Author, Researcher, Peace & Conflict Professional


  • 2016/2017 apexart New York City (NYC) Fellow
  • 2014 Winner Burt Award for African Literature, Kenya Chapter
  • 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing nominee
  • Ist Prize, Adult Fiction Category – NBDCK  Literary Awards, September 2008 Book Week

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize’s five regional winners have been announced today 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

South African writer Faraaz Mahomed has taken the Africa Regional prize for his story “The Pigeon”.

The 2016 Prize attracted nearly 4000 entries from 47 countries. After an initial sift by a team of international readers, the global judging panel, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth – Helon Habila (Africa), Firdous Azim (Asia), Pierre Mejlak (Canada and Europe) Olive Senior (Caribbean), and Patrick Holland (Pacific) settled on the short-list 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Short-list Announced. From this short-list, the judges selected the five regional winners.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize aims to “bring stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience”.

Chair of Judges, South African novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, said of the regional winners: “From Faraaz Mahomed’s ‘The Pigeon’ with its playful tone and unreliable narrator, Parashar Kulkarni’s ‘Cow and Company’, a witty satire that engagingly immerses the reader in its world, and ‘Eel’, a simply told and moving story of childhood by Stefanie Seddon to Lance Dowrich’s comedic ‘Ethelbert and the Free Cheese’ and Tina Makereti’s ‘Black Milk’, which impressed with a lyricism that takes the reader into another world while keeping us always on earth, these were all worthy winners and show how well the short story is flourishing in the Commonwealth.”

2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judge Helon Habila said: “The Africa region included stories on almost every conceivable theme, accentuating the endless complexity and beauty of the continent; a testament to the inexhaustible talent that abounds there. ‘The Pigeon’ is a carefully and patiently woven tale about love, lust, guilt, and escape. It illustrates just how, as humans, we will always come short of our ideals, and we must learn to live with that.”

Five winners from the five different Commonwealth regions are selected with each winning £2,500.00 The overall winner will be announced at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica on 5 June, and will be awarded £5,000.00

2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners

  • Pacific Regional Winner: “Black Milk” by Tina Makereti (New Zealand)
  • Asia Regional Winner: “Cow and Company” by Parashar Kulkarni (India)
  • Africa Regional Winner: “The Pigeon” by Faraaz Mahomed (South Africa)
  • Canada and Europe Regional Winner: “Eel” by Stefanie Seddon (UK)
  • Caribbean Regional Winner: “Ethelbert and the Free Cheese” by Lance Dowrich (Trinidad and Tobago)

This year Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta, and the winning story will be published online on that platform every Wednesday until 1 June. At the same time, a conversation between the regional judge and the regional winner will be available as a podcast. Excerpts from all 26 stories are available to read here: Commonwealth Writers website.

Congrats to all the winners!

Image courtesy of the Commonwealth Writers Website.

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