University is celebrating trio of awards

WINNER: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
WINNER: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
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A university lecturer has beaten thousands of writers to win the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is one of a hat-trick of tutors at Lancaster University to pick up top accolades.

Native Ugandan, she has a PhD in creative writing from Lancaster where she teaches in the department of English and creative writing.

The Commonwealth award was presented in Kampala by the novelist and short-story writer Romesh Gunesekera.

Jennifer said winning the overall prize was like “a dream”.

“For Uganda, once described as a literary desert, it shows how the country’s literary landscape is changing and I am proud to be a part of it,” she added.

The Commonwealth award was presented in Kampala by the novelist and short-story writer Romesh Gunesekera.

Her short story entitled “Let’s Tell This Story Properly” was praised by the judges for what they called its “risk taking, grace and breadth”.

The competition was open to the 53 countries in the Commonwealth, where so far unpublished stories were entered by nearly 4,000 writers.

Jennifer’s doctoral novel, The Kintu Saga, won the Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013.

She said: “Lancaster University is of course pivotal in the development of my career not only because of the funding I received when I wrote Kintu but also the continued offer of associate teaching which has further honed my writing skills.”

Jennifer is currently working on her second novel.

Anne Garden, head of the university’s medical school and one of Morecambe Bay Hospitals’ non-executive directors has been honoured by the Queen with an MBE.

She said: “I got a letter about five weeks ago but was told I had to keep it in the strictest confidence.

“I had absolutely no idea I was going to get the honour – this sort of thing happens to other people not me. It just never even entered my mind that anyone like me would get something like that.

“I feel actually very overwhelmed and of course really, really pleased.

“Having to keep quiet for five weeks was hard work. I thought the letter was a mix up at first and had to read it a few times before I would believe it.

“The first person I told was my mum and she was thrilled. My dad died three years ago and she said how proud he would have been. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take her down for the ceremony.”

The university’s Distinguished Professor Cary Cooper will be knighted for services to social science.