In its ninth year, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth. This year’s shortlist was chosen from 5107 entries from 49 Commonwealth countries, and includes one translation into English, and for the first time, a story from The Gambia. This year, two of the finalists are from the Caribbean (shown above): Sharma Taylor (Jamaica), Brandon Mc Ivor (Trinidad and Tobago), and Brian S. Heap (Jamaica). (See full list of finalists below.)
Brian S. Heap is the retired Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Drama and Head of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has worked in Drama and Education in Jamaica for over forty years. With Pamela Bowell he co-authored Planning Process Drama: Enriching Teaching and Learning (2001, 2013) and Putting Process Drama into Action (2017) as well as several conference papers and articles for refereed journals. He served as Conference Director and Convener of the Fifth International Drama in Education Research Institute (2006) in Kingston, Jamaica. He was honoured with the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2002.
Brandon Mc Ivor was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. He received his B.Sc in English Literature at New York University, and currently works as an English teacher in Ehime, Japan. His work has been published in a number of magazines and online, including The Caribbean Writer and Akashic Books’ flash fiction series.
Sharma Taylor: A lawyer by profession, a writer by passion, Sharma Taylor was the inaugural winner of the 2019 Johnson and Amoy Achong Caribbean Writers Prize (for fiction) for emerging writers, administered by the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago and Arvon in the UK. She was also the winner of the 22nd annual Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award in 2020, sponsored by the Central Bank of Barbados. Her work has been previously shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and longlisted in Mslexia’s 2019 Women’s Flash Fiction Competition. She won the gold medal three times in Barbados’ annual National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Literary Competitions as well as the Best Adult Short Story Writer award in 2019 in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Jamaica Creative Writing Competition. Sharma’s stories have been published in a number of anthologies and journals, including The Caribbean Writer and The Jamaica Journal.
‘Rites Evasion Maneuvers’, Caleb Ozovehe Ajinomoh (Nigeria)
‘Ouroboros, Ouroboros’, Sharmini Aphrodite (Malaysia)
‘The Dawning’, Aba Asibon (Ghana)
‘Attention’, Catherine Chidgey (New Zealand)
‘The Teeth on the Bus Go Round and Round’, Dinesh Devarajan (India)
‘Mafootoo’, Brian S. Heap (Jamaica)
‘When a Woman Renounces Motherhood’, Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Nigeria)
‘The Shedding’, Nafisa A. Iqbal (Bangladesh)
‘An Instruction Manual: How to Find Your Vagina’, Maham Javaid (Pakistan)
‘Provenance’, Jason Jobin (Canada)
‘Fatou vs. the Dictator’, ML Kejera (The Gambia)
‘Το χρέος’ (‘The Debt’), Nikolas Kyriacou (Cyprus), translated from Greek into English by Lina Protopapa (Cyprus)
‘The Art of Waving’, Andrea E. Macleod (Australia)
‘Wherever Mister Jensen Went’, Reyah Martin (United Kingdom)
‘Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer’, Brandon Mc Ivor (Trinidad and Tobago)
‘The Great Indian Tee and Snakes’, Kritika Pandey (India)
‘The Faraway Things’, Alboricah Tokologo Rathupetsane (South Africa)
‘A Breath, a Bunk, a Land, a Sky’, Fiona Sussman (New Zealand)
‘Cash and Carry’, Sharma Taylor (Jamaica)
‘The Eternally Obvious is Not Obvious to Me’, Marcia Walker (Canada)