Author Kevin Jared Hosein from Trinidad and Tobago was announced as the overall winner of the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in a ceremony in Cyprus on Wednesday. He had earlier been declared a regional winner from the Caribbean, alongside four other winners – one each from the Commonwealth regions of Africa, Pacific, Europe and Asia. Indian writer Sagnik Datta was the winner from the Asia region.
Hosein, who had also won the regional prize in 2015, bagged the overall prize this year for his short story Passage, in which a midlife crisis-ridden protagonist goes into the wilderness in search for a mystery woman, with unforeseen consequences for others, and for himself. “I wasn’t expecting it,” Hosein said about his win. “First to be among this eclectic quintet of winning stories, all with central resonating themes - happiness, connection, isolation, freedom, repression, acceptance. Then to be chosen from that, I feel incredibly honoured that this Trinidadian tale has travelled so far.”
Calling the story a “truly crafted piece of fiction”, novelist and poet Sarah Hall, who chaired the jury, said it was “immediately and uniformly admired”.
Set up in 2012, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth. Apart from stories translated into English, the prize also accepts stories originally written in Bengali, Chinese, English, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, and Tamil. While all regional winners receive £2,500, the overall winner is awarded a total of £5,000.
Hosein’s winning story can be read on Granta in addition to the four other regional winners.