2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Deadline: 1 November 2018
Open to: citizens of a Commonwealth country aged 18 years or over
Benefits: EUR 6600(GBP 5,000 – overall winner); EUR 3200(GBP 2,500 – four regional winners)


The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is run by Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation.

The prize covers the Commonwealth regions of 1. Africa, 2. Asia, 3. Canada and Europe, 4. Caribbean and 5. Pacific.

The international judging panel comprises one judge from each of the five regions. Please note that while the entries will be judged regionally, all judges will read and deliberate on entries from all regions. The final selection will be judged by an international judging panel; experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the long list.


  • Entrants must be citizens of a Commonwealth country – please see Section 4 for the list of Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth Foundation will request verification of citizenship before winners are selected. Entries from 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;
  • There is no requirement for the writer to have a current residence in a Commonwealth country, providing they are a citizen of a Commonwealth country;
  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over on 1 November 2018;
  •  All entries will be accepted at the discretion of the Commonwealth Foundation which will exercise its judgment, in consultation with the prize chair, 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;
  • Entries from previous overall winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible;
  • Entries from previous regional winners are eligible;
  • Entries from current members of staff at the Commonwealth Foundation are not eligible;
  • Entries must be unpublished and remain unpublished in any language until 1 May 2019.


There will be five winners, one from each region. One regional winner will be selected as the overall winner. The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive around EUR 6600(GBP 5,000) and the remaining four regional winners round 3200 (GBP 2,500). If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money.

Prize regions:

  • Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, eSwatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia. Overseas Territories: Saint Helena, Tristan Da Cunha, Ascension Island;
  • Asia: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, 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, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. Overseas Territories: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands,Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Overseas Territory: Pitcairn.

How to apply?

Entries are submitted through the online application. 

For more information please visit the official website.