Pacific essayist join judges panel for 10th annual Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Pacific essayist and fiction writer, Tina Makereti has been appointed to the international panel of judges for the 10th Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

New- Zealand’s Makereti is an award-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction whose work has appeared in a range of literary journals, magazines and anthologies.

Her fellow judges, drawn from the other regions of the Commonwealth, are Nigerian author A. Igoni Barrett (Africa), Bangladeshi writer and editor Khademul Islam (Asia), British poet and fiction writer Keith Jarrett (Canada and Europe), Jamaican environmental activist and author Diana McCaulay (Caribbean).

South African novelist and critic Zoë Wicomb will chair the panel of judges.

Wicomb said, ‘I'm delighted to be Chair of the judges for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, one of the most renowned literary competitions in the world with a reputation for unearthing original and thought-provoking stories from across the Commonwealth. I'm very much looking forward to reading the stories and working with my fellow judges to identify the best ones, before introducing them and the writers to the wider global audience.’

Prize now open for entries

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is accepting entries from until 1 November 2020. The competition is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation, through its cultural initiative Commonwealth Writers. The prize is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and is free to enter. Now in its tenth year, the Prize has a growing reputation for discovering and elevating new talent. The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words). The five regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

In addition to English, submissions are accepted in the original Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil, and Turkish. Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted and the translator of any story that wins (regional or overall) also receives prize money.

The five regional winning stories are published online by the literary magazine Granta. Past winners of the prize have gone on to win other literary competitions and secure book deals.

The overall winner is announced at a ceremony which is held in a different region of the Commonwealth each year. All regional winners are invited to attend this special event which provides opportunities to network with other writers and engage the media. Due to Covid-19, in 2020 the overall winner was announced during a special award ceremony which was broadcast online.

Kritika Pandey, Indian writer and overall winner of the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, said: ‘I chose to submit to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize because it is one of the few platforms that values the unique context of the postcolonial writer. Every year, it brings together a diverse and accomplished judging panel that actively looks for stories that encompass the sociopolitical realities of the respective writers. In doing so, the prize amplifies voices that would not have found the right audience otherwise.

I recommend this short story competition to all writers who challenge the continued dominance of Eurocentric literature and consider their works to be as global as they are local.’

Those interested in applying can find out more about eligibility, rules, and the submission process at


Photo Te Ara Caption: Essayist and fiction writer Tina Makereti is representing the Pacific on the international panel of judges for the 10th Commonwealth Short Story Prize.