The Commonwealth Short Story Prize announced its shortlist of 24 stories for 2018 on Wednesday, out of a total of 5,182 submitted entries. Awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth, the prize is given to five regional winners (Asia, Pacific, Africa, Canada and Europe, and Caribbean) who receive £2,500 each and an overall winner from among them who receives a total of £5,000. Entries were received from 48 Commonwealth countries this year, and the shortlist spans stories from 14 countries.

The four stories from the Asian region on this year’s shortlist include two from India (by Sagnik Datta and Kritika Pandey, respectively), one from Bangladesh and one from Singapore:

  • “The Divine Pregnancy in a Twelve-Year-Old Woman”, Sagnik Datta (India)
  • Jyamitik Zadukor (The Geometric Wizard)”, Imran Khan (Bangladesh)
  • “Night Fishing”, Karen Kwek (Singapore)
  • “A Girl Called Wednesday”, Kritika Pandey (India)

The prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. This year’s judges are Damon Galgut (Africa), Sunila Galappatti (Asia), Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Canada and Europe) Mark McWatt (Caribbean) and Paula Morris (Pacific).

Novelist and short story writer, and chair of the judges, Sarah Hall, said of this year’s shortlist: “The versatility and power of the short story is abundantly clear in this shortlist. With such a range of subject, style, language and imagination, it is clear what a culturally important and relevant form it is, facilitating many different creative approaches, many voices and versions of life.”

The prize was set up in 2012 for short stories between 2,000 and 5,000 words, when it was decided to shift the focus from books, so that unpublished and newer writers could be recognised. Translated entries are also eligible for the prize, as are stories written in the original Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil. All the previous winning stories can be read here.