2007 Commonwealth Short Story Competition
Yesterday they announced Ellen Banda-Aaku of Zambia as the winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Her story Sozi's Box was selected as the best story from the Africa region of the Commonwealth and as the winning story from more than two thousand entries.
Twenty five other writers from across the Commonwealth have also won prizes in the 2007 competition. I was one of them, for my short story Scissors.
The Commonwealth Short Story Competition exists to increase understanding between and appreciation of different Commonwealth cultures, to showcase the rich diversity of the Commonwealth and to support rising literary talents.
The competition has been held each year since 1996, administered by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association on behalf of the Commonwealth Foundation. Each year the competition identifies around 25 outstanding short stories and records them for radio broadcast around the Commonwealth.
Five regional winners are chosen, for Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Canada, Europe and the Pacific, of which one is then selected as the overall winner. Around 20 highly commended stories are also chosen. The overall winner of the competition receives £2,000, regional winners £500 and each highly commended author £100.
2006’s overall winner, Erin Soros of Canada joins a host of past winners who have used success in the competition as a spring board, and have gone on to write more short stories, as well as write and publish novels. Usha Rajagopalan, an Indian writer, published an acclaimed first novel Amrita after winning the competition. Laurie Kubuitsile, a Botswana writer, who received a Highly Commended award in 2004 for her short story, A Pot Full Of Tears, has since reached international audiences, winning a prize in the John Reid/Tom Howard contest (USA) and being published in the UK magazine, Mslexia. Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian writer, after winning the short story competition for The Tree in Grandma’s Garden, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and was winner of First Book Award for the 2005 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for her novel Purple Hibiscus. .
This year’s judges are writer Donna Daley-Clarke, writer and broadcaster Lucy Hannah, and Nathan Hamilton of the New Writing Partnership.