Story on death and chocolate wins 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Ms Ingrid Persaud, 51, winner of this year's Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
Ms Ingrid Persaud, 51, winner of this year's Commonwealth Short Story Prize.PHOTO: COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE

A tale of chocolate and terminal illness clinched this year's Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which was presented today (June 30) at The Arts House.

Full-time author Ingrid Persaud's story The Sweet Sop, was chosen as the overall winner from among five winners from different commonwealth regions - Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific. A record 6,000 entries were received this year.

The chair of the judging panel, novelist Kamila Shamsie, said: "The judges were very impressed by The Sweet Sop's originality, the strength of its characterisation, the control of voice, and its humour and emotional punch."

"I am humbled to be this year's winner," said Ms Persaud, 51, who is from Trinidad and Tobago. "The Sweet Sop is an intimate story that attempts to ask universal questions. I hope you enjoy it."

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

This is Ms Persaud's first short story. She was inspired by terminal illness and the recent deaths of close family members, as well as the true story of an assassination engineered by regularly feeding the victim poisoned Belgian chocolates.

The Prize, which is in its sixth year, is awarded to the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English. Next year, the prize will also be open to Malay, Chinese, and Tamil entries for the first time. It is judged by an international panel of writers, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth.

The Sweet Sop can be read on Granta online at www.granta.com/the-sweet-sop/.