour to be included in this wonderful (and dauntingly accomplished) group of writers, and I’m delighted that this prize will allow my writing to reach a larger audience.”