Commonwealth Foundation re-launches Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Short Story Competition

The Commonwealth Foundation is embarking on a major re-launch of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story competition.

The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is twenty five years old this year and the Commonwealth Short Story competition has remained largely unchanged since 1996. Both prizes are ranked among the world’s most prestigious literary awards.

The Commonwealth Foundation issued the following announcement this week.

To bring these two prestigious awards into the 21st Century we’re modernising and re-launching both prizes, as part of the Foundation’s cultural programme, under the new banner of Commonwealth Writers A World of New Fiction at

Commonwealth Writers will include a new website, on-the-ground creative writing activities  within regional communities, increased prize money, and the publication of an anthology of the winning short stories.

Commonwealth Writers aims to unearth, promote and connect new writing talent across the fifty four countries of the Commonwealth. It will do this in two ways:


We’ve preserved the strongest elements of the Commonwealth Foundation’s existing prizes, while at the same time putting them on the contemporary map of international new fiction:

Commonwealth Book Prize
Awarded for best first book, this prize is open to writers who have had their first novel (full length work of fiction) published between 1 January and 31 December  2011. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £10,000.

N.B. There will no longer be a Best Book award.

 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000- 5,000 words). Regional winners receive £1,000 and the overall winner receives £5,000.

For each prize we award four regional winners and one overall winner. The regions are Africa; Asia; Canada and Europe; Caribbean; and the Pacific. Both prizes are open to Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over.

Rules and eligibility information for both prizes, as well as the online entry forms, will be available at from 18 October 2011. The closing date for entries for the Commonwealth Book Prize is 9 December 2011 with last receipt of books by post no later than 16 December; and the closing date for entries for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is 30 November 2011.


Commonwealth Writers is on the lookout for fresh, new, talented writers from all parts of the Commonwealth.  It aims to unearth those writers with talent, an original voice, and stories to tell. We’ll be working in partnership with international writers’ organisations, the wider cultural industries, and civil society to help new writers develop their craft.

The prizes and outreach activities act as catalysts to target and identify talented writers from different regions who will go on to inspire and inform their local communities. Meanwhile, will be an online hub to inspire, inform and motivate distinctive new voices.

Please visit our website. We look forward to hearing from you at

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