Three Indian writers were shortlisted for the award, 2022 for their short stories was announced on April 25. The writers from India were Sagnik Datta, Pritika Rao, and Gitanjali Joshua. As per the Commonwealth, Short Story Prize websites are ‘A fast-growing refugee problem’ by Sagnik Datta, ‘Accident is prohibited’ by Gitanjali Joshua, and ‘Fault Lines’ by Pritika Rao.
Pratika Rao is an economist and freelance writer based in Bangalore, India. She is also the editor of Rewrite Mag. Her story talks about a mother and daughter, who “are forced to confront their frayed relationship while they also deal with the consequences of a crumbling ecosystem around them.” Gitanjali Joshua’s ‘a story is about a young woman named Kalai who is negotiating her relationship with her grandmother in whose home she has been stuck during the lockdown. Kalai is simultaneously dealing with a pregnancy scare and reflecting on the dynamics of her relationship with her boyfriend.” Pratika is pursuing her doctoral thesis. Sagnik Datta is also based in Bangalore, India. His story is set at a refugee camp in eastern Punjab in the backdrop of the partition, the story is about a group of Hindu and Sikh refugees that rescue a newborn baby, who grows up, very quickly and starts resembling a Muslim man.” He is the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story prize in 2018.
The stories were selected by a panel of judges, which included: Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar- Chair of the judges, Rwandan publisher Louise Umutoni-Bower (Africa), Indian writer Jahnavi Barua (Asia), Cypriot academic and writer Stephanos Stephanides (Canada and Europe), Trinidadian novelist and former winner of the prize Kevin Jared Hosein (Caribbean), and Australian Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic Jeanine Leane (Pacific).
The Commonwealth short story prize is given by the Commonwealth Foundation, Anne T Gallagher, Director General, Commonwealth Foundation said in The Bookseller, “The growing popularity of the prize speaks to the vital role that storytelling plays for people and communities right across the Commonwealth. Apart from India the Commonwealth Short Story prize 2022 was shortlisted from Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. The winners will be announced on May 23, 2022, and the overall winner will be revealed on June 21, 2022.