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Three Caribbean Writers Shortlisted for Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014

Three Caribbean Writers Make Commonwealth Writers Shortlist

Three Caribbean writers hailing from Guyana, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago have made the list of nineteen writers vying for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

Guyanese-born Maggie Harris, currently living in the UK, takes her bite at the coveted prize with the story ‘Sending for Chantal’. Harris won the 2000 Guyana Prize for Literature with for her poetry collection, Limbolands.

The short story ‘Miss Annie Cooks Fish’, lands Trinidadian Charmaine Rousseau on the shortlist. Rouseau, a former teacher and newspaper editor and reviewer, has previously published under the pseudonym Liane Spicer. She works in multiple genres including speculative fiction, historical fiction, and the memoir writing.

Bahamian Helen Klonaris is vying for the prize with ‘Cowboy’. Kloranis has been previously published in SX Salon, Poui, The Caribbean Writer and Tongues of the Ocean and is working on a collection of short stories And The Bird Boy Sang.

African writers Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Adelehin Ijasan, and Michelle SacksAfrican writers in this year’s competition are split between Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, each with a single entrant. Nigerian Adelehin Ijasan’s entered the competition with ‘Ikanre’. Ijansan is a medical doctor whose fiction has been published in The Deepening, Membra Disjecta and Everyday Fiction.

‘All Them Savages’ by Michelle Sacks is the South African entrant. Sacks has been twice shortlisted for he PEN Prize for Southern African Fiction and her work has appeared in African Pens (2007 and 2011) edited by JM Coetzee. 

Ugandan novelist, poet and short story writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi  is the third entrant from Africa with ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly’. Her writing has been published in Moss Side Stories and Sweet Tongues while her novel The Kintu Saga won the Kwani Manuscript Project 2013.

Sara Adam Ang and Yu-Mei Balasingamchow of SingaporeSingapore provides the two representatives for the Asian region in this year’s competition. ‘Grandmother’ comes from Yu-Mei Balasingamchow. Currently working on her first novel, Balasingamchow co-authored Singapore: A Biography which earned a gold prize at the 2010 Asia Pacific Publishers Association Awards.

Balasingamchow’s country woman, Sara Adam Ang is entering the competition with one of the first stories she has writtern ‘A Day in the Death’.

Five writers from Canada and Europe are also contending for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Jack Wang is one of the two Canadians vying for the prize, with the short story ‘The Night of Broken Glass’. Wang is the recipient of the 2014 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Award and his fiction has appeared in Joyland Magazine.

Armed with ‘On the Other Side’, Idrissa Simmonds is the second Canadian in the competition. Reared in a Jamaican/Haitian household in Vancouver, Simmonds won the 2013 Crab Creek Review Poetry Award. She is a writer and organizational strategist.

Jack Wang, Idrissa Simmonds, Luiza Sauma, Tracey Fells and Lucy CaldwellThe short story ‘Agnes, Agnes, Agnes’ comes from Luiza Sauma of the United Kingdom. Sauma is currently working on her debut novel, Bethlehem, and has written for The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and Dazed and Confused

Tracey Fells, also of the UK, has been shortlisted with ‘Household Gods’. Fells is a writer of fiction and drama. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the HE Bates Short Story Prize and Hysteria.

The UK entrants are rounded out by Lucy Caldwell. Caldwell has earned the Goerge Devine Award, the Imison Award the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. She is the author of three novels and is currently working on her fourth, as well as her first collection of short stories.

The Pacific has the largest number of shortlisted entrants, with six writers hailing from New Zealand and Australia vying for 2014 Commonwealth Writers Prize. The entrants include ‘Tenure’ a story from novelist and short story writer Julian Novitz (New Zealand). Novitz earned the 2008 Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award  and published his first novel, Holocast Tours in 2006. His latest novel Little Sister, was published by Random House (2012).

‘Rhododendrons in Mist’ comes from Novitz’ countryman David Kerkt. Herkt  currently works in television production and has won tow Quantas Film and Television/ New Zealand Screen Awards. His fiction and reviews have been published in Australia and New Zealand.

Janine Mikosza, Daniel Anders, Lucy Treloar, Julian Novitz, Michael Hunt & David KerktFour writers from Australia made the shortlist. Lucy Treloar’s ‘The Dog and the Sea are among the contenders. Treloar earned the 2012 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award and the Asialink Writer’s Residency. Her writing has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories 2013, Overland, Sleepers and Seizure

Janine Mikosza’s ‘Monkey Boy’ is among the contenders. Currently working on her debut novel, The Accident, Mikosza has been shortlisted for the Fish and Bristol Short Story Prizes. 

An established Australian voice and a new one round out the entrants from Down Under. Daniel Anders enters his first writing competition with the short story ‘Hummingbird’. On the other hand, Michael Hunt has published several short stories, essays and articles, some of which have won awards. He is shortlisted for the story ‘Playing the Stringless Guitar’.