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NZ authors shortlisted for Commonwealth Short Story Prize

New Zealand authors shortlisted for 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Prize promotes strongest new stories from across the Commonwealth

Julian Novitz and David Kerkt have been shortlisted for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for their respective stories Tenure and Rhododendrons in Mist. The Prize provides a platform for writers from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth to inspire others by bringing compelling short stories to a wider audience.

Regional winners for the Commonwealth Short Story prize will be announced on 14 May for each of the five regions: Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The overall winner will be announced in Kampala, Uganda, on 13 June to coincide with a series of Commonwealth Writers initiatives in East Africa.

This year unpublished stories were entered by almost 4,000 writers across the five regions. For the first time entries from the Cayman Islands, Mozambique, Swaziland and Tonga were received for the Prize. The judges reflect the five regions: Doreen Baingana, (Africa), Michelle de Kretser (Pacific), Marlon James (Caribbean), Courttia Newland (Canada and Europe) and Jeet Thayil (Asia). The Chair is Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and previously Deputy Editor of Granta and Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House.

Ellah Allfrey, Chair, 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, said:

“This year it has been rewarding to see the ambition, skill and imaginations of writers across the Commonwealth displayed in works that cover a dazzling range of subjects. These are stories of rage and of love, of sexual experimentation and adventure; there are strong genre pieces and stories in which the voice of a character transports the reader to another time and place. Above all, the shortlist provides a glorious ride across continents and into the imaginations of writers whose work illustrates the power of a short story to inform, to challenge and to entertain.”

Lucy Hannah, Programme Manager, Commonwealth Writers, said:

"This year Commonwealth Writers focused its energies on one prize only - the short story. We're thrilled that entries have risen by more than fifty per cent and our geographical reach has attracted more stories from writers in countries with little or no publishing infrastructure. We're committed to growing the reach and diversity of the prize to mark the enduring appeal of the short story."

This year Commonwealth Writers announces a new association with the London-based literary and media agency Blake Friedmann, who will work with selected writers identified through the Prize. It will also continue its partnership with Granta to give the overall and regional winners of the 2014 Prize the opportunity to have their story edited and published by Granta online.

New Zealand author biographies:

Julian Novitz - Tenure
Julian Novitz is a short story writer and novelist from New Zealand. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he is a Lecturer in writing at the Swinburne University of Technology. His latest novel, Little Sister, was published by Random House in 2012. His first award-winning collection of short fiction, My Real Life and Other Stories, was followed 2006 by his first novel, Holocaust Tours. Julian won the 2008 Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award for his story Three Couples.

David Kerkt - Rhododendrons in Mist
David Herkt is a New Zealand-born writer who studied at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has had a varied career, working as a programme director for various Australian HIV/AIDS organisations before returning to New Zealand to work in television production. He has won two Qantas Film and Television/New Zealand Screen Awards for his work and his fiction, factual, and review work has been published in a number of Australian and New Zealand media outlets.

Full list of shortlisted stories and authors:

Africa
• Adelehin Ijasan, Ikanre, Nigeria
• Michelle Sacks, All Them Savages, South Africa
• Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Let's Tell This Story Properly, Uganda

Asia
• Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, Grandmother, Singapore
• Sara Adam Ang, A Day in the Death, Singapore

Canada and Europe
• Idrissa Simmonds, On The Other Side, Canada
• Jack Wang, The Night of Broken Glass, Canada
• Tracy Fells, Household Gods, United Kingdom
• Lucy Caldwell, Killing Time, United Kingdom
• Luiza Sauma, Agnes Agnes Agnes, United Kingdom

Caribbean
• Helen Klonaris, Cowboy, Bahamas
• Maggie Harris, Sending for Chantal, Guyana
• Charmaine Rousseau, Miss Annie Cooks Fish, Trinidad and Tobago

Pacific
• Janine Mikosza, Monkey Boy, Australia
• Michael Hunt, Playing the Stringless Guitar, Australia
• Daniel Anders, Hummingbird, Australia
• Lucy Treloar, The Dog and the Sea, Australia
• Julian Novitz, Tenure, New Zealand
• David Herkt, Rhododendrons in Mist, New Zealand

The Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). Regional winners will receive £2,500 and the Overall Winner will receive £5,000.Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible. Translators will receive additional prize money. The winner of the 2014 Prize will be announced on 13th June in Kampala, Uganda.

Commonwealth Writers
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is part of Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation. It identifies, develops and connects writers and storytellers in a range of disciplines. It builds communities of less-heard voices and links them to groups that are trying to bring about social change.
www.commonwealthwriters.org

Commonwealth Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation is a development organisation with an international remit and reach, uniquely situated at the interface between government and civil society. It develops the capacity of civil society to act together and learn from each other to engage with the institutions that shape people’s lives. It strives for more effective, responsive and accountable governance with civil society participation, which contributes to improved development outcomes. www.commonwealthfoundation.com

Granta
Granta is a quarterly literary magazine of new writing. Published in book format, each issue includes stories, essays, memoir, poetry and art centred around a theme. Throughout its long history, Granta has published the most significant writers of our time featuring work by writers including Julian Barnes, Edwidge Danticat, Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie, Santiago Roncagliolo, David Mitchell, Lorrie Moore, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson and more. In recent years, the magazine has expanded to include foreign-language editions – in Spain, Italy, Brazil, Norway, China, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria and Japan.www.granta.com

Blake Friedmann
Blake Friedmann is a literary, film and television agency, representing a broad range of writers globally in both fiction and non-fiction. Their focus is on working with the most talented, dynamic and exciting writers across all genres, and the intention is always to represent writers' careers, rather than individual books or projects, and to sell those writers into as many markets, languages and media platforms as possible.

Blake Friedmann authors have won a wide variety of prestigious prizes, including the Caine Prize, the Commonwealth Prize, the Orange Prize and PEN Awards; and been shortlisted for, among others, the Man Booker Prize, Guardian First Book Prize, Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and the Costa Book Awards. Their books have topped bestseller charts around the world, and continue to regularly appear in the Sunday Times bestseller lists.

ENDS

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