Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Over £15,000 prize money) for Citizens of Commonwealth Countries

The Short Story Prize

Course(s) Offered: Short Stories
Course Level: Writing contest / competition
Provider: Commonwealth Foundation
Country to Study in: Commonwealth countries

Scholarship Description
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. Short stories translated into English from other languages, and some selected writers without English translations, are also eligible.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is part of the work of the Commonwealth Writers (CW) - the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation. CW develop the craft of individual writers and build communities of emerging voices which can influence the decision-making processes affecting their lives.

Regional and Overall winners who emerge receive prizes. The Prize aims to identify talented writers who will go on to inspire their local communities. Entries for 2019 CW Contest Open 1st September 2018.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The story must be original and should not have been previously published anywhere in full or in part. Published work is taken to mean published in any printed, publicly accessible form, e.g. anthology, magazine, newspaper. It is also taken to mean published online, with the exception of personal blogs and personal websites.

The following eligibility guidelines apply:
  • Entrants must be citizens of a Commonwealth country. The Commonwealth Foundation will request verification of citizenship before winners are selected. Writers from non-Commonwealth countries (including the Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe) are not eligible.
  • For regional purposes, entries will be judged by country of citizenship. Where the writer has dual citizenship, the entry will be judged in the region where the writer is permanently resident.
  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • There is no requirement for the writer to have current residence in a Commonwealth country, providing she/he is a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
  • All entries will be accepted at the discretion of the Commonwealth Foundation which will exercise its judgement, in consultation with the prize chair as necessary, in ruling on questions of eligibility. The ruling of the chair on questions of eligibility is final, and no further correspondence will be entered into.
Selection Criteria:
The final selection will be judged by an international judging panel; experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the long lists.

Eligible groups
Citizens of Commonwealth regions ONLY as below:
  • AFRICA: Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia. Overseas Territories: St Helena, Tristan Da Cunha, Ascension Island.
  • ASIA: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka.
  • CANADA and EUROPE: Canada, Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom. Overseas Territories: Gibraltar, Falkland Islands.
  • CARIBBEAN: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.
  • OVERSEAS TERRITORIES: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • PACIFIC: Australia, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Overseas Territory: Pitcairn.
Participating Institutions
Commonwealth Writers (CW) from all regions of the Commonwealth, including:
  1. Africa,
  2. Asia,
  3. Canada and Europe,
  4. Caribbean and
  5. Pacific.
Fields of study
Writing of short fiction. The story must be the entrant’s own work

Number of awards
There will be five winners, one from each region. One regional winner will be selected as the overall winner.

Scholarship benefits
The overall winner receives £5,000 and the remaining four regional winners £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money: £2,000 for the overall winning story and £1,000 for a regional winning story.

Worldwide copyright of each story remains with the writer. The Commonwealth Foundation will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning stories (the overall winning story and the four regional winning stories) in an anthology and for promotional purposes.

Method of Application
Please note the following rules while submitting your entry:
  • Entries previously submitted to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible.
  • All entries must be in English. Translations of short stories written in languages other than English are eligible if submitted by the writer (not the translator) and provided the translator is a citizen of a Commonwealth country. Details of the translator must be stated on the entry.
  • Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible, and CW invite writers from Mozambique who write in Portuguese, and writers who write in Swahili and Bengali, and who do not have an English translation of their story, to submit their stories in the original language.
  • Entries must be 2,000 words minimum, 5,000 words maximum.
  • Entries should be uploaded in a PDF document. Please save your document as a PDF and use the title of the story as the file name. Please note the story must not be saved as ‘Commonwealth Story’, ‘Short Story’ or any other generic title. If it is not possible to save the entry as a PDF document, it may be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document, with the file name in the same format as above. The first page should include the name of the story and the number of words (and details of the translator if it is a story written in a language other than English).
  • The author’s details should be included in the entry form. They must not be given anywhere on the uploaded document. All entries are judged anonymously.
  • All entries should be submitted in Arial 12 point font and double line spacing.
  • There are no restrictions on setting, genre or theme.
  • The story should be adult fiction and must not have been written for children alone.
It is important to visit the official website (link to it is below) for the COMPLETE list of ENTRY RULES, and to submit your entry for the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Entries open 1st September 2018, and close 1 November 2018 (12 noon GMT). No entries will be considered if submitted after this date.

Commonwealth Writers (CW) inspires, develops and connects writers and storytellers in a range of disciplines. It builds communities of less-heard voices and links them to groups which seek to bring about social change.

Application Deadline: 1 November 2018
Open to International Applicants: No (ONLY Commonwealth citizens)

More Scholarship Information and Application

Related: Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Commonwealth Countries

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