Faraaz Mahomed is the winner of the Commonwealth Regional Prize for the African region 2016.
Mahomed was named winner for his riveting short story, “The Pigeon”.
The South African beat six other contestants from Nigeria and his home country to bag the prize.
Mahomed who is also a clinical psychologist, distinguished scholar and human rights researcher, specializes mostly on academic writing, with several journal articles relating to human rights defining his resume.
“I am an unseasoned writer, who continues to struggle with the insecurities and anxieties of inexperience. Winning the Commonwealth Prize for the African region is more than an accolade, it’s a prompting to continue down this path.” An elated Mahomed said.
Helon Habila, who was on the judging panel, described the winning story as a carefully and patiently woven tale about love, lust, guilt, and escape, illustrating how humans will always come short of ideals, and must learn to accept it.
“As a novelist accustomed to the luxury of the long form it has been a treat to discover writers who manage to crystallize such different experiences into so few words. The stories we have chosen for the shortlist are in turn comic, touching, poetic, mysterious, but always fresh and unexpected.” South African author and judges chair Gillian Slovo said in a statement to Bdlive.
The winners from the other four regions included; New Zealander Tina Makereti (pacific region), Indian Parashar Kulkarni (Asia region), Canada and Europe region had Stephanie Seddon from the UK, Lance Dowrich from Trinidad and Tobago represented the Caribbean.
Regional winners will now compete for the overall winner of the 2016 Commonwealth Prize that will be announced during Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica on June 5.
This year’s prize attracted over 400 entries from 47 countries.
The commonwealth has partnered with Granta Magazine (granta.com) where the winning regional stories will be published.