NEW YORK: Kritika Pandey, the 29-year-old Indian author who won the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, has voiced her hope that the award would help "more people trust their daughters and their dreams."
Pandey won the award for her short story 'The Great Indian Tee and Snakes', a statement from the University of Massachusetts Amherst said on Tuesday.
Pandey was awarded in an online ceremony by The Commonwealth Foundation.
She is a 2020 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Master of Fine Arts for Poets and Writers.
Her short story is '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?', the statement said.
Last week, Pandey was also declared one of five Regional Winners for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her work.
A Pushcart-nominated writer from Jharkhand, Pandey is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including 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.
Pandey described winning the award as "an incredible moment" during an online ceremony to announce the Commonwealth Prize winners.
She expressed hope that the award "helps more people trust their daughters and their dreams."
In a previously recorded video, Pandey said that she chose to submit her story for the prize because the Commonwealth platform values the unique context of the post-colonial writer.
"I think telling stories is important because so much about our existence cannot be accounted for by any of the accepted epistemological categories out there. We try to make sense of our realities with facts and figures and dates and theories, so why not undertake a serious examination of our emotions as well. Writing stories allows me to study our nostalgias, sorrows, joys, infatuations and our infinite ways of being intelligent, without being intellectual."
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000-5,000 words) in English.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 total prize money of 15,000 pounds.
The overall winner receives 5,000 pounds, one of the highest amounts for an international prize for unpublished short stories.
Regional winners each receive 2,500 pounds, the statement said.