Kiwi and Sri Lankan authors win Commonwealth awards

Writers from Sri Lanka and New Zealand have won this year's Commonwealth Writers Awards for best book and best short story, with the winners receiving £10,000 and £5,000 respectively.

Shehan Karunatilaka's novel Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew (Vintage Publishing, Random House India) scooped the best book award; the story is narrated by a retired hard-drinking sports journalist searching for truths about cricket and about Sri Lanka.

Margaret Busby, chair of the prize, said: "This fabulously enjoyable read will keep you entertained and rooting for the protagonist until the very end, while delivering startling truths about cricket and about Sri Lanka . . . [The book] sets the standard high for the new Commonwealth Book Prize, which aims to discover new talent and energise literary output in the different regions."

Meanwhile, Kiwi Emma Martin's "Two Girls in a Boat" won the best short story award, with chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Berardine Evaristo praising its "gorgeous, elegant and spare writing".

Both winners were presented with their awards at the Hay Festival on Friday (8th June), by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.