Commonwealth Writers Prize Regional winners announced

Will this win?  Dont ask me, Im bound to be wrong.
Will this win? Don't ask me, I'm bound to be wrong.

It just goes to show that I’m nothing if not a really rubbish literary pundit. When the Commonwealth Writers Prize regional shortlists were announced I put my money on Aravind Adiga to at least make it through to the semis. Twas not to be however and I am left to reflect upon the fact that projecting popularity is not a strong suit of mine (when I first heard about The Piano I thought it sounded like the kind of movie that people would stay away from in droves – so I have a history of getting this sort of thing wrong).

So perhaps I should just stick to facts, just the facts (ma’am) and tell you that a single New Zealand book has made it through to the final “round” of judging in the awards. The year of the Shanghai Shark by Mo Zhi Hong will compete with the following titles in the “Best First Book” category –

  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (Pakistan)
  • Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas (Canada)
  • Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan (Nigeria)

A full list of the regional winners in can be viewed on the official website. The winner will be announced at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival on 16 May.

Kiwi writers make Commonwealth shortlist

Among the economic doom and gloom, the dropping New Zealand dollar might turn out to be very good news for the Kiwi writers chasing the thousands of pounds on offer in the Commonwealth Writers Prize competition.

Three New Zealanders have been shortlisted: Paula Morris’s Forbidden cities is included in the best book section, while both Mo Zhi Hong (The year of the Shanghai shark) and Bridget Van der Zijpp (Misconduct) have been nominated for the best first book award.

Finalists in each of the four regional areas are announced mid-March with the winners announced at the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival in May. All of the finalists are taking part in the festival.

The full list of short-listed entries can be found on the Commonwealth Foundation website. Head to the library website for more literary prize news.