Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Two Nigerians Make Commonwealth Short Story Prize Shortlist


Two Nigerian authors are on the shortlist for the Commonwealth Short Story prize of 26 writers. The Nigerians are Dera Duru with Something Happened Here and Franklyn Usouwa with 

'Lifestyle Guide for The Discerning Witch'. 

Dera Duru is a Nigerian writer and laboratory scientist. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Workshop, his works appear or are forthcoming in Litro UK, Make-a-Dream, and elsewhere.

Here is how the Commonwealth Writers secretariat describes the work. 

"After spending years on the run, a man goes back home to confront his past and his brother's ghost.

'And, after fifteen years, you hire a taxi and leave for Aba. It isn't your preferred destination at this time, but the city owes you. The therapist you have been talking to believes that pieces of yourself are stuck in your old house, smothered in muck and bloodstained memory. Today, you will finally get to pick them up and move on.'

Franklyn Usouwa is a Nigerian storyteller presently studying for an undergraduate degree in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Lagos. He is interested in storytelling in all its possible forms but has a particularly soft spot for short stories. Franklyn was shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and his short stories have been published in The Kalahari Review and Writer's Space Africa.

Lifestyle Guide for the Discerning Witch, the Commonwealth Writers editors say, is "A story about the effects of cultural gender bias on the development of a girl and how her defiance shapes the woman she becomes."

'You will be your mother's only child. On holidays at your maternal home, you will hear your grandmother's prayers for God to give her daughter a son. But after you, your mother will not conceive again and your father's family will accuse her of giving her womb to her coven to feast on. When you hear the accusations for the first time, your childish mind will imagine a group of women surrounding a large dinner table with a large saucer at its centre.'

The Commonwealth Writers Secretariat said it would announce regional winners on 23 May and the overall winner on 22 June. 

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize seeks out talented writers and amplifies stories from emerging voices.

Source : Chido Nwakanma 

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