Hampshire College Alum Kanya D'Almeida 06F Wins the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Hampshire College alum Kanya D'Almeida 06F, a Sri Lankan writer and journalist, is the 2021 winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an international award given annually to promote talented new and emerging voices and bring them to a global audience. D’Almeida is the first Sri Lankan to win the overall prize and the second to win for the Asia region.

The Commonwealth Foundation announced D’Almeida’s win in an online award ceremony on June 30 which featured readings from Zambian author Mubanga Kalimamukwento, Sri Lankan actress Ranmali Mirchandani, British actress Lyndsey Marshal, Jamaican author Kei Miller, and Australian actress Francesca Savige.

Kanya D’Almeida’s winning story, ‘I Cleaned The—‘, can be found at Granta.

While at Hampshire College, D'Almeida studied English and political science. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and is the host of The Darkest Light, a podcast exploring birth and motherhood in Sri Lanka.

From the Commonwealth Prize announcement:

“I’ve long felt that fiction is the last ‘free’ place on earth in which to fully envision (and execute!) radical alternatives to the often dismal systems that govern us. To have won the prize for a story about two destitute, aging women in Sri Lanka digging through the debris of their lives in search of a little dignity is more than a blessing—it’s a firm order from the universe to keep inventing ways for the powerless to gather together, giggle together, and win,” D’Almeida said.

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