Jennifer Makumbi was announce the overall winner for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is Ugandan on Friday 13th june. The East African was awarded her prize at a glittering ceremony on Friday evening in Kampala, Uganda by novelist and short story writer Romesh Gunesekera.
Her winning story is about a grieving widow who arrives at Entebbe Airport from Manchester with her husband’s coffin, but events take such a dramatic turn that she must relinquish her widowhood and fight.
The author took her time to speak to Ellah Allfrey on the morning after the win and she gave her views on many things. They included her struggle to get her work out there – her first book The Kintu Saga has taken over a decade to see the light of day. She also gives her thoughts on a topic I most hate where literature from this part of the world is concerned, “Uganda as a literary desert” prompted by Ms Allfrey.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize unearths, identifies and develops original voices from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. This year unpublished stories were entered by nearly 4,000 writers from the five Commonwealth regions. The award was presented in Kampala, Uganda, on 13 June by the novelist and short story writer Romesh Gunesekera.
The judges praised Jennifer’s short story, Let’s Tell This Story Properly, for its risk- taking, grace and breadth.
The winning story is about a grieving widow who arrives at Entebbe Airport from Manchester with her husband’s coffin, but events take such a dramatic turn that she must relinquish her widowhood and fight.
Video: Jennifer talking to Chair of the judging panel, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey the morning after the announcement
“This is a dream. For Uganda, once described as a literary desert, it shows how the country’s literary landscape is changing and I am proud to be a part of it. The Commonwealth Short story Prize will help bring attention to Ugandan writing at a global level,” said Jennifer Makumbi, who lives in Manchester, UK.