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Trinidad's Lance Dowrich Wins Regional Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize

Commonwealth Writers Regional Prize Winners 2016

Trinidad and Tobago’s Lance Dowrich’s ‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’ has copped the Caribbean prize in the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Dowrich is one of five regional winners recently announced. The overall winner will be announced by this year’s chair Gillian Slovo at the 2016 Calabash International Literary Festival, on Sunday, June 5, 2016.

Dowrich’s comedy, a story of loneliness and the search for love, was described by Olive Senior, the Caribbean representative on the 2016 panel of judges as filled with a carnivalesque spirit.

“‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’ captures the carnivalesque spirit of Trinidadian street life where a born loser’s destiny is everyone’s topic. While the tale is rooted in the Caribbean’s strong oral storytelling tradition, the author’s command of his material - character, plot, pace and the authenticity of language - leavened with a delicious wit, lifts the story into the pantheon of exuberant comic tales,” Senior said.

Dowrich is joined on the regional winners list by: Tina Makereti’s ‘Black Milk’ (The Pacific); Parashar Kulkarni’s ‘Cow and Company (Asia); Faraaz Mahomed’s ‘The Pigeon’ (Africa) and Stefanie Seddon’s ‘Eel’ (Canada and Europe).

Slovo had great praise for the caliber of stories selected from the over 4,000 entries submitted for this year’s prize.

“From Faraaz Mahomed’s ‘The Pigeon’ with its playful tone and unreliable narrator, Parashar Kulkarni’s ‘Cow and Company’, a witty satire that engagingly immerses the reader in its world, and ‘Eel’, a simply told and moving story of childhood by Stefanie Seddon to Lance Dowrich’s comedic ‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’ and Tina Makereti’s ‘Black Milk’, which impressed with a lyricism that takes the reader into another world while keeping us always on earth, these were all worthy winners and show how well the short story is flourishing in the Commonwealth,” Slovo said.

The June 5 announcement will be the prizes second appearance at Calabash, where it was announced in 2007, though then it comprised the Commonwealth First Book and Best Book prizes. 

The stories will be made available on Granta online, each Wednesday through to June 1, 2016.