Jonathan Tel from the UK has won the 2015 commonwealth short story prize for his story The Human Phonograph.
The Human Phonograph, set in 1969 China, chronicles the journey of a woman as she leaves Beijing to reunite with her husband in a remote nuclear base in the Qinghai province.
Romesh Gunesekera, Chair of the international panel of judges said “The Human Phonograph ranges from the personal to the universal. The resonances remained with the judges, long after the reading. As one said, we were drawn into the lonely world of the protagonists and we stayed there. It is a disconcerting, extraordinary story of an individual in search of independence in a difficult world.”
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize seeks to discover new original voices in the short story genre from the 53 countries of the commonwealth. A prize of $5000 is awarded to the overall winner, who is chosen from a list of regional winners who each gets $2500.
This year’s regional winners are Light by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), The umbrella man by Siddhartha Giddo (India), The King Of Settlement 4 by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad), Famished Eels by Mary Rokonadravu (Fiji), and The Human Phonograph by Jonathan Tel (Uk).