Parashar Kulkarni, an Assistant Professor in social sciences at Yale NUS College, Singapore has become the first ever Indian to win the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

From among 4,000 entries, Parashar’s story, “Cow and Company”, the first story the author has ever written won. Kulkarni focuses on religion and violence in colonial India in his academic work.

His winning story, “Cow and Company”, is set in India in the early 1900s, and follows four men looking for a cow to feature in advertisements for chewing gum.

Although he has also completed a novella and is working on a second, “Cow and Company” is the first ever short story he will write.

Kulkarni previously won the British Academy Brian Barry prize in political science for his research on religion, property rights and violence against women in colonial India.

He said that he began using fiction therapeutically, but that it has since taken on a life of its own.

According to one of the judges, Gillian Slovo, Kulkarni’s work “succeeded in exploring serious issues in a way that can make us laugh.”

Kulkarni’s award of 5000 pounds was presented to him at the Calabash international literary festival in Jamaica on Sunday by Man Booker prizewinner and former judge of the prize, Marlon James.

Author: Ope Adedeji