Two Bajans triumph in Commonwealth Short Story Competition

Caribbean Highly Commended

  • Love, Honour and Obeah by Kathyann Husbands, Barbados
  • White Shoes by Edwina Griffith, Barbados
  • Letting Cockroaches Live by Sonja Dumas, Trinidad and Tobago

"Love, Honour and Obeah" by Kathyann Husbands, Barbados

However, on the overall basis – Philip Nash’s Rejoinder was selected as the winning entry in the 2011 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. UK-based Nash has taken inspiration from the coastlines of Kent where he grew up, and the seaside towns in southern England. His carefully crafted story reflects on this beauty with a sense of deep loss.

The chair of this year’s judging panel, Nicholas Laughlin (Trinidadian), describes why Rejoinder stood out: ‘With confident economy, but without feeling hurried or curtailed, Rejoinder tells the stories of not one but two romantic relationships that end abruptly and unhappily. This piece seems to encompass decades of emotional history in little more than a page, a remarkably difficult task for any writer.’

Funded and managed by the Commonwealth Foundation, in partnership with the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association [CBA], the Commonwealth Short Story Competition is an annual scheme to promote and inspire new creative writing for radio. The competition aims to be a catalyst for the winners as new writers as Philip Nash demonstrates: “Winning the Commonwealth Short Story Competition has boosted my confidence no end. I hope to be able to build on this success, and see more of my work in print.”

The special prize for a story on this year’s Commonwealth theme, Women as Agents of Change, was awarded to Indian writer, Lavanya Arvind, with her inspiring story of a woman starting a family business. The Story for Children special prize was awarded to Jamaican children’s author Diane Browne.

Here are the other Commendations;-

The winning stories introduce us to a wealth of intriguing characters as the stories unfold. The
listener is welcomed on board a rollercoaster ride of often poignant tales offering snapshots of life
around the Commonwealth.

A panel of international judges made the choices from over 2000 entries. The 2011 panel comprised
New Zealand writer and reviewer Jolisa Gracewood; Nicholas Laughlin, Editor of The Caribbean Review of Books, and a former judge of the Commonwealth Foundation’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; Nigerian author and 2009 Commonwealth Short Story regional winner, Kachi Ozumba; Frances Fortune, Director, Search for the Common Ground, Africa; and Sri Lankan television producer and editor Sharmini Boyle.

All 26 stories are available on a CD (contact the Commonwealth Foundation below) which will be broadcast widely around the Commonwealth. The stories are read by some of the finest readers for radio working in the United Kingdom such as the distinguished actors Nikki Amuka-Bird, Maynard Eziashi and Penny Downie as well as the accomplished actor and playwright Sudha Bhuchar.

Full list of winners – 2011 Commonwealth Short Story Competition

Overall Winner and Regional Winner for Canada and Europe
Rejoinder by Philip Nash, United Kingdom

Regional Winner for Africa
Martha by Basett Buyukah, Kenya

Regional Winner for Asia
The Maoist by Nikesh Murali, India

Regional Winner for the Caribbean
Head not make for hat alone by Barbara Jenkins, Trinidad and Tobago

Regional Winner for the Pacific
Ginger Beer by Sarah Bainbridge, New Zealand

Special Prize – Women as Agents of Change
The Crystal Snuff Box and the Papadum by Lavanya Arvind, India

Special Prize – Story for Children
The Happiness Dress by Diane Browne, Jamaica

Africa Highly Commended
Side-by-Side by Adele Mostert, South Africa
The Lucky Girl by Sheillah Maonga, Kenya
The Bride Price by Victor Idem, Nigeria
Stylish Marcella by Constance Obonyo, Uganda
Icarus by Jax Goss, South Africa

Asia Highly Commended
There is Love by Abeer Hoque, Bangladesh
Fair Enough by Leroy Luar, Malaysia
Swimming Pool by Madiha Aijaz, Pakistan

Canada and Europe Highly Commended
When Lions came in Brown Boxes by Joyce Thierry Llewellyn, Canada
The Book Instead by Kate Clanchy, United Kingdom
Turnip Gratin by Susan Luddem, United Kingdom
Prejudice by David Pinnell, United Kingdom

Pacific Highly Commended
The Levee by Catherine Mojsiewicz, Australia
Work Life by Dominic Carew, Australia
The Challenge by Ruperake Petaia, Samoa
How are you? by Lydia Sturton, Australia

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