Jarred Thompson, a South African writer, has won this year’s Afritondo Short Story Prize. Afritondo is a UK based online publication. The South African writer was named the winner for his story “Good Help Is Hard to Find”. He will take home the winning prize of $1000.
He beat off stiff competition from 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.
The winner was chosen by a panel of three judges comprising 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 in event feel lean. The author skillfully 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.”
Also speaking on the prize, co-editor of Afritondo, 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.”