You are here

Passage to the Prize: Trinidadian Kevin Jared Hosein Wins the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Author Kevin Jared Hosein and chair of the 2018 CWW Prize, Sarah Hall

Trinidadian author and short story writer Kevin Jared Hosein has won the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story prize for ‘Passage’, a story that takes a midlife crisis-ridden forrester into the wilderness resulting in unexpected consequences. According to jury chair Sarah Hall, ‘Passage’ received immediate and universal admiration from the judges as it was a well-crafted piece of short fiction.

“Our winning story, Passage, was immediately and uniformly admired by the judges,” said Hall. “It is an uncanny bar story, about a man who hears a strange tale, only to become part of the tale’s re-lived strangeness. It balances between formal language and demotic, ideas of civility and ferality, is tightly woven and suspenseful, beautifully and eerily atmospheric, and finally surprising.”

Hall continued with high praise for the story. “It is, in essence, all a reader could want from the short story form; a truly crafted piece of fiction that transports the reader into another world, upends expectations, and questions the nature of narratives and narrative consequence.”

Hosein was named winner of the regional prize earlier in the year, a feat he also accomplished in 2015 for ‘The King of Settlement 4’. He is the author of three novels the most recent of which is The Beast of Kukuyo (Blouse and Skirt Books, 2018) which won a Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. He is also the author of The Repenters (Peepal Tree Press, 2016) which was shortlisted for both the OCM Bocas Prize for Literature and longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Prize.

Earlier in an interview with Lisa Allen-Agostini published in Newsday that in 2015 just prior to his first Commonwealth Writers Prize win he was plagued by depression coming from rejections to his writing. 

His statement about this latest win showed enthusiasm, modesty and hope that it will create a greater shift for writing and publishing in the region.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Hosein said. “First to be among this eclectic quintet of winning stories, all with central resonating themes – happiness, connection, isolation, freedom, repression, acceptance. Then to be chosen from that, I feel incredibly honoured that this Trinidadian tale has travelled so far. I hope others in my region are inspired by this accomplishment’.

Hosein’s writing has appeared Lightspeedadda, Moko, and We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture. He has also been twice shortlisted for the Small Axe Prize for prose.

The announcement of the 2018 Commonwealth Writers Prize was made in Cyprus yesterday, July 25, 2018.