Over the last decade streaming has changed the industry, some for the good and some for the bad. But its current model isn’t entirely sustainable.
On 16th February 2012, a show called Lilyhammer was launched on Netflix, becoming the first original series to stream on the service. Back then the number of subscribers Netflix had was reportedly 23 million. As of the first quarter of 2023, the number had jumped to 232.5 million. An increasing number of streaming platforms have emerged since then, taking over the industry, like Amazon Prime Video(reported to have more than 200 million subscribers in 2021), Apple TV+ (25 million subscribers as of March 2022) and Disney+ (157.8 million subscribers as in the second quarter of 2023). Now, you didn’t have to for a week to watch the next episode of your favourite at the preordained time of the telecast. You could now watch while travelling to work on a metro or even while taking the dump. And who wouldn’t take that bargain.
This shift within the industry happening for years now was only accelerated by the COVID-19 lockdown, with studios pivoting towards streaming. Hunkered in their houses, all people could go was bake endless loafs of sourdough or binge The Queen’s Gambit(that is when they were not binging any other show with royalty in its title-The Tiger King or The Crown). Even after the reopening of movie-theatres, the focus has remained on streaming, with many films including the The Fabelsman and Glass Onion, getting limited theatrical release before being made available online. It’s effects are a mixture of good and bad for the creatives. While it has gotten harder to commission content, these services do back up projects that perhaps would not have been picked by the traditional networks and studios, including the wide range of foreign-language TV and movie that are starting to get more global attention. This period of rise in streaming also heralded the era of Peak TV, where viewers were inundated with artisanal and critically acclaimed programming. The number of originally scripted stories exploded from 210 in 2009 to 599 in 2022. But it was a bubble that was bound to burst and now has.
In April 2022, Netflix announced that it had lost subscribers. The recent downturn in the media has forced streamers to cut back on the spending and turn a profit. They have thrown out entire series from their libraries and some have even cancelled shows that had finished productions on entire seasons. And the effects on the creative labour has been damaging.
On April 18 this year, 97.8% of the members of the Writers Guild of America voted to go on strike if they failed to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. On May 2, 2023 the members of the guild started picketing at 1:00 pm. The main issues raised in the strike are of diminishing residuals, fewer number of writers in the room and fear of being replaced by AI.
The rise of streaming has led creation of mini-rooms where fewer number of writers are employed for shorter durations, eviscerating chances for writers to make a steady living by working on a show. It has also reduced the opportunities available to younger and newer talent to gain experience. It has alarmed the creatives further with reduction of residuals over the years. As streamers have grown, the residuals have fallen. While they are still paid residuals, they are incomparable to the ones they receive from TV channels. Sean Collins Smith, a writer for Chicago P.D, while talking to NPR said,
“I mean, my show on streaming, if I got a residual check for that-I’m not even kidding-it might be $5, $50, $100 if that.”
Despite it all, streaming also led to some of biggest strides in the industry, giving a platform to diverse and newer voices, that used to get drowned out by the old status quo. The solution to the problems created by streaming cannot be to go back to old ways despite how much the older established artists might like to throw around the term “back in our day” before regaling about the “glory days”. But the streaming model being followed right now is clearly unsustainable. The writer’s strike has been going on for 2 months now and is showing no sign of stopping. In June, more than 300+ members of SAG-AFTRA, including A-listers such as Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, in a letter to union leadership said that they were ready to strike if a “transformative deal” was reached.
“It’s not like just returning to the old status quo is the answer. We’re at the center of the tornado right now, and it seems like it’s whipping all around us, and I don’t think anybody really understands how to make it stop.”
As the old saying goes, ‘A pen is mightier than a sword’, in today’s time, writing and expressing oneself clearly is an important skill one must have a good grasp of. Thus, here are some tricks and techniques for better writing skills.
Keeping these small but significant pointers in mind will help one present their writing in a clear and concise manner, with effective communication taking place.
(Keep it Short and Simple)
This golden rule works wonders when it comes to writing. Short sentences grab the reader’s attention. They don’t bore them and allow the message to be understood easily. It also gives an illusion of a short write-up thereby not making the readers bored to death while they read a piece.
