New Zealand author Emma Martin has won this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story ‘Two Girls in a Boat’.
Martin’s story, which won the Pacific region for this year’s prize, was selected as the overall winner of the £5000 (A$7838) prize ahead of regional winners from Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, Martin received £1000 (A$1567) for winning the local region.
Martin, who is currently working on a collection of short stories, has previously had stories and essays published in literary journals and anthologies in New Zealand and the UK. Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Bernadine Evaristo said that Martin’s story was selected ‘for its gorgeous, elegant and spare writing’, ‘its nuanced handling of time, place and relationships’, and ‘its daring, provocative subject matter’.
This year’s Commonwealth Book Prize, worth £10,000 (A$15,681), was awarded to Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka for Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew (Vintage). Karunatilaka’s book was selected from a shortlist of six regional winners, including Me and Mr Booker (Text) by Australian author Cory Taylor, which won the Pacific region.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize are presented by the Commonwealth Foundation under its ‘Commonwealth Writers’ banner. As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, the foundation announced a number of changes to the awards in 2011. The Commonwealth Book Prize, offered for a debut novel published in the previous calendar year, replaces the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book Award is no longer offered. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which was established in 1996, is offered for pieces of unpublished short fiction.
More information about the awards can be found online here.