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On this latest episode of We’d Like a Word, we have something of a coup! Because Steve and Paul are chatting to Kritika Pandey, overall world-wide winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize!

Kritika first won the Asian heat of the competition, which got her to the final along with winners from Canada and Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific zone. On Tuesday (30th) it was announced that her story The Great Indian Tee and Snakes – had been voted the overall winner!

The Commonwealth Foundation announced Pandey’s win in an online award ceremony which featured readings from Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo and actors Swara Bhasker, Elizabeth McGovern, Kerry Fox, and Leila Bertand. 

Pandey, who hails from Ranchi, Jharkhand, was presented with the prize by Ghanaian author and Chair of the Judges Nii Ayikwei Parkes during a video call. She is the second Indian national to win the overall prize after Parashar Kulkarni in 2016.

Pandey’s winning story, The Great Indian Tee and Snakes, tells of an unlikely friendship which reaches across religious divides, set against the background of a tea seller’s stall. She writes of two young people trying to solve an age-old riddle of human existence: how can love overcome the forces of hatred and prejudice?  Pandey says, ‘I created a strong-willed character of a Hindu girl who chooses to love a Muslim boy, even though she knows that she is not “supposed to”.’

You can read the winning story here on the Granta website here.

Kritika’s website is here.

You can learn more about the prize here at the Commonwealth Writers website.

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We’d Like A Word is hosted by Paul Waters and Stevyn Colgan and goes out fortnightly. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Podcasts, Podcast Radio and many other podcast sites. Or you can listen to it via the hosting site – Anchor FM – by clicking here.

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