Yes it’s official!, Sri lanka and New Zealand have produced the winners for this year’s Common Wealth Book prize and Short story prize respectively. Shehan Karunatilaka of Sri lanka authored Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, which was published by Vintage Publishing, Random House India while Emma Martin, New Zealand,wrote the short story titled ‘Two Girls in a Boat’. Shehan walked away with the cash prize of £10,000 while Emma had £5,000 in her kitty. The awards were presented at Hay Festival by the literary icon of our time Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
About the book, Margaret Busby, Chair, Commonwealth Book Prize stated thus :
“This fabulously enjoyable read will keep you entertained and rooting for the protagonist until the very end, while delivering startling truths about cricket and about Sri Lanka. Narrated by a retired hard-drinking sports journalist on an obsessive quest for the mysterious Pradeep Mathew, who may just be Sri Lanka’s best all-time cricketer, it’s an insightful story about fact and gullibility, about world history, about friends and family; and it comes with this attestable guarantee: “If you’ve never seen a cricket match; if you have and it has made you snore; if you can’t understand why anyone would watch, let alone obsess over this dull game, then this is the book for you.” Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew sets the standard high for the new Commonwealth Book Prize, which aims to discover new talent and energise literary output in the different regions.”
For the short story,Bernardine Evaristo, Chair, Commonwealth Short Story Prize states :
“There were so many brilliant short stories on our shortlist but Two Girls in a Boat rose to the top as it fulfilled the judges’ brief that the winning entry have linguistic flair, originality, depth and daring. The story was chosen for its gorgeous, elegant and spare writing; its nuanced handling of time, place and relationships; its daring, provocative subject matter and clear-eyed exploration of the choice of heterosexual conformity in the face of sexual mutability. Until we had decided on our shortlist, all entries were anonymous. So it is also great that this prize, I think we can claim, has discovered Emma Martin, who has not yet published a book, and brought her to an international audience. With her considerable talent we hope to see more of her work in the future.”
Congratulations to both winners…you deserve to be celebrated!