South African writer Jarred Thompson wins 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize

02 April 2020 - 11:19
Jarred Thompson, winner of the 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize.
Jarred Thompson, winner of the 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize.
Image: Supplied

Afritondo announced the winner of the 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize on March 27.

South African writer Jarred Thompson has been named this year’s winner for his story Good Help Is Hard to Find.

Thompson beat off stiff competition from the four other shortlisted authors: Philani Nyoni (Zimbabwe), Kojo Obeng-Andoh (Ghana), Davina Kuwuma (Uganda), and Hannah Onoguwe (Nigeria).

The prize, which is open to African and black minority writers, received 421 entries from across 19 countries. The theme of the competition was love and an anthology of the longlisted stories is expected by summer of 2020.

Thompson will take home the winning prize of $1,000 (R18,190).

He was chosen by a panel of three judges: South African writer and author of Milk Fever, Megan Ross, Nigerian editor Kelechi Njoku and Kenyan writer Gloria Mwaniga.

Commenting on the winning story, the panel said: “Good Help is Hard to Find is a wry, subversive take on suburbia and its secrecies, made all the more powerful by a tight narrative, strong voice and sensitive characterisation.

“What the judges loved about the story was its unhurried style and the manner in which the author made a story so lush an event feel lean. The author skilfully amplified the comfort of routine, trust and laughter, offering a delightfully queer treatment of everyday life, peppered with humour and warmth. The close observations of the little details of domestic life, and the relationships herein, were a joy to read.”

Afritondo is a UK-based media and publishing platform that aims to improve diversity in publishing by offering African and black writers an accessible platform for their stories. Co-editor Dr Allwell Uwazuruike said: “Our aim for the competition was to connect with African and black minority writers from across the globe to tell their own authentic stories.

“We chose love as a theme because we wanted something that was both ordinary and special. We wanted a theme that would resonate with most people and we wanted to gauge the various perspectives of love from across African and black communities. We are happy at the positive response and can’t wait to share the anthology with our readers.”

Article provided by Afritondo