Kritika Pandey was announced as the overall winner of the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story ‘The Great Indian Tee and Snakes’.

The story tells of an unlikely friendship which reaches across religious divides, set against the background of a tea seller’s stall. The author writes of two young people trying to solve an age-old riddle of human existence: how can love overcome the forces of hatred and prejudice? Pandey says, ‘I created a strong-willed character of a Hindu girl who chooses to love a Muslim boy, even though she knows that she is not “supposed to”.’

An extract from the story was read at the winners ceremony on 30 June by award-winning Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker, and you can read ‘The Great Indian Tee and Snakes’ now on Granta

More about the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize