ENCW 499 Directed Study: The Empire Writes Back

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Creative Writing | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Nonfiction | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

This essay was written in response to Sri Lankan-American writer and activist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha's poetry collection Love Cake, as part of a directed study I undertook in Spring 2021. A goal of the directed study, titled "The Empire Writes Back" was to engage with and build upon work by writers from South Asia and the diaspora, of which Piepzna-Samarasinha is a vocal member. In this essay, I explore not only the sense of connection I feel with this poet and her body of work as a result of shared experiences of otherness, trauma, and nationhood, but also my attempts to understand the differences of upbringing, ethnicity and circumstance that distinguish us, and how they have affected us as creatives.


2nd Place Winner, Personal/Reflective Prose, 2021