Hidden Voices of History

For me, the most fascinating thing about looking into the past has always been the multitude of stories which make up history. It’s these narratives which draw me in, rather than detached facts or analysis. Many of my favourite books are historical fiction because of how it walks the line between being imaginative, by transporting me to other places and times, and being relatable, through the realism of the settings and conflicts faced by the characters. Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee is a historical fiction novel which both immersed me in unfamiliar world and gave me opportunities to recognise…

The Power of Education and Peaceful Protest

Like many people, I first heard of Malala Yousafzai in October 2012, when headlines rang across the world that a fifteen-year-old girl had been shot by the Taliban. Initially, I reacted in a similar way to how I usually do when hearing of tragedies in the media: with a mixture of instinctive horror and sadness. Most of all, I felt frustrated at how helpless I was to do anything about it. What I didn’t anticipate was how much Malala would come to inspire me: to appreciate the power of my education, and to become more courageous in speaking up for what I believe in. When…

On Writing, Dreams and Aspiration

Like many young writers, my process was – and still is – defined much more by frustrations and insecurities than by achievements and improvements. I was trying my best, but still had a lot to learn. I felt the passion of storytelling, but was plagued with self-doubt. Often, it was also an isolating experience. It seems natural, then, that some of the best encouragement I received wasn’t in the form of advice and wisdom. It was the realisation, through talking to other writers, that this was a normal part of growing as a young artist – that creating something which…

More Than Just a Single Story

When I’m skimming descriptions of books on blogs or back covers, the mention of a Chinese or Asian protagonist immediately catches my eye. The fact is, they’re a rarity in Western literature, and I’m incredibly glad that campaigns like We Need Diverse Books have promoted diversity, so I get the chance to see myself represented. Yet sometimes the discussions around representation in the online writing community have left me with mixed feelings. Amongst all the advice posts out there on how to write diverse characters, the statement ‘avoid stereotypes’ is a common reiteration. Surely, though, writing holistic minority characters involves…