The Commonwealth Foundation has announced the winners of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Lisa O’Donnell from the United Kingdom scooped the 2013 Book Prize for her novel, The Death of Bees. Two writers – Sharon Millar from Trinidad and Tobago and Eliza Robertson from Canada shared the Short Story Prize.
Nigerian author, E.E. Sule won the Africa regional prize in the book category, with his book, Sterile Sky, about a young and gifted boy, Murtala, who comes of age in Kano. Violent riots and his family’s own woes threaten to erase all he holds dear. Stalked by monsters real and imagined, desperate to preserve a sense of self and the future, Murtala hunts for answers in the wreckage of the city – and gives us a unique insight into modern life in northern Nigeria.
“This is great news for me! I’m bursting with excitement!”, said E.E. Sule, “I consider it a milestone in my career as a writer – that moment you think you have got a needed impetus, in fact a revelation, to perform better, to aim higher. I also feel confident that Sterile Sky is a worthy work; it has begun its own journey in life. I sincerely thank everyone involved in making it what it is.”
Julian Jackson from South Africa won the Africa Region prize in the Short Story category with The New Customers – a tale about a chance encounter in a small town bar that ensues when an English speaking urban visitor finds himself in the midst of a scene of racial aggression between an Afrikaans farmer and local men.
The Commonwealth Book Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are part of Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation. Commonwealth Writers aims to inspire writers, storytellers and a range of cultural practitioners to work for social change. It builds communities of less heard and emerging voices to influence, directly and indirectly, the decision making processes which affect their lives. The Commonwealth Book and Short Story prizes act as catalysts to target and identify talented writers from different regions who will go on to inspire and inform their local communities.
The winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize receives £10,000. The winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize receive £5,000.