It’s all shades of excitement over here as The Commonwealth Foundation rolled out its shortlist for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
This prestigious yearly Prize is reputable for giving accolades to the best piece of unpublished short stories from the Commonwealth. For 2022, there were a total of 6,730 entries across five continents. 26 unique stories got to the final stage. Five (5) of these shortlisted stories were from African countries. Two from Nigeria, one from Uganda, one from Zambia, and one from Eswatini. This is the first Swazi writer to get into this shortlist.
A summary of the African shortlist:
1. Lifestyle Guide for The Discerning Witch by Franklyn Usouwa (Nigeria). A story that centers around the impacts of cultural gender bias effects on the development of a girl and the ripples of defiance that sent to mold the woman she becomes.
2. Something Happened Here” by Dera Duru (Nigeria). After a man squanders several years of his life being on the run, he finally decides to return home to battle his past demons and his brother’s ghost.
3. Thandiwe by Mubanga Kalimamukwento (Zambia). A shredded story that redefines the meaning of family through the lens of a hurting daughter caring for her sick mother.
4. How to Operate the New Eco-Protect Five-in-One Climate Control Apparatus by Charlie Muhumuza (Uganda. Based in 2050, the book revolves around an attached user manual that presents the unique functions of a new home appliance with instant use cases and outcomes.
5. and the earth drank deep by Ntsika Kota (eSwatini). A story that stems from our species’ deep past; of a day when earth witnessed the first flowing of cold blood and drank deep.
Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar presides as the Chair of The Judges. He commended the wisdom and the versatility of the stories. He further went on to point out the shortlisted writers’ remarkable ability to balance history and storytelling and said:
“These stories are as diverse as the world that they are drawn from and care about: they reflect a complex and afflicted planet; they answer the call of today’s multiple societal tensions by acts of reading that transform how the reader views that world.”
A hearty congratulations to everyone who made the list. They all deserve to be called winners regardless of who later clinches the prize as regional and overall winners come May 23rd and June 21st, respectively. The regional winners will be published online by the literary magazine Granta. Similarly, The 2022 shortlisted stories will get published online in the innovative online magazine of the Commonwealth Foundation, Adda.
The overall winner receives £5,000, and the regional winners receive £2,500.
Click HERE to see the full shortlist.