Innocent Chizaram Ilo Crowned 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Winner for Africa

23-year-old Innocent Chizaram Ilo from Nigeria is the regional winner for Africa of the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for their short story “When a Woman Renounces Motherhood.” He becomes the youngest-ever writer to be awarded the Africa region prize. 

Ilo follows Zambia’s Mbozi Haimbe who won the Africa region prize last year for her short story “Madam’s Sister.” He emerged winner in a shortlist that included Caleb Ozovehe Ajinomoh, Ghanian Aba Asibon, South African Alboricah Tokologo Rathupetsane and ML Kejera from The Gambia.

The judging panel that selected Ilo’s work was chaired by Ghanaian writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes and five other judges representing the five regions of the Commonwealth: Mohale Mashigo for Africa, William Phuan for Asia, Heather O’Neill for Canada and Europe, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw for Caribbean and Nic Low for Pacific.

Winning the regional prize comes with a £2,500 cash prize and publication in Granta.

The other regional winners are: “The Great Indian Tee and Snakes” by Kritika Pandey (Asia Region), “Wherever Mister Jensen Went” by Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe Region), “Mafootoo” by Brian S. Heap (Caribbean Region) and “The Art of Waving” by Andrea E. Macleod (Pacific Region).

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