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Four Caribbean Writers Make Commonwealth Writers Shortlist

Four Caribbean Writers Make Commonwealth Writers Shortlist

Four Caribbean writers from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have made it to the shortlist for the 2017 Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize. The not so short, shortlist comprising 21 writers from across the commonwealth was recently announced. Jamaica’s Roland Watson-Grant with ‘Cursing Mrs. Murphy’ and Trinidad and Tobago’s Jon Lewis-Katz with ‘Shopping’, Caroline McKenzie with ‘The Dying Wish’ and Ingrid Persaud with ‘The Sweet Sop’ comprise the four writers from the region. The Caribbean also gets a braata via Canada as Barbadian-Canadian writer Jasmine Sealy makes the regional list for Canada and Europe with ‘Hot Pot’.

The 2017 prize received a close to 6,000 almost 50% more than last year’s. Interestingly, representation of Caribbean writers vying for the regional prize has increased by 100% as last year, there were only two (Lance Dowrich of Trinidad and Tobago and Nova Gordon-Bell of Jamaica). 

Chair of the judges, novelist Kamila Shamsie, had great praise for the shortlist. 

“The extraordinary ability of the short story to plunge you into places, perspectives and emotions and inhabit them fully in the space of only a few pages is on dazzling display in this shortlist. The judges weren’t looking for particular themes or styles, but rather for stories that live and breathe. That they do so with such an impressive range of subject matter and tone has been a particular pleasure of re-reading the shortlisted stories,” she said.

The Prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The 2017 judges are Zukiswa Wanner (Africa), Mahesh Rao (Asia), Jacqueline Baker (Canada and Europe), Jacob Ross (Caribbean) and Vilsoni Hereniko (Pacific).

Regional prizewinners receive £2,500 while the overall winner receives £5,000.

The Full Shortlist

‘Cursing Mrs. Murphy’ - Roland Watson-Grant (Jamaica)

‘Shopping’ - Jon Lewis-Katz (Trinidad and Tobago)

‘The Dying Wish’ - Caroline McKenzie (Trinidad and Tobago)

‘The Sweet Sop’ - Ingrid Persaud (Trinidad and Tobago)

‘An Enquiry into Morality’ - Tom Vowler (United Kingdom)

‘Echolocation’ - Sarah Jackson (United Kingdom)

‘Gypsy in the Moonlight’ - Caroline Gill (Canada)

‘Hot Pot’ - Jasmine Sealy (Canada)

‘Swimmer of Yangtze’ - Yiming Ma (Canada)

The Naming of Moths’ - Tracy Fells (United Kingdom)

‘By Way of a Life Plot’ - Kelechi Njoku (Nigeria)

‘Nagmaal' - Diane Awerbuck (South Africa)

‘Who is Like God’ - Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria)

‘Drawing Lessons’, Aushka Jasraj (India)

‘Close to Home’ - Jinny Kok (Singapore)

‘Gauloises Blue’ - Ruth Lacey (Australia)

‘Harbour’ - Chloe Wilson (Australia)

‘Immunity’ - Damon Chua (Singapore)

‘The Brief, Insignificant History of Peter Abraham Stanhope’ - Mary Rokanadravu (Fiji)

‘The Death of Margaret Roe’ - Nat Newman (Australia)

 ‘Numb’ - Myfawy McDonald (Australia)