Tok Pisin first for Commonwealth story prize

By EMMA D’COSTA – posted on PNG Attitude blog
| Commonwealth Foundation

LONDON, UK – Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar will chair an international panel of judges for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which is now open to 1 November 2021.

And for the first time the prize – offering a first prize of K24,000 – will accept stories in Creole languages like Tok Pisin.

The other judges, drawn from the five regions of the Commonwealth, are Rwandan publisher Louise Umutoni-Bower, Indian author Jahnavi Barua, Cypriot writer Stephanos Stephanides, Trinidadian novelist Kevin Jared Hosein, and Australian writer and poet Jeanine Leane.

The prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation, the intergovernmental arm of the Commonwealth that works to support and amplify the voice of civil society.

The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) and is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and free to enter.

Five regional winners each receive £2,500 (K12,000) and the overall winner £5,000 (K24,000).

“Many view the short story as fiction in its most refined form,” said chief judge, Fred D’Aguiar.

“With the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the global Commonwealth, as articulated by its writers, can be seen as a kaleidoscope of traditions, peoples and places, that is, the best of the Commonwealth at its imagined best.”

The prize now open for entries which will be accepted up until 1 November 2021.

In addition to English, stories can be submitted in a number of languages including, for the first time, Tok Pisin.

Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted and the translator of any story that wins will also receive prize money.

Now in its eleventh year, the prize has a strong reputation for discovering and elevating new talent.

“If you are a writer—which is to say, a person who cannot exist without writing—then you must avail yourself of this opportunity to have your work read and amplified and championed by one of the most diverse communities of writers anywhere in the literary world,” said last year’s winner, Sri Lanka writer Kanya D’Almeida.

“Don’t enter thinking I need this prize. Enter believing this prize needs me.”

If you are interested in applying, you can find out more here:

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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