Awards & Other Booklists

Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book (1987–2011)


To encourage and reward the upsurge of new Commonwealth fiction and ensure that works of merit reach a wider audience outside their country of origin, the Commonwealth Foundation established the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1987.

The objectives of the prize are to promote new voices, reward achievement, encourage wider readership and greater literacy, thereby increasing appreciation of different cultures and building understanding between cultures

The overall winners have a blue background; those not in blue are the winners of the listed regions.

The Best Book prize (overall and regional) was first awarded in 1987. In 1988 the Best Best First Book prize was awarded for each region, but each regional winner had to contend with the Best Book winners for the title of overall Best Book. The first overall Best Best First Book was awarded in 1989.

For more information see:The Commonwealth Foundation website



Click on the titles below to search the catalog

Year Region Award Title Author Country
2011 Africa Best Book The Memory of Love Aminatta Forna Sierra Leone
  Africa Best First Book Happiness is a four-letter word Cynthia Jele South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Room Emma Donoghue Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Bird Eat Bird Katrina Best Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet David Mitchell UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Sabra Zoo Mischa Hiller UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book That Deadman Dance Kim Scott Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book A Man Melting Craig Cliff New Zealand
2010 Africa Best Book The Double Crown Marié Heese South Africa
  Africa Best First Book I Do Not Come to You By Chance Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Galore Michael Crummey Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Under This Unbroken Sky Shandi Mitchell Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Solo Rana Dasgupta India/UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book In Other Rooms, Other Wonders Daniyal Mueenuddin Pakistan
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Adventures of Vela' Albert Wendt Samoa
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Siddon Rock Glenda Guest Australia
2009 Africa Best Book The Lost Colours of the Chameleon Mandla Langa South Africa
  Africa Best First Book Say You‘re One of Them Uwem Akpan Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Good to a Fault Marina Endicott Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Reading by Lightning Joan Thomas Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Unaccustomed Earth Jhumpa Lahiri UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book A Case of Exploding Mangoes Mohammed Hanif Pakistan
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Slap Christos Tsiolkas Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Year of the Shanghai Shark Mo Zhi Hong New Zealand
2008 Africa Best Book The Hangman's Game Karen King-Aribisala Nigeria
  Africa Best First Book Imagine This Sade Adeniran Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The Book of Negroes Lawrence Hill Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book The End of the Alphabet C.S.Richardson Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Animal's People Indra Sinha India
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book A Golden Age Tahmima Anam Bangladesh
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Time We Have Taken Steven Carroll Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Anatomy of Wings Karen Foxlee Australia
2007 Africa Best Book The Native Commissioner Shaun Johnson South Africa
  Africa Best First Book All We Have Left Unsaid Maxine Case South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The Friends of Meager Fortune David Adams Richards Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Vandal Love DY Bechard Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book The Perfect Man Naeem Murr UK
  Europe and South Asia Best Best First Book In the Country of Men Hisham Matar UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Mister Pip Lloyd Jones New Zealand
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Tuvalu Andrew O'Connor Australia
2006 Africa Best Book The Sun by Night Benjamin Kwayke Ghana Africa
  Africa Best First Book Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe Doreen Baingana Uganda
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Alligator Lisa Moore Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Suspended Sentences: Fictions of Atonement Mark McWatt Guyana
  Europe and South Asia Best Book On Beauty Zadie Smith UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Lazy Eye Donna Daley-Clarke UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Secret River Kate Grenville Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Harmony Silk Factory Tash Aw Malaysia
2005 Africa Best Book Boy Lindsey Collen South Africa
  Africa Best First Book Purple Hibiscus Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Runaway Alice Munro Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Natasha and Other Stories David Bezmozgis Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Small Island Andrea Levy UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Sari Shop Rupa Bajwa India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The White Earth Andrew McGahan Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Home Larissa Behrendt Australia
2004 Africa Best Book The Good Doctor Damon Galgut South Africa
