Commonwealth Short Story Prize

I’m delighted (and shocked) to have been shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize!
It’s for a version of The Ghost Marriage, which I’ve been trying to turn into a longer book over the last year, so this is a massive encouragement that I’m working on something which is worth pursuing. I’m so relieved I can’t even tell you.
Since writing this version, I’ve done a lot more historical research and made many changes to develop and expand the book. But it retains the essence of the initial story which I enjoyed writing so much that I didn’t want to leave these characters and that setting.
The prize is open to stories from 54 countries which is amazing: I imagine the entries were incredibly varied so it’s a real honour to be shortlisted. I have to admit, the Commonwealth as an entity is not something I’d previously thought about very much, but looking at the Foundation’s website, they seem to do some great work (there’s also a useful site for writers). They say: “We exist to empower charities, non-governmental organisations, professional associations, trade unions, faith groups and cultural practitioners; the lifeblood of any healthy society. We equip these groups with the tools required to contribute to national and international goals of democracy, good governance, sustainable development and cultural diversity.”
All good things, but the latter I think is something which is particularly in need of celebration at the moment, when “multiculturalism” has become a dirty word in some places and people are either deliberately or thoughtlessly denying the historical circumstances which have made the world the way it is.
My story is all about making connections (Scottish, Chinese, Japanese; men and women; the literal and the metaphorical; the physical and the poetic; commerce, war and Empire; the 19th Century and the 21st) so maybe that’s what made it a good fit for this competition. Or maybe not, I dunno!
I’m looking forward to finding out more about the other shortlisted stories. There’s also a prize for best (published) first novel – anyone read any of them?

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5 Comments

Filed under Competitions & Awards, Stories

5 responses to “Commonwealth Short Story Prize

  1. Lynley Gilchrist-Lunn

    Woo hoo! Well done you! I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Hi Andrea! Saw your comment on the SBT bog and remembered your name from our ill-fated Faber course šŸ™‚ Congrats on the shortlist for your short story and great to hear you’re still developing ‘The Ghost Marriage’. All the best and hope to cross paths again!

    • Thank you Helen and great to hear from you! Yes, that experience didn’t really go anywhere but it all helps, right? I see from your blog that you’re doing an MLitt at Stirling, hope it’s going well. Maybe we could hook up for a drink at Weegie Wednesday or something sometime?

      • Great to hear back from you too Andrea! I’ve never been to Weegie Wednesday- not brave enough just to breeze into a crowded room of strangers but if I knew that your friendly face was there, I’d give it a go. Let me know if you plan to go to one of their events.

  3. I don’t go that often but I want to check out their new venue (the CCA) so I will probably go next month – it’s usually the middle of the month – so let’s do it! If you’re on Facebook, you can join the WW group which will announce the date.

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