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Commonwealth Writers regional winners unveiled

22nd May 2012

The regional winners of the revamped Commonwealth Writers awards, previously known as the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize, have been announced.

In the Commonwealth Book Prize, Jacques Strauss from South Africa was named the regional winner for Africa for The Dubious Salvation of Jack V, while Sri Lanka's Shehan Karunatilaka took the Asia prize for Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew.

Canadian author Riel Nason was named regional winner for Canada and Europe for The Town that Drowned, while Alecia McKenzie from Jamaica took the Caribbean prize for Sweetheart.

The list of regional winners was completed by Australian novelist Cory Taylor, who took the Pacific award for Me and Mr Booker.

Margaret Busby, chair of the award, said the judges are 'wonderfully spoilt for choice' and praised each book's ability to give insights into other cultures and histories.

'Although we could not take every favourite further, the books that triumphed are a reminder of what the best fiction can be: moving, entertaining, enlightening, exciting, engaging our thoughts and emotions, while creating an intimate connection with someone else's imagination,' she added.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be contested by Jekwu Anyaegbuna (Africa), Anushka Jasraj (Asia), Andrea Mullaney (Europe and Canada), Diana McCaulay (Caribbean) and Emma Martin (Pacific).

Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Bernardine Evaristo said that the regional winners, who will each have their work published in Granta magazine, manage to span cultures, eras, generations and 'diverse ways of being and seeing'.

'Our final choices encompass range, depth, beauty, unpredictability and re-readability. To read them is to inhabit other worlds,' she added.

The five regional winners of each award will now go on to compete for the overall Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which will each be awarded on June 8th at the Hay Festival.

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