Nigerian-German writer, Efua Traoré has been announced yesterday 28th June 2018 as the regional winner for Africa in the World’s most global literary prize, 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize was founded and is currently run by Commonwealth Writers, who develops and connects writers across the world and tackles the challenges they face in different regions as they are awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth.
Traoré who grew up in a little town in the south of Nigeria, won with a first person narrative that sees a 13-year-old boy wrestle with the question of what it means to find True Happiness. The prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The 2018 judges include Damon Galgut (Africa), Sunila Galappatti (Asia), Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Canada and Europe), Mark McWatt (Caribbean), and Paula Morris (Pacific) and the International Judging Panel was chaired by the novelist and poet Sarah Hall. The writers went through the several exercises that comprises of writing short stories dealing with issues like abortion, transgender identity, religion and mental illness.
Other Regional Winners include Jenny Bennet-Tuionetoa, a human rights advocate and LGBTQIA activist from Samoa was awarded in the Pacific region for Matalasi, a story that covers the lifetime of a young transgender man, set on the day of his agreed wedding as a woman, Kevin Jared Hosein won for his story, Passage, British writer and former videogame producer Lynda Clark was awarded in Europe for Ghillie’s Mum, and Sagnik Datta in Asia for The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve Year Old Woman.
The 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize partners with GRANTA, a British literary magazine which will publish all regional winner stories online. The overall winner of the 2018 prize will be announced at a ceremony in Cyprus on 25 July 2018.