What, Where, Who, When, Why and How
Keep these questions in mind and your writing will become one with the maximum information without beating around the bush. Answer and address all the questions precisely to have a piece that conveys all information without unnecessary details.
Use of Simple Vocabulary
While writing a piece it is important to understand that your work is understood by all. Hence, use plain and simple language while you construct your sentences. Not only will it make the piece easy to read, but also provide a good speed to the readers while they go through your work.
Less is More
Convey more meaning in less words. Make the right use of synonyms, antonyms and idioms. Choosing words and phrases wisely will not add value to your writing but also make it an interesting read.
Read Out Loud
Reading out a piece before submission is always a helpful and a handy trick. It helps one see if the sentences are framed correctly and make sense.
Ask for Reviews!
Make someone whom you trust- a senior, a friend or a mentor go through your piece. An honest review from peers and people who surround you serves as a great feedback channel for improving upon ones’ work and writing skills.
Read. Read. Read.
Be it newspapers, magazines or even fiction books. Reading from a variety of genres exposes a person to various techniques of writing and helps in picking up and identifying which techniques are helpful when it comes to incorporating them in one’s writing skills.
All of these above-mentioned practices become futile if one does not put them into action. Writing skills are like a muscle; the more you practice, the stronger your grip gets in it! So, explore various kinds of writings. Be it a long form essay, journalling or even story-writing.
The more you write, the better you become with the skill.
These are some of the techniques which when taken into practice ardently, will surely make your work emerge as one which everyone appreciates for its readability, flow and presentation of thoughts.
So what are you waiting for? Write your heart out! Get up, get going!
Using the concept of “writer’s block” as an escape route, many writers avoid work. Read further to learn how to get over this myth.
Writer’s block is a myth, period. You can come up with multiple arguments so as to convince yourself otherwise, but in the end, it is all just a defence mechanism. Think of it as an excuse to not write and to not push your brain further when it experiences the slightest amount of exhaustion. When you say you’re experiencing a “writer’s block”, you’re simply giving yourself an easy ticket to procrastinate, protecting yourself from the anxiety of not being able to write well.
It’s like the concept of inertia- a body will remain at rest until an external force acts on it. You keep waiting for your external force, what you call your inspiration, until all your deadlines pass, and you are still left with a blank page. You blame your “writer’s block” for this but again, you are just living in denial. Does a doctor ever refuse to treat a patient because (s)he’s experiencing a doctor’s block?
I like to think of “writer’s block” as simply a “fear of failure”. Very often, writers avoid writing because they are worried that they may not be able to articulate their ideas as well as they wish to. Or maybe they are just afraid that they may not have an idea at all.
Well, I believe that it is not possible for your brain to entirely run out of ideas. It is not necessary that you will have a good idea, but you will always have at least something. That something can be the worst idea in the century, and it may not make any sense either. But I think that something is always good enough to start writing with.
This brings me to my next point- just start writing. It is genuinely as simple as it sounds. Penning down a bunch of bad ideas will eventually give rise to something worthwhile. But you will never get anywhere if you do not start at all. Just pour your heart on your paper or screen and see what you get. If it is not good enough, you modify it and make it better, but you do not hide behind excuses.
Writing is hard, and that is a fact, there is no escape from it. But that is what distinguishes a professional writer from other casual writers. You write no matter what, you push yourself and you do your job. Some of the major causes leading to the so-called “writer’s block” include the presence of distractions. You need to get rid of them and focus on your work. Lack of confidence, as I mentioned earlier, too may lead to such blockage.
Remember, no one can judge your work unless you show it to them. So, allow yourself to write pages and pages of garbage until you finally get something presentable. Give yourself targets and deadlines but also, award yourself for meeting these deadlines. Believe me, it is all in your head- both fears and ideas. And it is also up to you if you wish to work on them.
Featured Image Credits: Aditi Gutgutia for DU Beat
We’re half-way through the Women’s History Month. From poems of longing to essays of resistance, here are 10 Indian authors you need to read this Women’s History Month.
1. Mridula Koshy
Author of two novels and a collection of short stories her work has received many accolades including the 2009 Vodafone Crossbook Award. Her short stories have appeared in literary journals like The Dalhousie Review, as well as in anthologies like 21 Under Forty from Zubaan. She also works as a librarian and organiser for The Community Library Project.