  Africa Best First Book Gardening at Night Diane Awerbuck South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Deafening Frances Itani Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen Kate Taylor Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book A Distant Shore Caryl Phillips UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Hamilton Case Michelle de Kretser Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Somewhere, Home Nada Awar Jarrar Australia
2003 Africa Best Book The Other Side of Silence André Brink South Africa
  Africa Best First Book Waiting for an Angel Helon Habila Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The Polished Hoe Austin Clarke Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book The Scent of a Lie Paulo da Costa Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Spies Michael Frayn UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Haweswater Sarah Hall UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Of a Boy Sonya Hartnett Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Rice Mother Rani Manicka Malaysia
2002 Africa Best Book The Pick Up Nadine Gordimer South Africa
  Africa Best First Book Ama Manu Herbstein South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage Alice Munro Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Martin Sloane Michael Redhill Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Atonement Ian McEwan UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The 18th Pale Descendant William Muir UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Gould's Book of Fish Richard Flanagan Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book In the Blue House Meaghan Delahunt Australia
2001 Africa Best Book The Heart of Redness Zakes Mda South Africa
  Africa Best First Book Thirteen Cents K Sello Duiker South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The Hero's Walk Anita Rau Badami Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Burning Ground Pearl Luke Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Super-Cannes J G Ballard UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book White Teeth Zadie Smith UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Company Arabella Edge Australia
2000 Africa Best Book Disgrace J M Coetzee South Africa
  Africa Best First Book The Legend of the Rockhills and other Stories Funso Aiyejina Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book What the Body Remembers Shauna Singh Baldwin Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain Jeffrey Moore Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book The Ground Beneath Her Feet Salman Rushdie UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Blue Bedspread Raj Kamal Jha India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Too Many Men Lily Brett Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Reconnaissance Kapka Kassabova New Zealand
1999 Africa Best Book If You Can Walk, You Can Dance Marion Molteno South Africa
  Africa Best First Book The Clothes of Nakedness Benjamin Kwakye Ghana
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Aelred's Sin Lawrence Scott Trinidad
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book The Electrical Field Kerri Sakamoto Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Master Georgie Beryl Bainbridge UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Difficult Daughters Manju Kapur India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Eucalyptus Murray Bail Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book In a Fishbone Church Catherine Chidgey New Zealand
1998 Africa Best Book Walking Still Charles Mungoshi Zimbabwe
  Africa Best First Book Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter Pamela Jooste South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Barney's Version Mordecai Richler Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Angel Falls Tim Wynveen Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Love and Longing in Bombay Vikram Chandra India
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book When Memory Dies A Sivanandan UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Jack Maggs Peter Carey Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Deadset Emma Tom Australia
1997 Africa Best Book Under the Tongue Yvonne Vera Zimbabwe
  Africa Best First Book At the Edge and other Cato Manor Stories Ronnie Govender South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Salt Earl Lovelace Trinidad
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Fall On Your Knees Ann-Marie MacDonald Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Every Man for Himself Beryl Bainbridge UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Interesting Facts about the State of Arizona Jeremy Poolman UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Leaning Towards Infinity Sue Woolfe Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Where We Once Belonged Sia Figiel Samoa
1996 Africa Best Book ----- ----- -----
  Africa Best First Book Winds of Change Dene Coetzee South Africa
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Icefields Thomas Wharton Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Therapy David Lodge UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Red Earth and Pouring Rain Vikram Chandra India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Grass Sister Gillian Mears Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Dead Sea Fruit Charlotte Randall New Zealand
1995 Africa Best Book The Master of Petersburg J M Coetzee South Africa
  Africa Best First Book The River and the Source Margaret A Ogola Kenya
