Maria Samuela on 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist

The MA in Creative Writing graduate's story has been shortlisted from over 5000 entries.

2017 MA in Creative Writing graduate Maria Samuela is one of twenty-one writers shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 'The world's most global literary prize' is awarded annually for the best unpublished short story submitted by a Commonwealth citizen.

'Bluey' was selected by a panel of international judges from over 5,081 submissions from fifty Commonwealth countries.

The shortlisted writers - aged between twenty and eighty - come from sixteen countries, including, for the first time, Tanzania, Zambia, Malaysia, Cyprus, and Barbados. Maria is one of just two New Zealanders shortlisted, alongside Harley Hern. Read the full shortlist.

Maria writes for children and adults. She's been published in the School Journal and had stories translated into five Pacific languages. Her stories are broadcast on National Radio and her adult stories have appeared in Turbine, Sport, and Takahē. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters and was the 2018 University Bookshop / Robert Lord Cottage summer writer in residence. Maria is of Cook Islands descent and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She is completing her first collection of stories for adults.

In 'Bluey', Rosie meets her dad's old mate and is swept up in a journey that exposes some past truths. The story makes sense of the adult world through the innocence of a child's eye and ever-inquiring mind.

Chair of the 2019 judging panel, the Kittitian-British novelist, playwright and essayist Caryl Phillips, says: 'The vitality and importance of the short story form is abundantly clear in this impressive shortlist of stories from around the world. These authors have dared to imagine into the lives of an amazingly wide range of characters and their stories explore situations that are both regional and universal.'

This year's judging panel includes Ugandan novelist and short story writer Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Pakistani writer and journalist Mohammed Hanif, Barbados's Karen Lord, British short story writer Chris Power, and New Zealand poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician Courtney Sina Meredith.

Fellow 2017 MA in Creative Writing graduate Lynne Robertson was shortlisted, and 2017 graduate Kirsten Griffiths was longlisted, for the 2018 Prize. The overall Prize has previously been won by MA graduate Emma Martin in 2012, and the Pacific Regional Commonwealth Short Story Prize by PhD Creative Writing Tina Makereti in 2016. The 2019 regional winners will be announced in May and the overall winner in July this year.