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Commonwealth 2021 Short Story Prize Writing Contest for unpublished short fiction

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize started in 2012 with the launch of Commonwealth Writers. Free to enter and with a global reach across five continents, the Prize seeks out talented writers and brings stories from new and emerging voices to an international audience. Stories often come from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure and from places that are marked by geographical, geopolitical or economic isolation.

The Prize attracts between 5,000 and 6,000 entries each year from almost all of the 54 countries of the Commonwealth. It is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction. You don’t need an agent, just an internet connection to submit your unpublished story of 2000-5000 words. Entry is always free and stories can be submitted in Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish, and in translation into English from any language.

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About Common wealth Scholarships

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) provides the main UK government scholarship scheme led by international development objectives. The CSC is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID). The CSC operates within the framework of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) and is a vivid demonstration of the UK’s enduring commitment to the Commonwealth. By supporting innovators and leaders of the future from across the Commonwealth, and by attracting outstanding talent to Britain’s universities... read more


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Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest


Aim and Benefits of Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest

Each regional winner receives £2,500, and their story is published online on Granta, the magazine of new writing. One of the regional winners is then selected as the overall winner, who receives £5,000 – one of the highest amounts for an international prize for unpublished short stories.


Requirements for Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest Qualification

  1. Entrants must be citizens of a Commonwealth country – please see Section 5 for the list of Commonwealth countries – or stateless persons currently residing in a Commonwealth country. The Commonwealth Foundation will request verification of citizenship status before winners are selected. Entries from citizens of non-Commonwealth countries are not eligible.
  2. For regional purposes, entries will be judged by country of citizenship. Where the writer has dual citizenship (of two Commonwealth countries), the entry will be judged in the region where the writer is permanently resident.
  3. There is no requirement for the writer to have current residence in a Commonwealth country, providing that they are a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
  4. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over on 1 November 2020.
  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. Entries from previous overall winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are not eligible. Entries from previous regional winners are eligible.
  7. Entries from 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 2021.

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Interview date, Process and Venue for Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest

The Prize is judged by an international panel of writers, comprising a chair and five judges, one from each of the Commonwealth regions – Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. The panel select a shortlist of around twenty stories, from which five regional winners are chosen.


Application Deadline

November 1, 2020


How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Common wealth Scholarships on www.commonwealthwriters.org to apply

For more details, visit CW website



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