Author profile: Jared Thomas

Jared ThomasJared Thomas was born in Port Augusta in 1976. Both his parents have Aboriginal heritage, with his father being Aboriginal and Scottish and his Mother being Aboriginal and Irish. He identifies as Nukunu due to being raised on Nukunu land and with Nukunu culture.

Whilst being an average student for much of his schooling—who mostly enjoyed sport and music—it wasn’t until 1992, when on a school excursion to the Adelaide Fringe Festival Jared saw the play Funeral’s and Circuses by Aboriginal playwright Roger Bennett, that he decided to dedicate his energy towards the study of the humanities and writing.

During his first year at University Jared began to gain a greater interest in literature through the works of writers such as Jack Davis, Jamaican writer Olive Senior and Nigerian writers Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. ‘I could see the experiences of my grandparents in the work of Jack Davis. In the work of other black writers I could see similarities with Aboriginal experience and the potential of writing fiction about the many facets of Aboriginal experience excited me.’ Consequently Jared failed first year English and had to repeat it.  ‘I knew what I wanted to say but didn’t have an adequate grasp of the rules of expression such as the use of commas, apostrophes, basic sentence structure and also academic referencing. I spent the summer reading whatever I could get my hands on to improve my understanding, wrote little reports about anything that was happening in the world for practice and I was never far from a dictionary and thesaurus.’ By the completion of his second year of University Jared started to excel at his studies, easily maintaining a credit average and later consistently achieving distinctions. On completing his undergraduate degree he gained employment working with the Adelaide Fringe Festival and shortly after was employed as trainee editor of an arts publication. For this position he was based at Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute and here he further developed a love of Visual Arts, specifically Aboriginal Visual Art.

Following the traineeship he commenced work at the University of Adelaide as an academic advisor and commenced his Masters degree. During this time his first play, Flash Red Ford, was performed in Uganda and Kenya in 1999. His work Love Land and Money was later produced during the 2002 Adelaide Fringe Festival. He commenced work as Manager Indigenous Arts and Culture at this time, a role that saw him advocating and supporting the development and aspirations of South Australian Aboriginal artists.

Whilst focusing on writing plays Jared also started to develop his skill as a fiction writer with several short stories and poems being published in anthologies over the years. In 2001 Jared set out to write his first novel, Sweet Guy, which was published in 2005 by IAD Press and short listed in the Victorian Premier’s Literature Awards in 2006.

Since 2006 Jared has worked as a lecturer of Communication and Literature at the University of South Australia’s David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research and is currently completing his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide.

Calypso Summers is Jared’s forthcoming novel.

‘I feel most at peace and comfortable when I am writing and savour the responsibility of representing Aboriginal experience and aspirations. I especially enjoy communicating with young people through my work and enjoy mentoring aspiring creative writers and academics.’

For more information on Jared visit:

Prize for Indigenous Writing 2006, State Library of Victoria:
Audio interview (Loudonline):
 Meanjin, Blak Times: Indigenous Australia, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2006: