Eswatini author wins Commonwealth literature prize

APA-Mbabane (Eswatini)

An Eswatini national is the 2022 winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, organisers announced on Sunday.

Mbabane-born chemist Ntsika Kota shrugged off stiff competition from 6,728 other contestants from around the world to win the £5,000 (about US$6,137) prize for his story titled  “And the earth drank deep”. 

The imaginary story is about a group of villagers in a hunter-gatherer society that faced threats from wild animals, disease and unexpected death. 

‘This year’s winner is an instant classic: a linear narrative in the tradition of the realist short story. The events unfold around a central ethical conceit with tension that accumulates, and a surprise ending leaves the reader with many questions and in a state of provocation,” according to Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar, chairman of the judges panel.

Kota, 29, is a self-taught writer who says he was originally inspired by a high school writing assignment. 

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is free to enter and is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth. 

It is the only literature prize in the world where entries can be submitted in several languages, including Chinese, Creole, English, French, Greek, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil and Turkish.


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