(Trinidad Guardian) Trinidadian author Kevin Jared Hosein has won the Commonwealth Short Story title—one of the world’s most global literary prizes.
The announcement was made by novelist and poet Sarah Hall, chair of the judges, during the prize-giving ceremony at the Centre of Visual Arts and Research in Nicosia, Cyprus, last night.
Having been named the Caribbean regional winner for the prize in 2015 and again this year, Hosein convinced the jury with “a truly crafted piece of fiction” that was “immediately and uniformly admired” in Passage, she said.
In the piece, Hosein sends a mid-life crisis-ridden protagonist into the wilderness in search of a mystery woman—with unforeseen consequences for others and for himself.
“Our winning story, Passage, was immediately and uniformly admired by the judges. It is an uncanny bar story about a man who hears a strange tale, only to become part of the tale’s re-lived strangeness. It balances between formal language and demotic, ideas of civility and ferality, is tightly woven and suspenseful, beautifully and eerily atmospheric and finally surprising,” Hall said.
“It is, in essence, all a reader could want from the short story form; a truly crafted piece of fiction that transports the reader into another world, upends expectations, and questions the nature of narratives and narrative consequence.”
Commenting on his victory, Hosein said: “I wasn’t expecting it. First to be among this eclectic quintet of winning stories, all with central resonating themes—happiness, connection, isolation, freedom, repression, acceptance. Then to be chosen from that, I feel incredibly honoured that this Trinidadian tale has travelled so far.”
He added: “I hope others in my region are inspired by this accomplishment.”
Hosein is the author of three books, The Beast of Kukuyo (Burt Award for Caribbean Literature), The Repenters (OCM Bocas Prize for Fiction shortlist) and Littletown Secrets.
He has been twice short-listed for the Small Axe Prize for Prose and his work has been featured in numerous publications, such as Lightspeed, Adda and most recently, We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture.