Entry for the 2010 Commonwealth Writers? Prize is now open

The 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the global prize for fiction for both established and new writers, has opened for entry. The two categories, for Best Book, worth ?10,000 to the overall winner, and Best First Book, worth ?5,000 to the overall winner, are open to published writers from across the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

The Prize, now in its 24th year, celebrates cutting-edge fiction across four regions of the Commonwealth: Africa; Canada and Caribbean; South Asia and Europe and South East Asia and Pacific. Last year more than 350 entries were received with the regional winners emerging from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK.

The judging is unlike that of any other major literary award, with twelve judges from different countries having a say in the choice of winning books. Judging takes place in two phases, with panels in four regions choosing two winners in the Best Book and Best First Book categories. These eight regional winners receive ?1,000, and are invited to participate in a final programme held in a Commonwealth country next May, where the two overall winners are decided by a pan-Commonwealth panel.

In 2009, the two overall winners were announced at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in New Zealand. Best Book went to Australian writer, Christos Tsiolkas, for his novel The Slap, and Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif won Best First Book for his novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes.

Tsiolkas said winning the award was more than just prestige. “It strikes me that the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize has a more rigorous and purposeful commitment to representing the breadth of writing in English than any other comparable prize.

Last night, before the judging of the award, the screen at the auditorium listed all the regional winners and I was so proud to be in that rich wonderful company.

The best part of the prize has come from meeting these fellow writers and to have begun a conversation across borders. Having come to know and respect the rigour of the judging process this last week, I am humbled to have received this award.

It feels remarkable to have been selected by peers who are truly representative of the reach, diversity and complexity of the Commonwealth. I feel profoundly grateful.” Tsiolkas said.

Entries for the Prize should be made by publishers. For entry forms and more information, go to:

Notes to Editors

1. Further information, downloadable entry forms and online entry for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010 is available at

2. Entry for the Prize closes on 15 November 2009. Late entries can be submitted until 31 December 2009. Publishers should refer to entry rules available on the Prize website for full details.

3. Every year, prizes are given for the Best Book and Best First Book, valued at ?1,000, in each of the four Commonwealth Regions: Africa, Canada and Caribbean and Canada, South Asia and Europe, South East Asia and Pacific. From these regions, the overall winner for the Best Book and Best First Book prizes are chosen. The 2010 chairs are:

Elinor Sisulu (South Africa)

Caribbean and Canada
Dr Antonia MacDonald-Smythe (Grenada)

South Asia and Europe

Muneeza Shamsie (Pakistan)

South East Asia and Pacific
Dr Anne Brewster (Australia)

3. The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, established in 1987 is organised and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation with the support of the Macquarie Group Foundation. The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental body working to help civil society organisations promote democracy, development and cultural understanding in Commonwealth countries.

4. The Macquarie Group Foundation is one of Australia’s leading corporate benefactors. In the year to 31 March 2009 the Macquarie Group Foundation together with Macquarie Group staff donated $A26 million to more than 900 not-for-profit organisations around the world. It is the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group Limited, which is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services.

5. Logos are available from the Commonwealth Foundation

Further media information:
Marcie Shaoul
Commonwealth Foundation
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 6582
E: m.shaoul@commonwealth.int

General information:
Jennifer Sobol
Commonwealth Foundation
Tel: +44 (0)20 77476262
E: j.sobol@commonwealth.int

Jennifer Sobol

Programme Officer ? Culture

Commonwealth Foundation

+44 (0) 20 7747 6262

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