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Sanjana Thakur Wins 2024 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Sanjana Thakur 26 years old, writer from Mumbai, beat competition from over 7,359 entrants worldwide to be named the winner of the GBP 5,000 Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2024 in London on June 27. Sanjana’s story entitled Aishwarya Rai takes its name from the famed Bollywood actress to reimagine and reverse the traditional adoption story.

Sanjana’s story entitled Aishwarya Rai

Her story revolves around a young woman, Avni, who chooses between possible mothers housed in a local shelter. The first mother is too clean; the second, who looks like the real-life Aishwarya Rai, is too pretty. In her small Mumbai apartment with too-thin walls and a too-small balcony, Avni watches laundry turn round in her machine, dreams of stepping into white limousines, and tries out different mothers from the shelter. One of them must be just right, she thinks. The short story form favours the brave and the bold writer. In ‘Aishwarya Rai’, Sanjana Thakur employs brutal irony, sarcasm, cynicism and wry humour packaged in tight prose and stanza-like paragraphs to confront us with the fracturing of family and the self as a result of modern urban existence,” said Ugandan British novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Chair of the judging panel.

About Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award for unpublished short fiction administered and funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. The prize covers the Commonwealth regions of Africa, Asia Canada and Europe, Caribbean and Pacific. The international judging panel comprises one judge from each of the five regions. Please note that while the entries will be judged regionally, all judges will read and deliberate on entries from all regions. There will be five winners, one from each region. One regional winner will be selected as the overall winner. The overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will receive £5,000 and the remaining four regional winners £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money. The final selection will be judged by an international judging panel; experienced readers will assist the named judges in selecting the longlist.

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