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book A Way in the World V S Naipaul Trinidad
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Chorus of Mushrooms Hiromi Goto Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis de Bernières UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Newton's Niece Derek Beaven UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Riders Tim Winton Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Seasonal Adjustments Adib Khan Australia
1994 Africa Best Book The Rape of Sita Mar Lindsey Collen Mauritius
  Africa Best First Book Cry a Whisper Lucy Safo Ghana
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The Robber Bride Margaret Atwood Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book The Roads Are Down Vanessa Spence Jamaica
  Europe and South Asia Best Book A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth India
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Case of Emily V Keith Oatley UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Remembering Babylon David Malouf Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Mule's Foal Fotini Epanomitis Australia
1993 Africa Best Book Tides Isidore Okpewho Nigeria
  Africa Best First Book The Price of Liberty Paul Conton Sierra Leone
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The English Patient Michael Ondaatje Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Satellite City Alecia McKenzie Jamaica
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Persistent Rumours Lee Langley UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Thousand Faces of Night Githa Hariharan India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Ancestor Game Alex Miller Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Praise Andrew McGahan Australia
1992 Africa Best Book Changes Ama Ata Aidoo Ghana
  Africa Best First Book Grief Child Lawrence Darmani Ghana
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Such a Long Journey Rohinton Mistry Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Divina Trace Robert Antoni Bahamas
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Senor Vivo & the Coca Lord Louis de Bernieres UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book A Strange and Sublime Address Amit Chaudhury India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Ola Samoa Albert Wendt New Zealand
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Word Burners Beryl Fletcher New Zealand
1991 Africa Best Book The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar Syl Cheney-Coker Sierra Leone
  Africa Best First Book Our Wife and Other Stories Karen King-Aribisala Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Friend of My Youth Alice Munro Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Shape Shifter Pauline Melville Guyana
  Europe and South Asia Best Book Possession A. S. Byatt UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts Louis de Bernieres UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Great World David Malouf Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Story of the Year of 1912 in the Village of Elza Darzins Thea Welsh Australia
1990 Africa Best Book Harvest of Thorns Shimmer Chinodya Zimbabwe
  Africa Best First Book The Gunny Sack M. G. Vassanji Kenya
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Solomon Gursky Was Here Mordecai Richler Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Quaife Bone Bird Darlene Barry Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book The Great Indian Novel Shashi India
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book Myself and Marco Polo Paul Griffiths UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Bay of Contented Men Robert Drewe Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Visitors John Cranna New Zealand
1989 Africa Best Book Nervous Conditions Tsitsi Dangarembga Zimbabwe
  Africa Best First Book ----- ----- -----
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book Myal Erna Brodber Jamaica
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Women of Influence Bonnie Burnard Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book The Lost Father Marina Warner UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Trotter-Nama Allan Sealy India
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book The Carpathians Janet Frame New Zealand
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book Ride a Cock Horse Gillian Mears Australia
1988 Africa Best Book Heroes Festus Iyayi Nigeria
  Africa Best First Book The Setting Sun and the Rolling World Charles Mungoshi Zimbabwe
  Canada and the Caribbean Best Book The Honorary Patron Jack Hodgins Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean Best First Book Inspecting the Vaults Eric McCormack Canada
  Europe and South Asia Best Book The Songlines Bruce Chatwin UK
  Europe and South Asia Best First Book The Passion Jeanette Winterson UK
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book Oracles and Miracles Stevan Eldred-Grigg New Zealand
  SE Asia and South Pacific Best First Book The Sea and Summer George Turner Australia
1987 Africa Ben Okri Incidents at the Shrine William Heineman Nigeria
  Africa   A Forest of Flowers Ken Saro-Wiwa Nigeria
  Canada and the Caribbean   The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood Canada
  Canada and the Caribbean   Summer Lightning Olive Senior Jamaica
  Europe and South Asia   Plans for Departure Nayantara Sahgal India
  Europe and South Asia ----- ----- ----- -----
  SE Asia and South Pacific   Winter in Jerusalem Blanche d'Alpuget Australia
  SE Asia and South Pacific   The Matriarch Witi Ihimaera New Zealand