Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2013 – Sharon Millar from the Caribbean

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2013 is no slight thing. It’s big , as they say on their website:

“Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta magazine to give regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be published by Granta online during the week commencing 27 May.

John Freeman, Editor of Granta said: “The Commonwealth Short Story Prize searches across a vast territory with relentless curiosity to select the brightest new talent from each region, and this year is stronger than ever. With voices that arrest, affirm, disturb and illuminate, this new crop of writers turn our expectations for what a story can do, and of where they are calling from, inside out. This partnership is an example of what the magazine can be at best – a beacon for those writers we didn’t know we were missing out on – and we salute Commonwealth Writers in their continuing good work.”

There were five winners – Congrats to them all. But I’m over-the-moon happy for and proud of our Sharon Millar who cupped the prize for the Caribbean region.  

You can read the full piece at the Commonwealth Writers’ website but I take great pleasure in quoting what they said about Sharon and her story, The Whale House and what she said about writing. 

Caribbean

 As a woman recovers from a miscarriage, it resurrects an old conflict and a long kept secret. Bush medicine, teenage sexuality, and difficult moral choices culminate in this uniquely Trinidadian story – one of marriage and the secrets we keep from the ones closest to us.

Sharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer who lives in Port of Spain with her husband and daughter. She is particularly driven by the landscape of her homeland and her work touches on issues that affect her as a Trinidadian citizen and as a woman. The worlds of her stories are occupied by protagonists who struggle with moral issues, crime, illness, loyalty, betrayal, and all the other messy things that make up a life. Writing from a Caribbean island right here and right now allows her to illuminate complications that lie beneath the surface of a young state trying to move forward as a cohesive society. She is conscious of pushing past the Caribbean stereotypes of exoticism and tries to create characters that are universal in their desires and conflicts.

THE WHALE HOUSE,  Sharon Millar  (Trinidad & Tobago)

“Writing is such an intensely solitary and private practice. It’s difficult to explain to people what you do and how you do it. Winning a regional leg of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is thrilling (really thrilling!). It’s a powerful experience to realise  that your work can go out into the world ahead of you and hold its own.”

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