The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. The prize covers the Commonwealth regions of 1.Africa, 2. Asia, 3. Canada and Europe, 4. Caribbean and 5. Pacific. (See Section 5 for countries in each region). The international judging panel comprises one judge from each of the five Please note that while the entries will be judged regionally, all judges will read and deliberate on entries from all regions. There will be five winners, one from each One regional winner will be selected as the overall winner. The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive £5,000 and the remaining four regional winners £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money. The final selection will be judged by an international judging panel; experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the long-list.
From 1 September 2023 to 1 November 2023, entries for the 2024 Prize will be accepted. Any citizen of a Commonwealth nation who is at least 18 years old may enter for free to win the prize. It is given for the finest unpublished, short story between 2,000 and 5,000 words. Five regional winners will be chosen from a shortlist of about twenty stories that will be judged by an international jury of authors. The final winner, who receives $5,000, is chosen from among the regional winners. The shortlisted and winning stories will all be posted online.
The award draws thousands of writers from the 56 member states of the Commonwealth. Each year, some of the brightest new literary talent in the world compete for the prize with seasoned writers. Unpublished authors required more opportunities to connect with readers abroad and improve the larger literary environment in the year the Commonwealth Foundation established the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2011), especially in regions lacking a local publishing sector. The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize has done a terrific job for 25 years of acknowledging the best fiction written from the 54 Commonwealth nations.
The award would serve as a motivator for discovering and spotting unique, local authors who might later serve as an inspiration to their neighbourhoods. In order to attract fresh writers at the beginning of their careers, Commonwealth Foundation disseminated the word as widely as we could via radio stations and local media. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize has gained steam, and from the first 2,000 submissions in 2012, there are now more than 6,000, in eleven languages, from practically every Commonwealth nation. The prize has succeeded in ten years in achieving what the foundation aimed for—celebrating and bringing the best new writing, frequently in local languages, to a global audience.
The prize is only open to short fiction, but it can be in any fiction genre–science fiction, speculative fiction, historical fiction, crime, romance, literary fiction–and you may write about any subject you wish. Submissions are accepted in Bengali, Chinese, Creole, English, French, Greek, Malay, Maltese, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil, and Turkish. Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted and the translator of any winning story receives additional prize money.
- There will be five winners, one from each region (Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, Pacific).
- The overall winner will receive £5,000 and the remaining four regional winners £2,500.
- The winning stories are published online by “Granta” and in a special print collection by “Paper + Ink.”
- The shortlisted stories are published in “Adda”, the online literary magazine of the Commonwealth Foundation.
- Entrants must be citizens of a Commonwealth country ( Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia. Overseas Territories: Saint Helena, Tristan Da Cunha, Ascension Island. Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka. Canada and Europe: Canada, Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom. Overseas Territories: Gibraltar, Falkland Islands. Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. Overseas Territories: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands. Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Overseas Territories: Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn.) or stateless persons currently residing in a Commonwealth The Commonwealth Foundation will request verification of citizenship status before winners are selected. Entries from citizens of non-Commonwealth countries are not eligible.
- For regional purposes, entries will be judged by country of 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 2023.
- 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 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 Entrants who have won the regional prize three times are also not eligible to submit to the prize.
- 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 2024.
- If your entry has been shortlisted or won a prize in other competitions, provided it has not been published, it is eligible.
- Entries, including those in translation, must be made by the original author.
- Entries will only be accepted via the online entry form.
- Only one entry per writer each year may be submitted for the Commonwealth Short Story
- The story must be the entrant’s own work.
- The story must be original work and should not have been published anywhere, in full or in part, in any language, before 1 May 2024. Published work is taken to mean published in any printed, publicly accessible form, g. anthology, magazine, newspaper. It is also taken to mean published online, except for personal blogs, personal websites and personal Facebook pages.
- Entries previously submitted to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible.
- Entries should be submitted in English, with the following exceptions: entries from Commonwealth citizens who write in Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Maltese, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish and who do not have an English translation of their story, may submit their stories in the original language. English translations of short stories written in other languages are eligible if submitted by the writer (not the translator) and provided that the translator is also a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
- Simultaneous submissions are eligible as long as the entrant informs the organisers via email immediately should the story be accepted for publication elsewhere or be selected for a prize.
- Entries must be 2,000 words minimum, 5,000 words maximum (not including title).
- Entries should be uploaded in a PDF document. Please save your document as a PDF and use the title of the story as the file name. Please note that the story must not be saved as ‘Commonwealth Story’, ‘Short Story’ or any other generic title. If it is not possible to save the entry as a PDF document, it may be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document, with the file name in the same format as The first page should include the name of the story and the number of words.
- The author’s details should be included on the entry form. They must not be given anywhere on the uploaded document. All entries are judged anonymously.
- Where applicable, the translator’s details should be included on the entry form.
- Entries in English should be submitted in Arial 12-point font and double line For entries in other languages, the appropriate font should be used. All pages should be numbered.
- Entrants agree as a condition of entry that the prize organisers may publicise the fact that a story has been entered or shortlisted for the prize.
- Worldwide copyright of each story remains with the writer. The Commonwealth Foundation will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning stories (the overall winning story and the four regional winning stories) online, in an anthology, or for promotional purposes where appropriate.
- The shortlisted writers, the regional winners, and the overall winner will be expected to take part in publicity activities including social media where possible.
- The overall and regional winners may be expected to undertake a mutually acceptable programme of regional outreach activities to develop and promote the Commonwealth Foundation.
Application Deadline: November 1, 2023Application ClosedOfficial link