Win £15,000 Cash in The Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest 2024 for unpublished short fiction:
The prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual writing competition that recognizes talented new writers around the world. Founded in 2012, it aims to discover powerful and inspired voices that bring stories from their communities to a wider audience globally.
The prize is open to citizens from the 54 Commonwealth countries, providing an opportunity for writers from diverse backgrounds. It accepts unpublished short fiction between 2000-5000 words, making it ideal for new authors working on short stories.
The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024 will be awarded £15,000, providing a tremendous boost early in a writer’s career. Two runners-up receive £2500 each, while regional winners for Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific regions get £2500.
This article provides a comprehensive guide to the 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for aspiring writers looking to submit powerful short fiction and compete for the £15,000 cash award and international recognition.
Prize Background of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize was established in 2012 by the Commonwealth Foundation to promote emerging writers worldwide. It aims to identify new literature talent, bring stories from little-heard voices to wider audiences, and inspire more literary creativity across the diverse Commonwealth regions.
The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction between 2000-5000 words entered by Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and over. Submitted stories may be on any theme and subject. Entries must be original, unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere during the competition period.
Eligibility for Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024
The 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is open to citizens from the 54 Member States of the Commonwealth. This includes nations from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific. The full list is available on their website.
Entrants must be 18 years or above on 15 May 2024. Writers can be based anywhere but must be citizens of a Commonwealth country.
The story must be fiction between 2000-5000 words, submitted in English. Co-authored stories are not accepted. Only online entries are allowed on the official website during the submission window.
Previous winners are not eligible to apply again. Entries should not have been published anywhere in print or online or broadcast. Simultaneous submissions are allowed until you win but must be withdrawn immediately if you win.
Each writer can submit just one story to increase chances. The organizer can withdraw stories in breach of rules.
Key Dates and Deadlines of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024 opens for entries in November 2023. The final deadline for submitting stories is 15 February 2024. Entries received after this are invalid.
Key dates are:
- November 2023 – Competition opens for entries
- 15 February 2024 – Final deadline for story submission
- May 2024 – Shortlist of 21 stories announced (5 per region)
- June 2024 – Winner declared at the award ceremony in Canada
Writers must submit their stories well before the mid-February deadline to avoid disqualification. The shortlist is announced 3 months later, and the winner in June 2024.
Submission Guidelines and Process of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize only accepts online submissions entered directly through their website.
To enter, writers must first create a login on the website when the 2024 prize opens in November 2023.
The story must be 2000-5000 words, typed in double spacing. The file must be uploaded in .doc, .pdf, .rtf or .txt format. Print submissions are not accepted.
- Do not include names or personal info in the document to allow blind judging.
- A separate cover page should be attached giving the story title, word count, author name, citizenship, contact info and brief bio.
- Previously published stories in print or online cannot be submitted.
- Only one entry per person is permitted.
- Simultaneous submissions are allowed but must be withdrawn if you win.
- English translations are accepted for stories originally written in another language.
There is no entry fee for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Uploading your story file along with the cover page completes the submission process before the final deadline.
Judging Process and Criteria of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize follows a rigorous judging process to determine the winners. Entries first undergo an eligibility and technical check by the organizer.
Stories are then read anonymously by a panel of judges who are leading literary figures and authors. The international judging panel evaluates stories on literary merit, originality, depth, technical skill and overall impact.
Judges shortlist 21 stories – 5 per region. The shortlist is announced in May 2024.
The 5 regional winners are selected first. The overall winner is chosen from these 5, and announced at an award ceremony in June 2024 in Canada. Cash prizes are rewarded.
Previous winners have portrayed uniquely local worlds with universal resonance through masterful storytelling. Judges look for original voice, skillful language, evocative settings, impactful characterization and more.
The anonymized process ensures stories are judged solely on merit, without bias or prejudice based on author identity. The prestigious panel of judges guarantee outstanding writing is honored.
Winning stories tend to balance local particularity with global sensitivity, tackling themes that connect with worldwide audiences through deeply compelling narratives.
Benefits of Winning Commonwealth Short Story Prize
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize offers tremendous benefits to winners in the form of cash prizes, publishing opportunities, mentoring, global exposure and more.
The overall winner receives £15,000, a huge boost for an emerging writer. The two runners-up get £2500 each, while the five regional winners receive £2500 each – making it a total of £25,000 in cash prizes.
Winners are featured by the Commonwealth Foundation across their channels and seen by literature lovers worldwide. Their story is published online and in a printed anthology. Winners also get mentoring guidance.
The global exposure leads to recognition, new audiences and publishing opportunities. Many winners go on to published books and acclaimed writing careers. Previous winners have gained agents and book deals through the prize.
Just being shortlisted provides excellent exposure for a writer starting out. Shortlisted authors are promoted by the Commonwealth Foundation, opening further opportunities.
Many past winners say the encouragement of winning this early in their career gave their writing a tremendous boost and validation. It’s an unparalleled opportunity for unpublished fiction writers to gain global readership.
Past Winners of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest
Previous Commonwealth Short Story Prize winners include rising literary talents across Commonwealth regions:
- 2022 – Innocent Chizaram Ilo, Nigeria (Open arms)
- 2021 – Kateri Menzies, Canada (Caedere)
- 2020 – Kevin Jared Hosein, Trinidad and Tobago (Passage)
- 2019 – Nilanjana S. Roy, India (Jellyfish)
- 2018 – Akwaeke Emezi, Nigeria (Who is Like God)
- 2017 – Lesley Nneka Arimah, Nigeria (What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky)
- 2016 – Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenya (How to Write About Africa)
- 2015 – Andrea Eames, New Zealand (Marae)
- 2014 – Emma Martin, Australia (Gaps in the Rock)
- 2013 – Tina Makereti, New Zealand (Black Milk)
Many winners like Nilanjana S. Roy and Lesley Nneka Arimah have gone on to publish acclaimed fiction books after their Commonwealth Prize boost.
Tips for Entering Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024
If you plan to submit your short story for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024, keep these tips in mind:
- Start writing early to polish your story before the deadline. Rework the draft till it shines.
- Follow all submission guidelines precisely. Cross-check eligibility.
- Let your unique local perspective and voice shine while engaging larger universal themes.
- Focus on excellent language use, narrative style, structure, imagery and impact.
- Submit early during the window; avoid last-minute rush. Check entry confirmation.
- Blind judging favors unpublished writers over big names, so make the most opportunity.
- Believe in your story. Passion and dedication often lead to the strongest narratives.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024 offers unpublished fiction writers a life-changing opportunity for cash prizes, global exposure and launching their careers. With £15,000 for the winner, it’s among the world’s most lucrative awards for short stories. Entries open in November 2023, so begin crafting your powerful narratives now. Let your bold literary voice shine, capture universal human truths, and submit your outstanding short fiction before 15 February 2024 for a chance at recognition. This could be your breakthrough moment on the global literary stage.