Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Q & A with author Kanza Javed

by Natalie Updike, Upper School English Teacher
On May 13, 2022, in Ms. Updike English 11 Honors: American Literature course, Shorecrest Upper School students participated in a Q and A with Pakistani author Kanza Javed, writer of "Ashes, Wine and Dust" as well as several short stories and selected poems. Kanza spoke about the nature of home, resilience, publishing, loneliness, strong women, and other insights. She posed a few questions for the Chargers about their exposure to South Asian and Middle Eastern authors, revealing the often limited basis of that voice in western curriculum.

The juniors read two of her poems, "What Remains After a Fire" and "Harvest," and prepared questions in advance of the conversation, asking about a litany of subjects:
  • Both poems, “What Remains after a Fire” and “Harvest,” seem to be about two separate worlds. Can you expound on what insights you’ve gained on living and experiencing two distinct cultures?
  • Is there ever an assumption people make about you based on your work or position as a woman of color?
  • What would you describe as the most difficult part of writing?
  • If any, what are some struggles, or even advantages, you face when it comes to being a female writer who is also a person of color? Not only this, but how does your "placement" in the field of writing determine how and or what you write?
  • Was there a person who inspired you or whom you looked up to?
During the conversation, the core question of English 11 Honors: American Literature kept surfacing: What does it mean to be American and have an American identity? Though one class period could not pin down this heavy answer, Kanza's knowledge, eloquence, and literary expertise provided an appropriate, thoughtful landscape to speak back toward this essential question.

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.