Recent ASU Alumnus Wins Inaugural United Kingdom Short Story Prize!

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Writer ASU alumnus Jarred Thompson.jpg
Pictured above is ASU alumnus & winning South African author Jarred Thompson (contributed).
- By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU.

A recent graduate of Alabama State University is the winner of a United Kingdom-based international literary prize ahead of 421 other authors who hail from 19 different nations, as announced by the editor of the Afritondo literary journal, which held the contest.

Jarred Thompson, an ASU class of 2016 summa cum laude graduate, and a resident of Johannesburg, South Africa, is the inaugural 2020 'Afritondo Short Story Prize' winner for his story ‘Good Help Is Hard to Find.’ The awarding organization, Afritondo, is a media and publishing platform with a goal to tell the stories of Africans and black minority populations across the globe. It encourages and promotes literature, via global strategic prize competitions. 

The ASU alumnus was delighted that his years of crafting stories was formally recognized. 

"I'm so grateful for my art to be acknowledged in this way. Winning the Afritondo Short Story Prize, a prize for African writers and African minorities, means a lot to me because, I am dedicated to be telling authentic African stories, which don't just relate to local experiences, but to the human experience through a South African lens," Thompson said. 


Thompson, who majored in English at ASU, was an international student that attended the University during the years 2012-2016. He was a stand-out member of ASU's men's tennis team that was the first tennis team at ASU to win the SWAC championship, which happened in 2015. 

"I am deeply indebted to the amazing English professors at ASU, especially its chair, Dr. Jacqueline Trimble and its faculty members, Dr. Mark Hill, Dr. Kathaleen Amende, Dr. Phillip Blackmon and Dr. John Craig," Thompson stated. "Each one of them has shaped my writing and reading sensibilities tremendously, and through their teaching, has inspired me to pursue a career in academia as well. In my mind, they are the finest teachers and mentors that a budding writer like myself could have had in college," Thompson added. 

He said that he hopes to draw from the strength in his writing and hopes that his words may inspire other student writers at the University to continue writing and responding to the world critically and artistically.  


The narrative from the panel of judges wrote that Thompson's winning story Good Help is Hard to Find  is a "wry, subversive take on suburbia and its secrecy, which is made all the more powerful by a tight narrative, strong voice and sensitive characterization."

The judges go on to explain that Thompson's tale tells the story of a domestic servant and her employer who is struggling with the affection she feels for another woman. The panel of experts noted that what they most enjoyed about the story was its "unhurried style and the manner in which the author made the story so lush." They went on to write that "The author skillfully amplified the comfort of routine, trust, and laughter, offering a delightfully queer treatment of everyday life, peppered with humour and warmth."


Thompson said that Alabama State University laid the foundation of his literary learning, which helped him to be a better writer and helped him win this international prize.

"I will forever be grateful to ASU's English department faculty for sharing their insights and their humanity with me," Thompson added.

For more information on Afritondo, visit this link: