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Maggie Harris of Guyana Cops Regional Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014

Regional Winners of Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize 2014

The regional winners of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize have been announced and Guyana’s Maggie Harris has snagged the Caribbean title with her story ‘Sending For Chantal’. 

“I am overwhelmed and thrilled to receive this acknowledgement of my work, and to represent the Caribbean,” Harris said in the release posted on the Commonwealth Writers website.

“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,” Harris continued. “The story of Chantal is one that I have carried in my mind for a very long time.”

The Guyanese-born writer migrated to the UK in 1971 and is also an award winning poet having copped the 2000 Guyana Prize for Literature with the collection Limbolands

Harris joins four other regional winners atop this year’s pile of emerging writers eager for the accolades brought by winning the prestigious prize. The competition had received closed to 4000 entries from the five regions the Caribbean, Canada and Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Jenniffer Nansubuga Makumbi of Uganda claimed the prize for the African region with ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly. 

“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,” Makumbi says on Commonwealth Writers.

Asia’s prize winner, Sara Adam Ang hails from Singapore. Ang entered the competition with the short story ‘A Day in the Death’. Lucy Caldwell of the UK earned the regional prize for Canada and Europe with ‘Killing Time’ while Australia’s Lucy Treloar earned the prize for the Pacific with ‘The Dog and the Sea’.

The 2014 panel of judges was chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize. The panel comprised  Doreen Baingana, (Africa), Michelle de Kretser (Pacific), Marlon James (Caribbean), Courttia Newland (Canada and Europe) and Jeet Thayil (Asia)