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Sri Lankan writer D’Almeida wins overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Sri Lankan writer Kanya D’Almeida has been named the overall winner of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story ‘I Cleaned The—’.

D’Almeida’s story is about “‘dirty work’: domestic labour, abandonment, romantic encounters behind bathroom doors, and human waste’. Judge Khademul Islam described it as ‘a life-affirming story of love among the rambutan and close trees of Sri Lanka—love for a baby not one’s own, love for a high-spirited elderly woman. Love found not among the stars but in human excrement.’  D’Almeida receives £5000 (A$9218).

Now in its ninth year, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize covers the Commonwealth regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Pacific and the Caribbean. The 2021 prize received over 6423 entries submitted from 50 Commonwealth countries; the regional winners were announced earlier in the year. As previously reported by Books+Publishing, Australian writer Katerina Gibson won the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in the Pacific category for their story ‘Fertile Soil’.

For more information about this year’s prize, and the overall winner, see the prize website.


Category: International news