2. Arundhati Roy
India’s favourite anti-national and the winner of the Man Booker Prize for her novel The God of Small Things, Roy’s work is perfect to trigger your local sanghis. Her book My seditious heart, a collection essays and speeches is expected to be released this June.
3. Temsula Ao
Author of 5 poetry collections and 2 short stories collections, Ao is the retired professor of English literature at North Eastern Hill University (NEHU). Her short story collection These Hills Called Home: Stories from the War Zone focuses on the insurgency in Nagaland.
4. Kamala Das
Kamala Das (later, Kamala Surayya) was a leading Malyalam and English poet. Her work revolves around the female body, sexuality and desire.
5. Anuradha Roy
Journalist, novelist, editor, designer and author of four books, Anuradha Roy is probably known for her latest novel All The Lives We Never Lived. Her novels have been translated in over fifteen languages. She is also the co-founder of the publishing house Permanent Black.
6. Tishani Doshi
Doshi is a Welsh-Indian poet, journalist and dancer. She has published six books of poetry and fiction. Her poetry surpasses the metaphorical dimensions of space and time and revolves around love, body, emotions, death and rain. She was also a dancer with the Chandralekha troupe for sixteen years. Her latest book Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods was published by HarperCollins in 2017.
7. Urvashi Bahuguna
Author of Terrarium published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, Urvashi Bahuguna grew up in Goa and now lives in New Delhi. Her debut Terrarium (originally called Mudscope) was selected by 2017 Emerging Poets Prize.
8. Sharanya Manivannan
Author of the short story collection The High Priestess Never Marries, two books of poetry Witchcraft and The Altar of The Only World, Manivannan’s work draws from mythology, personal experiences and explores the themes of love, separation and exile. Her first novel was published in 2018 by HarperCollins India.
9. Shubhangi Swarup
Mumbai based journalist, filmmaker, educationist and novelist. Her debut novel Latitudes of Longing won the JCB Prize for Literature. Latitudes of Longing traces geographies of desire and languages of love.
10. Anita Desai
Desai is probably most known for her work In Custody which was adapted into a film of the same name. She has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times and received a Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978 for her book Fire on the Mountain. She was awarded the third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan in 2014.
Arundhati Roy is so misunderstood, often by fake news peddlers and also by “intellectuals” who negate her whole body of work and essentially downgrade her as the godmother of the basic radical wannabes. But guess what, both these sides are wrong. Here are the top 16 reasons why we all should stan the 57-year-old writer.
1. Her writing explains how personal is political.
Often times we think serious things like environmentalism are different topics that have no place in casual conversations but when you read a text that seamlessly talks about one’s beloved river and how WTO sponsored pesticides are killing it you’ll know that there is no escape. If you read Roy’s work, be it fiction or nonfiction, you’ll begin to see everything differently (Suddenly, you’ll notice the faint smell of dead vultures wafting from the strawberry ice cream). She teaches us that we should take every political-social issue very personally. And by politics, it doesn’t mean Congress or BJP, it means the equation between powerful and the powerless.
“My language, my style, is not something superficial, like a coat I wear when I go out. My style is me- even when I am home.” – Scimitars in the Sun.
2. Doesn’t value “success”.
People’s movements often time, if we calculate empirically, fail. Despite the Narmada Bachao Andolan the dams were made and are being made and despite hundreds of documentaries the adivasis are being displaced with brutality. With this despondent history of struggles, the activist inside you is bound to be hopeless, but Roy’s writing, that comes from being in close proximity with on ground movement, tells us that every effort counts and there is pride in failure. The least and most we can do is retain our inherent anarchy, refuse to believe the PR ads of the government, and change the way we view success.
“When George Bush says ‘You are either with us or with the terrorist,’ we can say ‘No thank you’. – Confronting the Empire.
“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” – The End of Imagination
3. Gives the best analogies.
She is the ultimate queen of analogies. In the essay do Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving she explains token representation and asserts just because the White House pardons a turkey doesn’t mean the American culture has any sympathy for turkeys, similarly just as there are a few people from marginalised backgrounds in positions of power doesn’t mean the world is equal.
