Read time: 2 mins

Shortlisted Stories 2021

by Commonwealth Writers
16 September 2021

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth. The 2021 shortlist was chosen from a record 6423 entries from 50 Commonwealth countries, and includes, for the first time, stories from Lesotho and Namibia.

Please find here on adda ISSUE 2 which contains nine shortlisted stories from the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. ISSUE 1 regroups nine other stories. Congratulations to all the shortlisted writers!

Chair of the Judges, South African novelist Zoë Wicomb, commented on the shortlist and the judging process:

‘Announcements about the death of the short story may be legion, but the 2021 shortlist loudly asserts that the form is in fine fettle. It also shows that writers continue to push at the very parameters of the short story. Many have tackled difficult subjects and found fresh means of representing these with courage and sensitivity. In this tenth year of the Prize we see from the submissions not only the flexibility of the form but also novel use of local non-standard Englishes as well as inventive inscription of native languages in standard English texts.

The judging panel was well exercised in deliberating on a range of stories from speculative fictions that address environmental and political crises to the hyper-real and the supernatural, stories that include concerns with sexual identity, gender relations, animal rights, neo-colonialism, racial exploitation and, of course, the perennial themes of love and death. The great number of excellent submissions and the equivocal nature of aesthetic taste made for protracted discussions. It has been a privilege to participate in vigorous argument and thoughtful horse-trading as members of the panel generously conceded and negotiated priorities.’


The 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is now open for online submissions and closes on 1 November 2021. Please click here for more details.


Image Ruby Solomon

About the Author

Commonwealth Writers

Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, helps develop, support and connect writers across the world. It was founded on the belief that well-told stories can help people make sense of events, engage with others, and take action to bring about change. Commonwealth Writers is committed to the promotion of linguistic diversity and […]

Related