July 19, 2024
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I’m speechless, thrilled, says Commonwealth Prize winner 2024, Sanjana Thakur

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  • June 29, 2024
  • 2 min read
I’m speechless, thrilled, says Commonwealth Prize winner 2024, Sanjana Thakur

I’m honoured to be this year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner.

And most of all, I am grateful to this community of writers and readers for reading my story, connecting with it and deciding it deserves to be out in the world.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize has a special place in my heart; it is one of few which prioritises the place and context of both the story and the author. And for me, place is such an important part of my creative process.

India and my home city of Mumbai are integral to my writing. If Aishwarya Rai had a fragrance, it would be strong and bright: mud and rain, green chillies and potatoes frying in hot oil, sweat and jasmine flowers and salt.
Those are the smells of the city for me.

Each time I go back to Mumbai, the city has shifted, and so have I. Mumbai is constantly shifting and moving and dancing, so the process of reconstructing home emerges in all the stories I write.

The prize allows all of us to think about the meaning of home, of new approaches to postcolonial placemaking and linkages and of what it means to be a part of this community.

It’s been a dream to be a regional winner alongside four brilliant writers whom I deeply respect: Pip Robertson (New Zealand), Reena Usha Rungoo (Mauritius), Julia Bouchard (Canada) and Portia Subran (Trinidad and Tobago).

I was so inspired after hearing about their creative processes during the award ceremony. Through their nuanced and attentive writing, they’re all thinking and reimagining what our world could be.

You can revisit their thoughtful remarks and our insights about the writing process in the award ceremony, which is now available to watch online.

I’m so grateful to be a part of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
It reminds me that our stories connect us. They bind us. They remind us of what we have: each other.

In gratitude,

Sanjana.

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