In her article Come September, she wrote that America terminated Saddam Hussein like a “pet who had outlived his master’s affection.” Further, she explained the bid of India and Pakistan to lure USA’s favour like two begums fighting for their husband’s (America’s) affection. There are several more gems.
4. Calls out the hypocrisy.
As someone who earns her living by royalties from publishing houses, she called out her own publisher Penguin for dropping Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History after some right-wing groups opposed it for hurting Hindu sentiments.
She doesn’t participate in fests that are sponsored by problematic sources.
In January 2006, she was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award which she declined to accept in opposition to the policies of the Congress-led government. In 2015 she joined several other artists and writers who returned their awards in the wake of the killing of writer Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and gave back the National Film Award she got for writing the screenplay of In Which Annie Give It Those Ones (a delightful short film that has SRK!).
“ During the BJP regime, I was convicted for contempt of court and sent to jail. During the Congress regime, I am being given an award. Though these seem different ways of dealing with the writer, to my mind they are both ways to neutralise a troublesome writer.” – Shape of the Beast.
6. She is the anti-nation who loves this country. Yes, you can be both.
“If protesting against nuclear bomb implanted in my brain is anti-Hindu and anti-national then I secede. I hereby declare myself an independent, mobile republic.”- End of Imagination.
“By most standards, I probably qualify for being an anti-national. I don’t have a nationalistic bone in my body. It’s just not my instinct. Yet it’s inconceivable for me to not be here, because it contains everything that I love.”- Ten Years On…
“Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.” – Come September
7. Writes the best dedications.
(God of Small Things)
For Mary Roy,
who grew me up.
Who taught me to say “Excuse me”
before interrupting her in Public.
Who loved me enough to let me go.
For LKC, who, like me, survived.
(The Algebra of Infinite Justice)
To those who believe in resistance, who live between hope and impatience and have learned the perils of being reasonable. To those who understand enough to be afraid and yet retain their fury.
8.She “repeats” truth to power and is not afraid of taking sides. (“Repeats” because the powerful already know the truth.)
After she won the Booker, Arundhati Roy became the national sweetheart, but even before the buzz around her could die she wrote a scathing critique of the nuclear bomb testing Pokhran and immediately became ungrateful anti-national number one. She has contempt of court cases and charges for “corrupting the morality” lined against her. This is not just because she has money and can afford to be a “Cheeky Bitch Taken to Court” but because she values truth over convenience.
“I wasn’t hedging my bets like most sophisticated intellectuals, and saying, ‘On the one hand, this, but on the other hand, that.’ I was saying, I’m on your side.”- On supporting Narmada Bachao Andolan.
In 1994, way before she became famous she wrote a scathing piece titled The Great Indian Rape Trick criticising Shekhar Kapur for restaging a rape scene in Bandit Queen without the consent of Phoolan Devi, on whom the movie was based.
9. Isn’t possessive about fame.
She isn’t on social media and despite the media’s obsession over her, doesn’t make appearances in noisy news debates.
“The more I thought about it, the clearer it became to me that if fame was going to be my permanent condition, it would kill me. Club me to death with its good manners and hygiene. I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed my own five minutes of it immensely, but primarily because it was just five minutes.” – End of Imagination.
“At the end of the day, fame is also a gruesome kind of capitalism, you can accommodate it, bank it, live off it. But it can suffocate you, isolate you, make you lose touch.”- The Question of Violence.
11. She has a complicated but wholesome relationship with her badass mother (who challenged and changed the Syrian Christian inheritance law).
12. Speaks about caste-based discrimination.
Kashmir and Bastar are all “glamorous” topics but she took on caste right from her very first book to writing Doctor and the Saint. (Yes, there can be a debate on whether or not she was the right pick to write the introduction for Navayana’s Annihilation of Caste).
13.She is confident in her skin.
“I’m a black woman. Most of us are. Ninety per cent of us are. This obsession that Indians have with white skin and straight hair makes me sick. We need a new aesthetic.” – in an interview with Ashwariya Subramanium for Elle
14. Has Zero Sanskar
She ran away from home at 16, lived in a slum with her boyfriend, has a “failed” marriage, has no kids, has been jailed, is dark, and supports JNU students-Maoists-separatist, and her mom is a divorcee. No nice Indian boy would marry her because she will probably earn more than him and instead of letting him inherit her money she’ll donate it to indigenous movements.
