The 2012 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Shortlist

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Yesterday the 2012 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize shortlist was announced.

The prize is

Awarded for best first book and is open to writers from the Commonwealth who have had their first novel (full length work of fiction) published between 1 January and 31 December 2011.

The shortlisted books are:


Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua (India)

The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Pakistan)

The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya (India)

The Book of Answers by C.Y. Gopinath (India) (eBook only)

Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka (Sri Lanka)


Patchwork by Ellen Banda-Aaku (Zambia)

Jubilee by Shelley Harris (South Africa)

The Dubious Salvation Of Jack V. by Jacques Strauss (South Africa)

Canada and Europe

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards (UK)

The Town that Drowned by Riel Nason (Canada)

Dancing Lessons by Olive Senior (Canada)

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud (Canada)

The Dancing and the Death on Lemon Street by Denis Hirson (UK)

Pao by Kerry Young (UK)

The Caribbean

Sweetheart by Alecia McKenzie  (Jamaica)

The Pacific

The Ottoman Motel by Christopher Currie (Australia)

The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen (Australia)

Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane (Australia)

Me and Mr Booker by Cory Taylor (Australia)

The New Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is my favourite book award – I seem to love more of their winners than any other book prize. This year the format has changed slightly in that the prize is now only for debut authors and shortlists are not given for each region (I divided the above shortlist into regions out of curiosity)

The only problem with the award is that most of the books are not available globally. Only 11 are available in the UK (the ones in the above list with links to Amazon).

I’ve read 4 of the shortlist already:

The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad

Important, powerful book about the loss of a traditional way of life.

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud

Beautifully written, but bizarre look at memory and loss.

The Dubious Salvation Of Jack V. by Jacques Strauss

Entertaining story from POV of an 11-year-old boy, unfortunately ending isn’t as good as first half.

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards

Moving story about a difficult relationship between a mother and her son.

Two of the other books available to the UK are about cricket (The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya and Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka) and so as I have an aversion to the sport I’m reluctant to try them. That only leaves a few, so I should be able to read them before the winner is announced on 8th June.

Have you read any of the shortlist?

Which book would you like to win?



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