A Sabah-Born Writer Was Shortlisted For The 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Here’s some good news! A Sabah-born writer has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

a sabah-born writer was shortlisted for the 2020 commonwealth short story prizePhoto: Instagram Commonwealth Writers 

Out of 5,000 entries across the globe, 25-year-old Sharmini Aphrodite and her short fiction entitled ‘Ouroboros, Ouroboros’ is among the 20 entries to qualify for the prestigious contest.

‘Ouroboros, Ouroboros’ tells the story of a young woman who goes on a journey to her ancestral village to visit her grandmother, where she was haunted by a tiger that no one believes to exist.

In an article by The Rakyat Post, Sharmini was said to have drawn the inspiration for her story from her own life experiences. She interprets the motive behind the story to things that get lost in translation and that the title itself relates to ancient symbols that signify life and death.

a sabah-born writer was shortlisted for the 2020 commonwealth short story prizePhoto: Youtube Smokelong Quaterly 

Sharmini is not new to writing. Her writing has been featured on 2015’s Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, The Smokelong Quarterly and even credited by the Frieze Magazine’s Art Writing Price in 2017. She was also shortlisted for a few awards such as Singapore’s 2017 Golden Point Awards, and the Australian Book Review’s Jolley Short Story Prize in 2018.

As for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, it is an annual competition that acknowledges writers of unpublished fiction, participated by members from the 54 Commonwealth nations. In 2019, 2 Malaysian writers were shortlisted for the prize, with one taking home the regional title of the competition.

Sharmini is honoured to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award and like many Malaysians, is currently observing the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Johor while regularly crossing the causeway to Singapore for work purposes.

Congratulations Sharmini! You make Malaysia proud.

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya