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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Rabia Ashraf publishes first book with the help of Kean University

Kean University student Rabia Ashraf, an immigrant and person of colour, finds publishing success with the help of encouraging faculty.

For students studying in Kean University’s Department of English Studies, publishing success is becoming increasingly attainable. From short stories and poetry to full-length novels, Kean students are gaining recognition for their creative writing abilities and are being encouraged to pursue publishing opportunities. With a faculty composed of published authors themselves, Kean provides a supportive environment where students can hone their craft and receive guidance on how to navigate the publishing world.

Faculty Support for Aspiring Writers

Kean’s Department of English Studies is home to more than 200 English majors, all of whom have access to the department’s experienced faculty members. Many of the department’s instructors are published authors and offer valuable insights into the publishing industry. These faculty members encourage their students to share their unique perspectives and offer guidance on how to develop their writing skills.

Read More: Weaving narratives: The poetic prose of Fatimah Asghar

William Mesce, an adjunct instructor in the department and a published author himself, teaches creative writing and other classes. Mesce helps students learn the ropes of publishing, such as gauging which publications may be a good fit for their material and dealing with rejection. Mesce also encourages his students to tailor their work to specific publications and to submit their writing for publication even if it’s to a small online literary journal. For aspiring writers, that first publication provides valuable validation and can boost their self-confidence.

Rabia Ashraf

Several Kean students have already achieved publishing success. Rabia Ashraf’s success story is a testament to the impact that Kean’s Department of English Studies has had on aspiring writers. As a person of colour and a daughter of immigrants, her experiences growing up in a multicultural environment played a crucial role in shaping her writing. Her literary works reflect the nuances of her cultural background and the challenges faced by immigrants and their children in a post-9/11 world.

The fact that Ashraf’s novel is based on the experiences of South Asian Muslim immigrants living in New York City adds a unique perspective to the literary landscape. It is a reflection of the increasing diversity of voices in contemporary literature, and how writers from different cultural backgrounds are able to share their stories and perspectives with a broader audience.

Kean’s Department of English Studies played an instrumental role in helping Ashraf achieve her goals. The program provided her with the tools and support she needed to develop her writing skills and pursue a career in the literary world. Through the guidance of her professors and the exposure to other aspiring writers, she was able to grow and refine her craft.

The Power of Rejection

Ashraf’s path to success was not without its challenges. Like many aspiring writers, she experienced rejections and setbacks along the way. However, she persevered and continued to hone her craft, ultimately landing a literary agent and publishing her works.While Kean students are experiencing publishing success, they’ve also experienced rejection. But as Ashraf notes, “All it takes is one yes.” The publishing industry is competitive, and rejection is a part of the process for virtually all aspiring writers. Kean students are learning to persevere and to see rejection as an opportunity to improve their craft.

Read More: British-Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie awarded prestigious UK literature award

Rabia Ashraf’s story is a reminder that the pursuit of one’s dreams requires dedication, hard work, and resilience. It is a testament to the power of education and the role that institutions like Kean University can play in shaping the lives and careers of their students.