UMass Amherst Graduate Kritika Pandey Wins 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Kritika Pandey
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AMHERST, Mass. – Kritika Pandey, a 2020 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s MFA for Poets and Writers, wins the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her short story, “The Great Indian Tee and Snakes” about two young people trying to solve the age-old riddle of human existence: how does one love in the era of hatred and prejudice?

Pandey, a Pushcart-nominated writer from Jharkhand, India, is the winner of the 2020 James W. Foley Memorial Award, the 2018 Harvey Swados Fiction Prize, the 2018 Cara Parravani Memorial Award in Fiction from UMass, and a 2014 Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Pandey is also the recipient of a 2020 grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation.

In an online ceremony announcing the Commonwealth Prize winners, Pandey said winning was “an incredible moment.” She hopes this honor “helps more people trust their daughters and their dreams.”

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Each year the judges select five winning writers who share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international prize for unpublished short stories. Regional winners each receive £2,500.

In addition to this cash prize, Regional Winners also have their stories published in “Granta.”

Pandey’s story can be read online and view her YouTube video as she discusses the shortlisted story and why she entered the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.


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