Cypriot author awarded Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Cypriot author Constantia Soteriou’s Death Customs was awarded the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, it was announced on Tuesday evening, in Quebec.

According to a press release published at the international competition’s website ‘Death Customs’, was translated from Greek into English by Lina Protopapa, a translator and cultural critic based in Cyprus.

It is a story about the women of Cyprus; mothers or wives who were left to believe that their beloved persons were missing after the 1974 war, while the state had clear evidence about their death.

Author Caryl Phillips, Chair of Judges said that Death Customs is a remarkable short story that manages to be both personal � following, as it does, the painful narrative of a woman who has lost her son � and deeply political, in that it charts the division of a land as it topples into civil war.

Death Customs, he noted, is poetically intense and complex in form and subject-matter, yet the story remains admirably lucid and moving, and deservedly wins the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

On her part, Constantia Soteriou said she feels honoured and happy to win this amazing prize; it feels like a reward for all the hard work I have been doing over the last eight years, writing about the perspectives of women on the political and historical events of Cyprus.

This prize, she added, is a recognition for giving voice to those who did not have the chance to be heard before; those who were left behind to pick up the mess of the war.

Constantia Soteriou was born in Nicosia in 1975. Her first novel Aishe Goes on Vacation (Patakis, 2015) received the Athens Prize for Literature award. Her second book Voices Made of Soil (Patakis, 2017) was included on the shortlist for the Cyprus Literature Awards.

She has written plays for independent stages and for the Cyprus Theatre Organization.

Lina Protopapa, who translated this year’s overall winning story from Greek into English, lives in Nicosia, Cyprus, where she works as a translator and cultural critic.

Source: Cyprus News Agency