Judges announced for 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

19 September 2023
story competition

Award-winning Ugandan-British writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi to chair high-profile international judging panel. Prize opens for submissions until 1 November 2023. Entrants can submit stories in 13 languages for the chance to win international recognition and prize money.

London, UK. Ugandan-British novelist and short story writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi will chair an international panel of judges for the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the world’s most global literary prize. Jennifer was the overall prize winner in 2014, and previous winners include Ingrid Persaud, Kevin Jared Hosein, Kanya D’Almeida, Rémy Ngamije, and Mary Rokonadravu.

Jennifer’s fellow judges, drawn from the five regions of the Commonwealth, 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).

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.’

Prize now open for entries

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is accepting entries until 1 November 2023. The competition is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation. It is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries aged 18 and over and is free to enter. Now in its thirteenth year, the prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words).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 Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Malay, Maltese, 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.

The five regional winning stories are published online by the literary magazine Granta and in a special print collection from Paper + Ink. The shortlisted stories are published in the Foundation’s online literary magazine adda. The prize has a growing reputation for discovering and elevating new talent and offers equal opportunity to unpublished writers to give them recognition alongside more established practitioners. Past winners of the prize have gone on to win other literary competitions as well as secure agents and book deals.

Last year’s overall winner, Jamaican Kwame McPherson, had this to say to potential entrants:

‘To be recognised for your writing is phenomenal, it is at once exciting and heart stopping. One of the major lessons I have learned as a writer is consistency and perseverance. Thus, never take no for an answer nor be discouraged if what you have written seemingly goes nowhere because, eventually, your writing and you will be recognised. You are a winner because you are taking part and you will grow from the experience. The prize is an immense opportunity, so enjoy it and feel empowered and motivated by the journey.’

Those interested in applying can find out more about eligibility, rules, and the submission process here.