2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize: Conversations with Shortlisted Writers



It’s such a joy to speak to other writers! 

I feel incredibly privileged, therefore, to have spent two weeks sharing views and ideas about writing, reading, and the spaces in between, with the African writers shortlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

These exchanges of thoughts and feelings about why and how we write, what and when we read, how ideas for stories find us, and the construction and arrangement of story parts, has fed not only my engagement with the short story form, but expanded my worldview as well. 

The conversations with the shortlisted writers will be shared here, on Africa in Dialogue, a day at a time, from the 7th to the 11th of May 2021, in anticipation of the announcement of the regional winners on the 12th of May 2021 and the overall winner on the 30th of June 2021. 

Below are the titles of the stories, the names of the writers, and their nationalities: 


“A for Abortion” – Franklyn Usouwa (Nigeria)

“An Analysis of a Fragile Affair” – Ola W. Halim (Nigeria)

“Tetra Hydro Cannabinol” – Moso Sematlane (Lesotho)

“Ogbuefi” – Vincent Anioke (Nigeria)

“Granddaughter of the Octopus” – Rémy Ngamije (Namibia)


Shiploads of thanks to Ruth Killick (for the speedy connections to the writers and their stories), to the writers (for their generosity and promptness), and to Nkateko Masinga, Chisom Okwara, Saliha Haddad, and Edith Knight Magak (for offering esprit de corps).

More information about the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the shortlisted writers can be found here.

Davina was born in a university teaching hospital in Lusaka and raised on the grounds of Uganda’s oldest university in Kampala (from where she would later receive a BSc in Botany and Zoology and a PGDE in biological sciences). Her MSc (Zoology) research assessed the abundance and richness of forest-dependent birds in two tropical lowland rainforest fragments in central Uganda. 

She writes poetry and short fiction for children and adults. Her short stories, Of Birds and Bees and Touch Me Not, were short-listed for the 2018 Short Story Day Africa Prize and the 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize respectively.

She’s interested in the intersection between literature and science, will read anything with an arresting title, and writes about topics that interest her. 

She’s writing her first novel, The Other Side of Day.

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