New Delhi: Kritika Pandey’s short story, The Great Indian Tee and Snakes has won the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Earlier in June, the story had been adjudged the regional winner from Asia.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded to unpublished short fiction in English, or stories that have been translated from Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish. Regional winners each receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000.
It is given by the Commonwealth Writers organisation, set up under the Commonwealth Foundation.
This year, regional finalists other than Pandey were Nigerian Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Africa), UK’s Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe), Jamaican Brian S. Heap (Caribbean), and Australian Andrea E. Macleod (Pacific).
The prize was judged this year by Ghanaian writer and editor Nii Ayikwei Parkes, South African writer and musician Mohale Mashigo, executive director of the Singapore Books Council William Phuan, Canadian author Heather O’Neill, Trinidadian scholar and writer Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw and Australian writer and arts organiser Nic Low.
Pandey is 29 years old and a Pushcart-nominated writer from Jharkhand.
She holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a recipient of a 2020 grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation.
She is the winner of the 2020 James W. Foley Memorial Award, the 2018 Harvey Swados Fiction Prize, the 2018 Cara Parravani Memorial Award in Fiction and a 2014 Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.
Pandey’s story is set in a small town and features a love story between a girl and boy of different religions.