15. Has excellent style.
From unruly curls to a pixie cut, Roy has ruled every style with grace.
16. Can sign in both Hindi and English.
So basically Arundhati Roy is A1 human being (possibly a witch), and we should all be like her by not taking pride in big statues, treating slum dwellers with respect, and attending the farmers march that’s scheduled for 29th and 30th November 2018.
As a part of the Meet of the Author Series, the Department of English of Maharaja Agrasen College and the ACTIVE society of the Department had the privilege of inviting award-winning scriptwriter Prof Sabrina Dhawan on 24th August 2018. Apart from being a script writer, Prof Dhawan is also faculty member at TISCH School of the Arts, New York University.
Her talk, “Writing for Film and TV: The Journey of a Script Writer”, was a riveting narrative, almost an exhilarating movie script, about her journey from a shy, not-so-bright school girl to an award-winning writer. The likeliness of her lecture to a well-crafted movie script was not only limited to the way she traced and told the story of her life, but also to the fact that the lecture had an intermission-like break. The pre-intermission period was mainly about “Becoming a Writer”, wherein she spoke about how she developed the ambition of being a writer, a non-serious business in middle-class families like hers. The second part was about her experiences as a writer: the challenges of self-discipline and developing a perfect piece of writing, being a woman writer, being a mirror for the society.
Her enthralling lecture was followed by a Question and Answer session, which was equally enlightening with students and faculty members bring out topics like the difference between writing for India and for the West, the difference between TV scripts and Film scripts, writing adaptations.
The Welcome note was given by Dr Gitanjali Chawla, Teacher Incharge. Dr Charu Arya presented a sapling to formally welcome the guest. Dr Anupama Jaidev presented a memento as a token of gratitude to Prof Dhawan. The Vote of Thanks was presented by Ms Mona Sinha.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if your ‘writer cells’ are diagnosed with the disease called ‘writer’s block’, a particular phase where our head feels like a blank void or a trash-filled dustbin.
The dreaded condition of writer’s block might be nothing but a myth for some writers but for many others, it is as real as global warming. So, call it writer’s block or give it another label, as writers, we all have a particular phase where our head feels like a blank void or a trash-filled dustbin. In this phase, we want to write something but we don’t know where to start. The left side of the brain might be brimming with creative prompts but you still end up with crumpled papers and empty MS Word documents.
Is Writer’s Block a common phase? What can be done to fight it? Let’s explore a few things to do during this time.
Take a Pseudo-retirement from your Struggling Writing Career
To write something new, you will have to come up with something new. However, if you can’t think about something new, then take a break. Ensure that you don’t overthink because such forced mental hunts for ideas can only make matters worse. As an escape mechanism, allow yourself to be distracted for a few days. Sleep, eat, socialize, do anything that makes you feel like you have retired from your writing career (even though writers of our age hardly have a proper ‘career’). If you’re still confused on what to do, just take inspiration from the theme song of the series ‘Phineas and Ferb’ excerpts of which go like, “Building a rocket or fighting a mummy or climbing up the Eiffel Tower. Discovering something that doesn’t exist or giving a monkey a shower.”
Act like You’re the CIA (but with some constraints)
The Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin once remarked, “I love the sound of smart people arguing with each other and I want to imitate that sound.” Whatever we write is mostly inspired by or based on the people around us or the city in which we live. If you are running out of inspiration, then go to a shop or take the metro and try eavesdropping on random people’s conversation. Obviously, if a conversation is too personal, don’t delve or stalk regardless of how interesting their characters or stories might seem.. I would recommend you to restrict yourself to a healthy amount of eavesdropping on pretentious college students or Whatsapp addicted aunties.
