I got the official (but embargoed) notification from the Commonwealth Foundation a couple of weeks ago, so I've had a while to digest the news. But I'm still super-chuffed when I think about it– and yes, I think only a Britishism like "chuffed" really conveys what I'm feeling here.
I'm also really surprised that only two entries from the Asia region were shortlisted and that both are from Singapore. (For the competition, "Asia" is defined as Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka.) I don't know the other Singapore writer, Sara Adam Ang, but congratulations to her too!
And thank you to the indefatigable Mayo Martin over at TODAY for breaking the news in Singapore.
People have been asking similar sorts of questions, so here's a short FAQ:
1. Where can I read your story?
It's not been published yet. A cardinal rule of the Commonwealth competition is that entries must be unpublished, so my story can't appear in print until after the final competition results are announced on 13 June.
I'll update this page (and all the usual social media channels) when there's publication news.
2. When will the results be announced?
Regional prize winners will be announced on 14 May (I was told 20 May earlier, but the latest info circulating with the shortlist states 14 May). The overall prize winner will be announced on 13 June.
3. Who is judging this thing?
Ellah Allfrey (chair), Doreen Baingana, Courttia Newland, Marlon James, Michelle de Kretser and Jeet Thayil. Full details here.
4. Is this the first time Singaporean writers have been shortlisted for this prize?
I really have no idea. The prize, in its current form, has been running since 2012 and yes, this is the first year that Singaporean writers have been shortlisted.
For its previous incarnation as the Commonwealth Short Story Competition (1996-2011), I can find only a partial list of winners on Wikipedia, none of whom were Singaporean. I can't find any information on shortlisted writers from that period. If anyone knows of an authoritative list, please let me know!