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Commonwealth Writers 2012 Shortlists Announced

Commonwealth Writers

Commonwealth Writers has announced the shortlists for the Commonwealth Book Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Regional winners for Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific will be announced May 22, 2012. The overall winners of both competitions will be announced June 8, 2012.

The Caribbean pickings in the Book Prize shortlist are very slim. Jamaica's Alecia McKenzie’s with her novel Sweetheart is the only Caribbean entry shortlisted for the prestigious prize. Sweetheart is published by Peepal Tree Press. The region however can half-claim two other entries from the Jamaican Diaspora. Olive Senior’s Dancing Lessons, published by Coromant Books, and Kerry Young's Pao, published by Bloomsbury, have also been shortlisted. However Dancing Lessons was entered under Canada and Pao under the UK.

The region fared much better in the shortlist of short stories. 'Glory', Janice Lynn Mather (The Bahamas); 'The Dolphin Catcher', Diana McCaulay (Jamaica), 'Devil Star', Hazel Campbell (Jamaica) and 'Friends', Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago) were all shortlisted for the prize.

The competition was significantly re-vamped last year. Previously there had been the Comonwealth Book Prize and the Commonwealth First Book Prize with a Commonwealth short short story prize, accepting stories of up to 600 words, being held separately. This year the short story prize accepts longer works and there is now a sole prize for manuscript length works, the First Book Prize. Additionally, the Caribbean and Canada are no longer paired as a region. The Caribbean now stands on its own and Canada has been paired with Europe.

The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize marked tis 25th year in 2011 and is now administered as a part of Commonwealth Writers.

Commonwealth Book Prize
The Wandering Falcon, Jamil Ahmad (Pakistan), Hamish Hamilton
Patchwork, Ellen Banda-Aaku (Zambia), Penguin Books, South Africa
Rebirth: a novel, Jahnavi Barua (India), Penguin Books India
The Sly Company of People Who Care, Rahul Bhattacharya (India) Picador
The Ottoman Hotel, Christopher Currie (Australia), The Text Publishing Company
A Cupboard Full of Coats, Yvvette Edwards (UK), Oneworld Publications
The Book of Answers, CY Gopinath (India), HarperCollins India
Jubilee, Shelley Harris (South Africa), Weidenfeld & Nicolson
The Dancing and the Death on Lemon Street, Denis Hirson (UK), Jacana Media
The Vanishing Act, Mette Jakobsen (Australia), The Text Publishing Company
Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lanka), Random House India
Purple Threads, Jeanine Leane (Australia), University of Queensland Press
Sweetheart, Alecia McKenzie (Jamaica), Peepal Tree Press
The Town that Drowned, Riel Nason (Canada), Goose Lane Editions
Dancing Lessons, Olive Senior (Canada), Cormorant Books
The Dubious Salvation of Jack V, Jacques Strauss (South Africa), Jonathan Cape
Me and Mr Booker, Cory Taylor (Australia), The Text Publishing Company
Pao, Kerry Young (UK), Bloomsbury

Commonwealth Short Story Prize
Morrison Okoli (1955-2010), Jekwu Anyaegbuna (Nigeria)
Flight, Jayne Bauling (South Africa)
The Queen’s Blessing, Edyth Bulbring (South Africa)
Devil Star, Hazel Campbell (Jamaica)
Brothers, Adrienne Frater (New Zealand)
Like a Heart Maybe, but Cold, Chris Hill (UK)
The False River, Nick Holdstock (UK)
Radio Story, Anushka Jasraj (India)
Rush, Nic Low (Australia)
Elbow, Khadija Magardie (South Africa)
Two Girls in a Boat, Emma Martin (New Zealand)
Glory, Janice Lynn Mather (The Bahamas)
The Dolphin Catcher, Diana McCaulay (Jamaica)
Friends, Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)
The Ghost Marriage, Andrea Mullaney (UK)
If These Walls had Ears, Carl Nixon (New Zealand)
Next Full Moon We’ll Release Juno Bridget Pitt (South Africa)
The Crane, Sarah Quigley (New Zealand)
Drums, Mahesh Rao (UK)
Ammulu, Poile Sengupta (India)
Another Dull Day, Sreejith Sukumaran (India)