Writer Jonathan Tel has been crowned the overall winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for The Human Phonograph.
The Human Phonograph is about a woman who is reunited with her geologist husband at a remote nuclear base in Maoist China. Tel has a background in quantum physics and the story is from his unpublished fiction book set in contemporary China.
The awards, set up by the Commonwealth Foundation, are for unpublished short fiction and are open to citizens of the 53 Commonwealth countries. This year’s competition attracted almost 4,000 entries.
Tel was also one of five regional winners, representing Canada and Europe.
The other four regional winners were Lesley Nneka for Light (Africa), by Siddhartha Gigoo with The Umbrella Man (India), Kevin Jared Hosein with The King of Settlement (Caribbean) and Mary Rokonadravu with Famished Eeels (Pacific).
Chair of the judges Romesh Gunesekera said: “We had a strong shortlist of stories from around the world that excited the judges and provoked a lively, stimulating set of discussions. The judges were looking for well-crafted stories that were compelling and original. The standards were high. We wanted stories that would engage us and make us rethink our notions of form, language and what mattered.”
Tel won a £5,000 prize, whilst the regional winners were awarded £2,500 each.
Submissions for the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize are now open. Potential applicants can submit their work online by the 1st November.