Trinidadian writer Kevin Jared Hosein wins 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize with "immediately and uniformly admired" short story

Nicosia, Cyprus – The author Kevin Jared Hosein, from Trinidad and Tobago, is tonight announced the overall winner of the world’s most global literary prize. 

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Having been named the Caribbean regional winner for the prize in 2015, and again this year, Hosein convinced the jury, chaired by the novelist and poet Sarah Hall, with “a truly crafted piece of fiction” that was “immediately and uniformly admired”. In Passage, Hosein sends a midlife crisis-ridden protagonist into the wilderness in search for a mystery woman – with unforeseen consequences for others, and for himself. 

Sarah Hall said: “Our winning story, Passage, was immediately and uniformly admired by the judges. It is an uncanny bar story, about a man who hears a strange tale, only to become part of the tale’s re-lived strangeness. It balances between formal language and demotic, ideas of civility and ferality, is tightly woven and suspenseful, beautifully and eerily atmospheric, and finally surprising. It is, in essence, all a reader could want from the short story form; a truly crafted piece of fiction that transports the reader into another world, upends expectations, and questions the nature of narratives and narrative consequence.”

Kevin Jared Hosein said: “I wasn’t expecting it. First to be among this eclectic quintet of winning stories, all with central resonating themes - happiness, connection, isolation, freedom, repression, acceptance. Then to be chosen from that, I feel incredibly honoured that this Trinidadian tale has travelled so far. I hope others in my region are inspired by this accomplishment.”

Hosein is the author of three books, The Beast of Kukuyo (Burt Award for Caribbean Literature), The Repenters (OCM Bocas Prize for Fiction shortlist) and Littletown Secrets. He has been twice shortlisted for the Small Axe Prize for Prose, and his work has been featured in numerous publications, such as Lightspeed, Adda and most recently, We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture.

Run by Commonwealth Writers, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize is the only prize in the world where entries can be submitted in Bengali, Chinese, English, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, and Tamil. It is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth. 

The prize is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. In 2018, Damon Galgut (Africa), Sunila Galappatti (Asia), Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm (Canada and Europe), Mark McWatt (Caribbean), and Paula Morris (Pacific) chose five regional winners – tackling issues including abortion, transgender identity, religion and mental illness – from a shortlist of 24, with 5182 stories submitted from 48 Commonwealth countries. 

The winner was announced by Sarah Hall at the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Award Ceremony at the Centre of Visual Arts and Research (CVAR) in Nicosia, Cyprus. Keep up to date with the prize and join the conversation via: |

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Notes to Editors

About the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

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The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is part of Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation. Now in its seventh year, it is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible.

The five regional winners are: The Nigerian-German writer Efua Traoré (Africa); Jenny Bennett-Tuionetoa, a human rights advocate and LGBTQIA activist from Samoa (Pacific); the British writer and former videogame producer Lynda Clark (Canda and Europe), Sagnik Datta, a writer from Siliguri, India (Asia), and Kevin Jared Hosein (Caribbean).

About Commonwealth Writers


Commonwealth Writers develops and connects writers across the world. It believes that well-told stories can help people make sense of events, engage with others, and take action to bring about change. Responsive and proactive, it is committed to tackling the challenges faced by writers in different regions and working with local and international partners to identify and deliver a wide range of cultural projects. Adda, the innovative online platform of Commonwealth Writers, is a gathering place for stories and a space where writers and readers can talk across the divides.

About the Commonwealth Foundation

The Commonwealth Foundation is the Commonwealth’s agency for civil society. It supports people’s participation in democracy and development.