Jamaican authors Demoy Lindo and Kwame McPherson have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, joining three other writers on the list. The prize is awarded annually to the best unpublished short fiction piece by a writer from one of the 56 member states of the Commonwealth. The winner of the prize will be announced on June 27, 2023.
Demoy Lindo is under consideration for “Road Trip,” which tells the story of Jermaine, a zoology major who decides to take the chance of a college road trip to reclaim the heart of his girlfriend. Lindo, 21, was born in Portland Cottage and is a student at the University of the West Indies. He was the winner of the Jamaica Young Poet Laureate Prize in 2020 and has been published in journals like PREE Literature and New Voices.
McPherson attended London Metropolitan University and the University of Westminster. He was awarded the Poetic Soul prize in 2007 and in 2020 became the first Jamaican to receive the Flash Fiction Bursary Award in the Bridport Prize International Creative Writing Competition. McPherson is a prolific contributor to anthologies from Flame Tree Publishing in the United Kingdom, as well as to the anthology “The Heart of a Black Man” to be published in Los Angeles. He is shortlisted for his story “Ocoee,“ which combines African American reality and history with Caribbean folklore.
The other shortlisted stories include “The Ovelias at Benzie Hill Dump” by Alexia Tolas from the Bahamas, “Where The Winds Blow” by Cosmata Lindie of Guyana), and “Teef from Teef” by Deborah Lee Matthews of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Commonwealth Prize accepts entries in Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil, and Turkish, as well as English. The 2023 shortlist was chosen from a total of 6,642 entries from the Commonwealth nations, including first-time entries from Togo and Gabon, the Commonwealth’s newest members. The ten men and 18 women on the shortlist range in age from 20 to 74, and 27 writers are new to the shortlist in 2023.