Binge-watch Films on Writer’s Block
There are few great cinematic gems on writer’s block which might brighten your mood as you will feel that you aren’t alone in this ‘block’. Some feel good hipster-themed films about lonely and confused artists searching for inspiration can also be helpful. For instance, ‘Her’ and ‘500 Days of Summer’. Starting from ‘Ruby Sparks’ and ‘Adaptation’ to ‘Stranger than Fiction’, there are many good films to watch if you are looking for relatable characters who are exasperated with life. On the other hand, there are some films on the extreme manifestation of writer’s block, like ‘The Shining and Secret Window’ where the writer goes full bonkers. These thrillers would also make you feel better in that it will give you the consolation that at least you have not been diagnosed with such extreme forms of writer’s block.
When in Doubt, Write on Writer’s Block
As writers, we are looking for new challenges. So instead of adding ‘Writing is my life’ and ‘Wordsmith’ to your Instagram bios, it will be better if you up your game. If writer’s block is troubling you, why not fight it by writing on writer’s block itself. Think about the different ways in which you can face this challenge. You can write a poem or a story on what writer’s block is to you, how is it affecting you and so on. It might not be your best work but at least at the end of the day, you will have a few words instead of a blank page.
Like many other spheres and domains of life, the literary space too worked on the politics of gender. It was long thought to be a space marked only for men, and women were always discouraged from writing or reading. But, there were some women writers who did not let anyone limit their potential. They wrote extensively and let their work speak for themselves.
1. Mary Wollstonecraft
Many of the ideas floating today about feminism and equality of genders were floated by Mary Wollstonecraft, an Anglo-Irish feminist, intellectual and writer, in as early as eighteenth century. She was born on April 27, 1759, in Spitalfields, London and had an abusive father who spent most of his fortune on a series of unsuccessful ventures in farming. Troubled by his actions, she set out of her household to earn a living for her own self. In her most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), she talks about how women are not biologically incapable of reason, but as they are denied exposure to proper education, they’re made to think illogically. She realised the true potential of the female gender and appealed to the in-place institutions to not limit women as helpless adornments of the household. Some of the excerpts from her work are:
“The woman who has only been taught to please will soon find that her charms are oblique sunbeams, and that they cannot have much effect on her husband’s heart when they are seen every day, when the summer is passed and gone. Will she then have sufficient native energy to look into herself for comfort, and cultivate her dormant faculties? or, is it not more rational to expect that she will try to please other men; and, in the emotions raised by the expectation of new conquests, endeavour to forget the mortification her love or pride has received? When the husband ceases to be a lover—and the time will inevitably come, her desire of pleasing will then grow languid, or become a spring of bitterness; and love, perhaps, the most evanescent of all passions, gives place to jealousy or vanity.”
(A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft)
2. Ismat Chughtai
Ismat Chughtai was one of the Muslim writers who stayed in India after the partition. She was an eminent writer in Urdu who was known for her boldness, fierce ideology and impregnable attitude. She was born into an upper middle class family yet was subjected to stringent mindsets. When other girls were taught to be docile and dreamed about becoming the perfect wives, Chughtai took to books and educated herself with the support of her father and brother. Her mother disapproved of her decisions and Chughtai writes, “She hurled her shoe at me but missed.”
Her works became representative of the feminist ideas in the 20th century. Lihaaf is one of the most celebrated short stories written by her which talks about homosexuality in Aligarh. It was leveled with charges of obscenity but she never compromised on her outspoken nature and never apologized for the same. She won the case in court and became nothing less than an inspiration for the future generations of intellectuals.
3. Virginia Woolf
Known for her famous dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”from her essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), Virginia Woolf was an English writer and one of the most talented modernists of the twentieth century. She was raised in a wonderful household where her father was a historian and author, and her mother had been born in India and later served as a model for several Pre-Raphaelite painters. She was also a nurse and wrote a book on the profession. Woolf was a happy child but soon was distressed after being sexually abused by her half brothers. She also lost her mother and her sister soon after, which led to a nervous breakdown.
But, despite all these challenges, she took up Ancient Greek, Latin, German and history at the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London. Her novels like Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927) gained much appreciation and are still read enthusiastically.
4. Maya Angelou
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
(Still I Rise, Maya Angelou)
Maya Angelou was a poet, novelist, actor, civil rights activist and what not. She had published seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry. Her first autobiography called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) outlines her life up to the age of 17 and brought her much international recognition. Her works revolve around the themes of race, identity, society and culture and she was considered a respected spokesperson for black men and women.