Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi to chair Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024 jury.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is the chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024 jury announced today, September 1, 2023. She will be joined by among others Keletso Mopai (Africa) and Richard Georges (Caribbean).

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English in the regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Each of these winners is then eligible for the global prize. Some previous winners in the Africa region have been Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (2014), Lesley Nneka Arimah (2015), Faraaz Mahomed (2016), Akwaeke Emezi (2017), Efua Traoré (2018), Mbozi Haimbe (2019), Innocent Chizaram Ilo (2020), Rémy Ngamije and Roland Watson-Grant (2021), Ntsika Kota (2022), as well as Kwame McPherson and Hana Gammon (2023). Global winners include Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (2014) and Kwame McPherson (2023).

The judging panel for the 2024 edition of the prize announced today is chaired by previous winner Ugandan-British novelist and short story writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Multiple award winner Makumbi is the author of the titles Kintu (2014), Manchester Happened (2019), and The First Woman (2020). Apart from the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, she has won the Jhalak Prize, the Janzi Awards, the Kwani? Manuscript Project, and the Windham-Campbell Prize.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi said, ‘The Commonwealth Short Story Prize brings much of the writing world together to celebrate the short story form. As chair, I can’t wait to meet the talent the 2024 prize will unearth. I anticipate a diversity of worlds, a vast range of voices, some crazy tales, and the agony of making a choice. Bring it on.’

Other judges from the five regions are South African writer Keletso Mopai, (Africa), Singaporean short story writer, screenwriter, and novelist O Thiam Chin, (Asia), Canadian writer and editor Shashi Bhat (Canada/Europe), poet and author Richard Georges from the British Virgin Islands (Caribbean) and award-winning Australian Bundjalung writer Melissa Lucashenko (Pacific).

Keletso Mopai
Keletso Mopai

South African writer and geologist Keletso Mopai is the writer of the debut collection of short stories If You Keep Digging (2019, Blackbird Books). Her work has been published in several journals internationally including Internazionale, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Catapult, Portside Review, Imbiza Journal, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Lolwe, and anthologies such as Joburg Noir.  

Richard Georges
Richard Georges

Richard Georges is a writer of essays, fiction, and three collections of poetry. His most recent book, Epiphaneia (2019), won the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and his first book, Make Us All Islands (2017), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Richard is a founding editor of Moko magazine and the first Poet Laureate of the British Virgin Islands.  

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is accepting entries until November 1, 2023. The competition is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation. It is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and is free to enter. Now in its twelfth year, the Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words). The five regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

In addition to English, submissions are accepted in the original Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil, and Turkish. Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted and the translator of any story that wins (regional or overall) also receives prize money.

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