We took a break from the regular grind of workshops this Friday to host two exceptional visiting writers: Randall Horton (right), who read from his new memoir, Hook, and Thom Gossom, Jr. (left), whose acting work you might recognize from the big and small screen and who has published two books, most recently a short story collection entitled A Slice of Life. In the Q & A after the reading, both Thom and Randall emphasized to our students how important it is for young writers to discover their own truths and to tell them with courage because, to quote Audre Lorde, “your silence will not protect you.” Both men are multi-talented natives of Birmingham (as indicated by their bios below the break), and we’re very excited to have had them visit ASFA. Thanks Randall and Thom!
Randall Horton is the author of Hook, a memoir. He is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. His previous work includes the poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy (Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press, 2013). Horton serves on the Board of Directors for Pen America’s Pen Prison Writing Program and teaches at the University of New Haven. Horton is a Cave Canem Fellow, and a member of both the Affrilachian Poets and the experimental performance group: Heroes are Gang Leaders. He is also a senior editor at Willow Brooks, an independent literary press he helped found in 2006. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he now resides in Harlem, New York.
Thom Gossom Jr. is an actor, writer, and communications professional. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from Auburn University where he was the first black athlete in the Southeastern Conference to walk on, earn a full scholarship and graduate. Gossom defied the odds and became a three-year starter for the football team. He is featured in the HBO special, “Breaking the Huddle,” about integration of Southern college football. His film credits include “Fight Club,” “Jeepers Creepers 2,” and “Miss Ever’s Boy’s.” He starred as the title character, “Israel,” in the “NYPD Blue” Emmy winning episode, “Lost Israel,” and in recurring roles on such shows as “In the Heat of the Night” and “Boston Legal.” Gossom’s writing credits include his published memoir, Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, and his newest work, “A Slice of Life,” which is the first of a three-part collection of “life stories” woven around themes of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.
Thom, a former member of the ASFA Board of Trustees, poses with ASFA’s Recruiting Coordinator — and ASFA-CW alum — Jaronda Little, who counts Thom as one of her mentors early in her public relations and communications career.