Writing alumna shortlisted for Commonwealth Prize
2 May 2022
The only New Zealander to be shortlisted for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2022 is a graduate of the highly successful Master of Creative Writing programme at the University of Auckland.
Master of Creative Writing (MCW) alumna Shelley Burne-Field (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Rārua) is the only New Zealander to be shortlisted for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from the Commonwealth.
Shelley’s story Speaking in Tongues is described as being about “loss of language, about community, and about being seen and heard”.
She is delighted to be selected and knows there will be people who can relate to the message in her story.
“He tino harikoa ahau!
"I’m happy that readers may have a chance to connect with the characters in this story. I encourage them to think more about what language loss and language trauma means to them as individuals, as well as within their own culture.”
A fiction writer and graduate of both the University of Auckland MCW and Te Papa Tupu (a writing programme developed by the Māori Literature Trust and organised by Huia Publishers), she was a finalist in the 2021 Voyager Media Awards and is also a regular writer for E-Tangata.
Her short fiction has appeared on RNZ and in Newsroom and various anthologies.
I encourage readers to think more about what language loss and language trauma means.
Shelley is not the first University alumna to be successful in this competition. Harley Hern, a 2015 MCW alumna, was named the regional winner for the Pacific in 2019.
This year’s shortlist of 26 was chosen from more than 6,700 entries from 52 Commonwealth countries, with international judging panel chair, Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar, calling the shortlisted works “memorable and urgent stories that captured the concerns of their respective communities”.
It is the only prize in the world where entries can be submitted in Bengali, Chinese, English, Greek, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Swahili, Tamil, and Turkish; with the addition this year of stories from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, Gibraltar and Eswatini.
The regional winners will be announced on 23 May and the overall winner at an award ceremony on 21 June 2022.
Read more from Shelley: authory.com/ShelleyBurneField