Renowned Fijian author wins Short Story Prize

May 23, 2022 10:50 am

Mary Rokonadravu. [Source: Supplied]

Fijian author Mary Rokonadravu has won the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the Pacific.

Rokonadravu’s “The Nightwatch” story beat off competition from a strong field of shortlisted entrants including Australian writers Sarah Walker and Eleanor Kirk, New Zealander Shelley Burne-Field, and Baka Bina from Papua New Guinea, to become the Pacific winner.

‘The Nightwatch’ is a story about the plight of ordinary people within the machinations of capitalism and fundamentalism and its influence on indigenous peoples and their responses to national and global events.

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Rokonadravu is a renowned Fijian writer of mixed indigenous Fijian, indentured Indian, and settler European heritage.

She won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the Pacific region in 2015 and was shortlisted in 2017.

Her short stories have been published by Granta, and adda, and included in anthologies by the University of London Press, and Penguin Random House New Zealand.

The judge representing the Pacific region, Australian Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic Jeanine Leane, says, ‘‘The Nightwatch’ highlights the environmental crisis in the Pacific region which is cleverly juxtaposed against the backdrop of a political coup in an extended metaphor that destabilises and unsettles Eurocentric values.

Rokonadravu’s literary piece will go through the final round of judging and the overall winner will be announced on June 21st.