Rémy Ngamije - OkayAfrica

Rémy Ngamije is a Rwandan-born Namibian storyteller.

Photo courtesy of Rémy Ngamije.

Commonwealth Short Story Prize Announces 2021 Shortlist

Moso Sematlane, Rémy Ngamije, Ola W. Halim, Vincent Anioke and Franklyn Usouwa are the African writers on the shortlist for this year's Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

This year's shortlist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize has recently been announced. The annual prize, which was launched by the Commonwealth Foundation in 2012, selects 25 writers from five regions of the Commonwealth: Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, the Caribbean as well as the Pacific. Thereafter, a winner is selected from each region with the overall winner taking home a grand prize of 5000 British Pounds. The prize is the most popular literary prize for short stories after the Ako Caine Prize.

READ: Irenosen Okojie Wins This Year's Prestigious AKO Caine Prize

This year's shortlisted writers from the Africa region hail from Nigeria, Lesotho and Namibia. Moso Sematlane's Tetra Hydro Cannabinol and Rémy Ngamije'sGranddaughter of The Octopus are Lesotho and Namibia's entries respectively—a first for both Southern African countries. Impressively, Ngamije secures a spot on yet another major literature shortlist. His short story, The Neighbourhood Watch, was shortlisted for the Ako Caine Prize last year.

Nigeria is an undeniably strong contender this year with three of its writers on the shortlist. These include Ola W. Halim with An Analysis of a Fragile Affair, Vincent Anioke with Ogbuefi and Franklyn Usouwa with A for Abortion.

Speaking about this year's shortlist in a press release, Director-General of the Commonwealth Foundation, Dr Anne T Gallagher AO, says the following:

"The authors on this shortlist are to be celebrated for their mastery of the form. It is an honour for the Foundation to bring their work to wide public attention. And to all those who entered: we thank you for the timely reminder of the power of storytelling, not least its ability to comfort, inspire and heal."

The regional winners are set to be announced on May 12th and the overall winner on June 30th.

Below is the full shortlist for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The various short story summaries are available here. The 25 shortlisted stories will be published on adda while those of the five regional winners will also be published on Granta.


'Tetra Hydro Cannabinol' by Moso Sematlane (Lesotho)
'Granddaughter of The Octopus' by Rémy Ngamije (Namibia)
'An Analysis of a Fragile Affair' by Ola W. Halim (Nigeria)
'Ogbuefi' by Vincent Anioke (Nigeria)
'A for Abortion' by Franklyn Usouwa (Nigeria)


'The Current Climate' by Aravind Jayan (India)
'It Ends with a Kiss' by Riddhi Dastidar (India)
'Weeds' by Ling Low (Malaysia)
'Submission' by Nur Khan (Pakistan)
'I Cleaned The-' by Kanya D'Almeida (Sri Lanka)


'Starry Night' by Cara Marks (Canada)
'Class Struggle' by Ian Stewart (Canada)
'Mass Effect' by Joshua Wales (Canada)
'some words, ending in a sentence' by phill doran (UK)
'Turnstones' by Carol Farrelly (UK)


'Tourism is Our Business' by Heather Barker (Barbados)
'Genuine Human Hair' by Sharma Taylor (Jamaica)
'The Disappearance of Mumma Dell' by Roland Watson-Grant (Jamaica)
'Hunger' by Andre Bagoo (Trinidad and Tobago)
'English at the End of Time' by Rashad Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago)


'The Woman; or Euryale' by A.N. King (Australia)
'Rabbit' by Samantha Lane Murphy (Australia)
'Downpour' by SJ Finn (Australia)
'Fertile Soil' by Katerina Gibson (Australia)
'Carved' by Tim Saunders (New Zealand)