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Writer Eswatini Kota wins Commonwealth Short Story Prize

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Writer Eswatini Ntsika Kota has been named the overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2022 for his story “and the earth drank deeply”.

The story of Kota centers on a group of villagers in a hunter-gatherer society in our species’ distant past. As they face disease, threats from wild animals and unexpected death, the story tells of a day when “cold blood first flowed and the earth was watered”.

Rwandan publisher and judge representing the African region Louise Umutoni-Bower praised Koto for using African folktales “in a way that stays true to form but is also accessible”. “It’s a reminder of a time when storytelling had a prominent place in social gatherings,” Umutoni-Bower said. “I was personally brought down by my mother’s feet where I quietly listened to stories of Rwandan folk heroes and villains.”

Kota receives £5,000 (A$8,800).

Now in its 10th year, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize covers the Commonwealth regions of Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean. The 2022 award received over 6,730 nominations submitted by 52 Commonwealth countries.

As previously reported, the regional winners were announced earlier in the year, with Fijian writer Mary Rokonadravu winning the Pacific category for her story ‘The Nightwatch’.

For more information on this year’s prize and the grand prize winner, see the Commonwealth Short Story Prize website.

Category: International News