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Sala, Meager win Pacific region in 2013 Commonwealth Writers prizes

Australian author Michael Sala has won the Pacific region for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and New Zealand writer Zoe Meager has won the Pacific region for the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Sala’s book The Last Thread (Affirm Press) was one of five books by Australian authors shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Book Prize. As the regional winner, Sala will receive £2500 (A$3852) and will now compete with other regional winners from Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean for the overall prize of £10,000 (A$15,408).

Sala, whose book has also been shortlisted for a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, said in a statement that ‘to be acknowledged so early in my career is just incredibly exciting’ and that he feels ‘honoured and humbled to be selected’ from such a strong shortlist. ‘I’ve always felt that the best writing crosses international boundaries, and that has always been my ambition with my own,’ said Sala.

Meager’s story ‘Things with Faces’ was one of five stories from Australian and New Zealand writers shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Meager will receive a cash prize of £1000 (A$1540) and is now in the running for the overall prize, which is worth £5000 (A$7704). The overall and regional winners of the short story prize will also be given the opportunity to have their stories published online by Granta.

The winners of both prizes will be announced during the Hay Festival in the UK on 31 May.

The Commonwealth Book Prize is open to writers whose first novel was published during 2012 and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction. New Zealand writer Emma Martin won the Pacific region category and the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2012 for her story ‘Two Girls in a Boat’, while Australian author Cory Taylor won the Pacific region of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize for Me and Mr Booker (Text). The overall prize was awarded to Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka for Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew (Vintage).

To see the full list of regional winners, visit the Commonwealth Writers website.

 

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