The 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Open for entry 1 September – 1 November 2017

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience. You don’t need an agent, just an internet connection to submit your unpublished story of 2000-5000 words. Entry is always free and stories translated into English are also eligible.

Five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500.

The 2017 prize has now closed for entries.

“Prizes like the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are essential for introducing readers to emerging voices; we’re proud to be one of the first to publish these new talents.”

Sigrid Rausing, Editor, Granta

Many of our winners and shortlisted writers are invited to take part in festivals and events throughout the Commonwealth as well as Commonwealth Writers workshops.

“Winning the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2012 was without doubt a turning point for me – it made me take myself seriously as a writer. I hadn’t yet published a book, so it was amazing to know that a panel of judges from five continents had felt a connection with my writing. What that does for a new writer’s confidence is immense.”

Emma Martin, Overall Winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

In 2013, Commonwealth Writers took the decision to shift book prizes in favour of a prize for a single short story, allowing more genuinely unpublished, “new” writers to enter. Since then entries to the prize have increased each year, and more people join our online community of writers every day.

Speaking to Commonwealth Writers at the 2013 Hay Dhaka Festival, journalist Sandip Roy suggested that the short form can often tell stories the novel cannot:

“There are certain kinds of stories that need a short story, because that’s what they are…it can be a perfectly formed drop of water, and that’s what it needs to be. It should not be stretched out and turned into a rainstorm”, Sandip Roy, journalist, Dhaka.

Awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Translated entries are also eligible, as are stories written in the original Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil.

The competition is free to enter.

Full entry and eligibility rules are available to download here in word format and PDF.

Only one entry per writer may be submitted.

Submit here through the online entry form.

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