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network Postscript Ugandan writer claims Short Story Prize commonwealth Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi from Uganda is “always looking for new and emerging has been awarded the Commonwealth voices”, and hoping to discover talented Short Story Prize for her short story ‘Let’s individuals who are unknown on the international Tell This Story Properly’. platform. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize The Short Story Prize helps to assure just was presented to Makumbi, the regional this by creating an accessible platform for winner from Africa, in an awards ceremony in Kampala, Uganda, on 13 June by novelist and short story writer Romesh Gunesekera. Chair of the international judging panel, which contains a judge from each of the five regions of the Commonwealth, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey praised the winning stories from each region, saying that the shortlisted stories “boasted craft, intelligence and ambition” and that “choosing one overall winner felt an impossible task”. The judges chose Makumbi’s short story for its risk taking, grace and breadth. Allfrey noted that, while the choice was difficult, Makumbi’s story “draws on a powerful national heritage of dramatic storytelling and significantly expanded our understanding of the possibilities of the short story form”. Makumbi’s winning story follows a grieving widow who arrives at Entebbe Airport from Manchester with her husband’s coffin to a dramatic turn of events, which Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi leads her to surrender her widowhood and fight for what is hers. writers from across the Commonwealth, allowing The Commonwealth Short Story Prize unknown talent to emerge from regions aims to identify unique talent from across where there is little or no publishing the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. infrastructure. Emma D’Souza, who manages the prize, The competition received unprecedented told Global that Commonwealth Writers attention this year, with unpublished stories A group of politicians and senior officials participation of some delegates. from Lesotho visited New Zealand in July Speaking at the outset of the visit, Commonwealth to study the country’s voting system. Secretary-General Kamalesh The delegation, which included Deputy Sharma said: “The Commonwealth is promoting Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, wanted the development of effective government to gain a greater understanding of New and public administration under Zealand’s mixed member proportional a mixed member proportional electoral representation parliamentary system. The system in Lesotho. structure sees voters get both an electorate “New Zealand adopted the MMP electoral vote and a party vote – the former selects system 20 years ago, and so the purpose a local MP while the latter decides the of the study tour is to learn from the number of seats allocated to each party. New Zealand experience, and to assist a The trip was organised by the Commonwealth cross-section of Lesotho’s parliamentarians Secretariat and the New Zealand and civil servants to build their knowledge parliament, with the United Nations Development and ability to work together for the Program in Lesotho supporting the good of the citizens of their country.” 86 l www.global -br ief ing.org four th quar ter 2014 global entered by nearly 4,000 writers from the five Commonwealth regions, almost double the numbers of 2013. Commonwealth Writers made the decision to host the awards as part of larger-scale Commonwealth Writers initiatives in Uganda in June, which included two workshops and the Commonwealth Writers’ conversation ‘South to South? Visions of Sustainable development for the Creative Imagination’. In previous years, the Short Story Prize winners’ ceremony has been held at the Hay Festival in Wales. It was, therefore, a break with tradition for the winner to be able to receive the prize at home. Speaking of what the prize will mean to other writers in Uganda, Emma D’Souza told Global she saw the victory as “hugely inspirational”, adding: “All too often the literature on the continent is dominated by Nigerian and South African writers. Everybody was very excited to have a Ugandan winner, everybody feels like their time has come.” Noticeably overwhelmed at having won the overall prize, Makumbi echoed these sentiments: “This is a dream. For Uganda, once described as a literary desert, it shows how the country’s literary landscape is changing and I am proud to be a part of it. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize will help bring attention to Ugandan writing at a global level.” Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta magazine, which will publish Makumbi’s story online. New Zealand parliament welcomes Lesotho delegation New Zealand’s parliament building in Wellington Donaldytong Creative Commons by-SA 3.0


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