The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) held a reception for UK-based winners of the 2007 Commonwealth Short Story Competition on 10 December. The event was held in the sumptuous Blenheim Saloon of historic Marlborough House.
Going to the venue, I had to walk through Trafalgar Square. It was evening and the throngs of tourists had gone back to their hotel rooms. Still it was poignant for me, walking through here, as Trafalgar Square is the major set-piece in ‘Trial By Water’ the short story I had come to collect a Highly Commended Award for.
The first person I encountered in the Blenheim Saloon C.J Onyia, who was Highly Commended in the 2006 competition for her story, ‘Anywhere But Here’. Our first meeting, and we had much to talk about, so we stuck together most of the evening. A greater surprise perhaps, was the realisation that the Nigerian Television Authority had come to film the event. What were the chances of that! The delightful Hauwa Yusuf was the only television correspondent for that matter. She also interviewed a some people, including myself and Indian Manasi Subramaniam.
Award winners, guests, wine, nibbles and discussions floated about in the pleasant atmosphere. Elizabeth Smith OBE of CBA and Mark Collins of the Commonwealth Foundation gave brief speeches ahead of the award presentations. Emily Pedder (Regional winner –Europe- for ‘Days Are Long’) could not make it and sent a friend, Monique Roffey to collect on her behalf. Fran Hunnisett won the same award last year but hadn’t been able to collect; better late than never, as she finally bagged it in the Blenheim Saloon.
Highly Commended winners on the night: Juliet O’Callaghan (UK; for ‘In Arms’); Faye Davies (UK; for ‘The Flying Carpet’); Manasi Subramaniam (India; for ‘Arranged Marriage’). I collected a copy of the 2007 Short Story CD, the prize cheque and a certificate I’m tempted to frame... Australian Ash Rehn prevented the night being an all female affair. Read his award winning story, The Hook Up, online.