Come this Tuesday, the overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be decided from a shortlist of regional winners which includes Jamaica's Diana McCaulay who has been named winner for the Caribbean region.
Kevin Jared Hosein, competition judge for the Caribbean, has described McCaulay's short story, Bridge Over the Yallahs River as: "the story of a storm-struck bridge and the various people tasked to re-build it… A tale of simultaneous triumph and botchery; loss and reclamation; comedy and tragedy”.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, McCaulay, while elated at winning the regional title which marks the third in a row for Jamaica (Dr Brian Heap in 2020, Roland Watson-Grant in 2021 won previously), was quite nonchalant about her prospects for the overall prize.
“I don’t expect to win. I am encouraged and feel very rewarded by the win for the region but the truth is, all five of us in the running might say we don’t expect to win... even though the winner will be one of us. So, I am just prepared to be gracious and congratulate whoever emerges winner. However, I must say that writing in the Caribbean is enjoying an increased level of recognition and attention. You will see a writer from St Vincent — representing the UK — is also in the running. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize has always been a great way to get recognised so I hope that this will encourage other writers here to continue on their journey,” she said
The other regional winners in the running are Ntsika Kota from Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) representing Africa with his work And the Earth Drank Deep; Sofia Mariah Ma from Singapore for the Asia region with The Last Diver on Earth; Cecil Browne with A Hat for Lemer from the United Kingdom/St Vincent and the Grenadines who represents Canada and Europe; and Mary Rokonadravu from Fiji representing the Pacific region with The Nightwatch.