Five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500. Winners of the prize as well as shortlisted writers are usually invited to take part in festivals and events throughout the Commonwealth.
About the Prize
- The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction
administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation.
- The prize covers: Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe,
Caribbean and the Pacific which are Commonwealth regions.
- 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.
- 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 £5,000 and the remaining four regional winners £2,500.
- If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money.
- The final selection will be judged by an international judging panel; experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the longlist.
Who is eligible?
1. Only citizens of a Commonwealth country – please download PDF to see 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.
2. 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
3. There is no requirement for the writer to have current residence in a Commonwealth country,
providing they are a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
4. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over on 1 November 2018.
5. All entries will be accepted at the discretion of the Commonwealth Foundation which will
exercise its judgement, 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.
6. Previous overall winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible.
Previous regional winners are eligible.
7. Current members of staff at the Commonwealth Foundation are not eligible.
8. Entries must be unpublished and remain unpublished in any language until 1 May 2019.
“There are certain kinds of stories that need a short story, because that’s what they are…it can be a perfectly formed drop of water, and that’s what it needs to be. It should not be stretched out and turned into a rainstorm”,
– Sandip Roy, journalist, Dhaka.
Rules for Entering the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2019
- Entries, including those in translation, must be made by the original author.
Entries will only be accepted via the online entry form.
- Only one entry per writer may be submitted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
- The story must be the entrant’s own work.
- The story must be original work and should not have been published anywhere, in full or in part, in any language, before 1 May 2019. Published work is taken to mean published in any
printed, publicly accessible form, e.g. anthology, magazine, newspaper. It is also taken to mean published online, with the exception of personal blogs and personal websites.
- Entries previously submitted to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible.
- Entries should be submitted in English, with the following exceptions: entries from
Commonwealth citizens who write in Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil and who do not have an English translation of their story, may submit their stories in
the original language. English translations of short stories written in other languages are eligible if submitted by the writer (not the translator) and provided the translator is also a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
Simultaneous submissions are eligible as long as the entrant informs the Prize immediately
should the story be accepted for publication elsewhere or be selected for a prize.
- Entries must be 2,000 words minimum, 5,000 words maximum (not including title).
- Entries should be uploaded in a PDF document. Please save your document as a PDF and use the title of the story as the file name. Please note the story must not be saved as
‘Commonwealth Story’, ‘Short Story’ or any other generic title. If it is not possible to save the entry as a PDF document, it may be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document, with the file name in the same format as above. The first page should include the name of the story and the number of words.
- The author’s details should be included on the entry form. They must not be given anywhere on the uploaded document. All entries are judged anonymously.
- Where applicable, the translator’s details should be included on the entry form.
- All entries should be submitted in Arial 12-point font and double line spacing. All pages should be numbered and include a header with the title of the story.
- There are no restrictions on setting, genre or theme.
- The story should be adult fiction and must not have been written for children alone.
- Entrants agree as a condition of entry that the prize organisers may publicise the fact that a story has been entered or shortlisted for the Prize.
- Worldwide copyright of each story remains with the writer. Commonwealth Writers will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning stories (the overall winning story and the four regional winning stories) in an anthology and for promotional purposes.
- The overall and regional winners will be expected to take part in publicity activities including social media where possible.
- The overall and regional winners will be expected to undertake a mutually acceptable programme of regional outreach activities to develop and promote Commonwealth Writers.
Be sure to submit your entries on or before November 1st 2018 (11.59pm in any time zone)
No entries will be considered if submitted after this date.
If you have further entry or eligibility queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org for
clarification before submitting an entry, or visit.
Pitch your dreams!