Stanford and the College of California, Berkeley each boast proficient youth authors amongst their college students and alumni. Faculty rivalry apart, this technology of rising writers has a lot in widespread with each other. The Each day interviewed 4 about their inventive processes and literary focuses.
Aparna Verma (Stanford ’20)
From her early imaginative scribbles to her current, politically nuanced works, Aparna Verma has carved a path in literature that mirrors the fiery path of self-discovery.
Verma believes that writing is inherently political. Her fictitious heroes confront challenges that aren’t solely private, but in addition societal in nature; they aren’t simply black and white, however are morally complicated beings residing in shades of grey. She attracts inspiration from Toni Morrison’s exploration of energy and battle, Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s revolutionary poetry and Jasmine Moore’s literary prowess.
Her journey started on the tender age of 4 when she first tasted the facility of narrative beneath the cover of her mom’s storytelling. Throughout highschool, Verma ambitiously launched into the “Nationwide Novel Writing Month” problem to jot down a novel inside a month. Although she didn’t full the problem, it did encourage her to check journalism. This instructional detour formed her philosophy in writing; she discovered to craft tales that demand the reader to critically have interaction with the textual content, fairly than passively devour it.
After graduating from Stanford with a B.A in English, Verma self-published “The Phoenix King” in August 2021 (beforehand beneath the title “The Boy with a Hearth”). The novel caught the viral winds of TikTok, making it the primary South Asian grownup fantasy to surpass a million views on the social media platform. Finally, it captured the eye of conventional publishers, main her to signal with Orbit.
“The Phoenix King” is a testomony to her depth. She manages to concurrently have interaction the readers in a detailed studying of politics, far-religious actions and an intricate net of generational trauma amid father-daughter dynamics. Drawing from life experiences and delicate observations of non secular fundamentalism worldwide, Verma presents a story that’s as a lot concerning the tragedy of an unbending chief as it’s about the great thing about resilience.
To dive deeper into Aparna’s literary world, you possibly can catch her on the finish of January for a studying within the Stanford bookstore.
Muskaan Darshan (Berkeley ’25)
As a world scholar pursuing a double main at Berkeley, Muskaan Darshan has a singular perspective that she channels into her writing. She has beforehand contributed to the Each day Californian podcast and continues to share her narratives by blogs. For Muskaan, the inventive sanctuary of writing affords respite from the pressures of academia. A prodigy in her personal proper, she penned her debut guide at 15 and adopted together with her sophomore manuscript, “Scottish Lavender,” in the course of the world stillness of COVID-19.
The evolution of Darshan’s writing mirrors her personal motion from the consolation of dwelling to the solitude of an abroad training. Her first guide displays the sheltered innocence of a kid, whereas her second is a diptych of tales impressed by her travels to England and Scotland and a summer season overseas in Greece. Darshan invitations readers to hitch her on a contemplative voyage of self-discovery on the junction of innocence and expertise. Her prose melds literary influences like Ruskin Bond’s “Loopy Instances with Uncle Ken” with the autobiographical parts of her life. Her writing type seems to classics by Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, in addition to the humor of Jerome Ok. Jerome.
Darshan’s inventive expression extends far past writing. She has been portray since earlier than she might write and has additionally explored dance previously. As we speak, she channels her expressive power into summary canvas work, a few of which have been showcased in exhibitions. The writer can be a passionate advocate for societal change and contributes to a non-profit group (@crimson.taboo on Instagram) that educates underprivileged women about menstruation in India.
As she seems forward, Muskaan Darshan sees her path diverging from the medical aspirations of her early years. Muskaan’s present ambition lies on the intersection of literature and scientific analysis, outfitted with the pen and the petri dish.
Kathaleen Grace Languamath (Stanford ’25)
Kathaleen Grace Languamath, a double main in English and biology at Stanford, began her writing odyssey in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. She turned the tides of isolation right into a inventive crucible, penning two novels. She made her mark on the literary world together with her daring debut novel “Shadow Walkers.”
Influenced by the intricate plotting of Sarah James, the cultural depth of Chloe Gong and the twin views of Mary E. Pearson, Languamath is dedicated to infusing her tales with variety that mirrors the actual world. Drawing from exhibits like “Bridgerton,” she creates narratives the place variety just isn’t an impediment however an integral thread of the storyline. Her debut novel, “Shadow Walkers,” carries a profound message — our upbringing is merely a place to begin, and our worldview is ours to alter.
When publishing her debut novel “Shadow Walkers,” Languamath encountered an moral dilemma early in her profession. She parted methods together with her preliminary writer upon studying of the writer’s inappropriate conduct concerning authors with disabilities, a revelation that Languamath says she couldn’t, in good conscience, overlook. For 2 weeks now, she has been within the throes of discovering a literary agent who aligns together with her values. The hunt has been fraught with rejection and setbacks, however Languamath approaches it with a singular philosophy: a ‘no’ just isn’t a lifeless finish however a redirection to a extra synchronous partnership.
Her inventive course of is a meticulous mix of inspiration and self-discipline. The spark for “Shadow Walkers” got here when listening to Taylor Swift’s music after a difficult chemistry examination. From there, she dove into scrupulous analysis into the material of Victorian clothes, structure and vernacular to weave an genuine and enthralling fictional world for the guide.
Away from her manuscripts, Languamath is a member of the fashionable dance group “Traction” and indulges in inventive shops on TikTok, the place she shares her love for portray and baking with a burgeoning on-line group.
Fawziyah Laguide (Berkeley ’23)
Regardless of her dad and mom’ emphasis on STEM fields, Fawziyah Laguide discovered herself drawn to the fertile grounds of Berkeley’s literary educational group. With the College’s assist, what began as a spirited type of rise up has since matured into a various tapestry of themes, reflecting her multicultural experiences and passions.
For Laguide, writing has grow to be a strong device for wrestling with the challenges of rising up in a tradition that usually overshadows its personal vibrancy. Her craft is a bridge between two worlds: the one she inhabits and the ancestral tales of Benin that she is aware of solely by tales. Rejecting the notion of romanticizing her heritage, her work grounds itself within the realism of her household’s expertise in Benin. Her distinctive perspective and dedication to authenticity make her a strong voice for these whose tales have been missed or misunderstood.
Her creativity is spontaneous, igniting at any time when she catches a muse, be it within the bathe or throughout a stroll. This strategy has culminated in an anthology of unfinished poems shortly scribbled in between each day duties. Sharing her work is an intimate act, reserved for her sister or accomplice and avoided others till it reaches fruition. Throughout the pandemic, she integrated new and previous poems right into a self-published first poetry assortment, “The Letter ‘P’: Energy, Ardour and Function.” This work is an introspective journey by Laguide’s teenage years, exploring societal dynamics, intimate relationships and self-realization.
Laguide attracts inspiration from the timeless and fascinating expression of Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the factor with feathers” whereas equally cherishing the recent, vibrant voice of contemporary creators like Merely Sayo on TikTok. Her love for literature spans from the classics to the modern, infusing her work with a various palette of inspiration.
Laguide is at present pursuing her Ph.D. in political science on the College of Wisconsin-Madison. Her educational pursuits in gendered instructional and political participation inform her poetry and provoking potential forays into quick tales or novels.