WOOSTER, Ohio — Ananya Shrestha is passionate about writing, and she is taking advantage of every opportunity to hone her craft — both in and out of the classroom.
A junior English and psychology double major from Nepal, Shrestha helps to edit Wooster magazine and is the editor of the Index yearbook. She also serves as an editorial assistant for Artful Dodge, an international literary journal edited by her Summer Sophomore Research Program supervisor, Professor of English Daniel Bourne. In addition, she is a columnist and contributing writer for the website Geek Insider. This past summer, after working with Artful Dodge for the first part of the Summer, she interned with Nicholas Brealey, an independent book publisher in Boston, where she had an opportunity to observe “a completely different side of the [literary] world.”
While in Boston, Shrestha received word that a prose-piece she had written about the imagery and symbolism of monkeys in her homeland had been accepted by the journal Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought (yellowmedicinereview.com), which is edited at Southwest Minnesota State University.
“Yellow Medicine Review is not a publication for college student-writers, but rather a forum for work involving indigenous writers,” explains Bourne. ”As the editors say, it's where ‘emerging voices and visions … take their places among already established indigenous writers, artists and scholars.’ So, I think it's noteworthy that Ananya has had her work accepted there. It's also an example of the creative writing energy here on campus.”
Shrestha’s piece, which will appear in this fall’s issue of the quarterly publication, is a story about how the people of Nepal regard monkeys — a peculiar paradox between the reverence for their sacredness and the disdain for their nuisance-like behavior, and how that contradiction translates into their culture.
“The monkey’s sacredness goes back to an ancient lore about a monkey god who helped save the life of a prince-god’s wife,” she says. “The monkeys in my story are thus a metaphor for the culture of a country struggling to find its way through superstition.”
Shrestha credits Bourne with convincing her to have the confidence to submit the piece. “I didn’t think the story was good enough, but Prof. Bourne said I should send it,” she says. “A few weeks ago there was an e-mail from the publisher in my box. I figured it was a rejection letter, but it started with ‘Congratulations,’ and I was elated. Getting published is an English major’s dream.”
Inspired by the acceptance of her story, Shrestha plans to keep writing…and dreaming. “I’m not exactly sure about what I want to do [after graduation],” she says. “I’m still trying to figure out where I will fit best in the journalistic world.”
In the meantime, she plans to continue to cultivate her talents as a writer. “I’ve had a great learning experience [at Wooster] so far,” she says. “Every professor has encouraged me to write, and Prof. Bourne has provided a wonderful opportunity to work on an established literary journal. It’s something I probably would not have been able to do at a larger college or university.”
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