The Writers’ Program is thrilled to add an events intern to our team through March 2022, thanks to a generous opportunity through the LA County Arts Commission Arts Internship Program. Erykah will be working on event-related planning and execution at many levels, and as she’ll be the face of the WP at several events over the next few months, we wanted to give her a proper introduction.
Erykah, tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in a small city in Northern Georgia. I self-identify as a Georgia peach who loves the greenery, regionally superior grits, and southern hospitality. I did competitive gymnastics, dance, and cheer for most of my childhood, so I have now developed an existential, mission-impossible life approach, that has become oddly useful in my pursuit of becoming a full-time writer. I recently graduated in June of 2021 from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Writing free verse poetry is my favorite way to spend my early mornings and late nights, but when I’m not writing, I enjoy taking dance classes and finding new eateries to frequent with my friends.
What’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
I attend at least one Vinyasa Yoga class a week to keep my mind, body, and spirit aligned. Every week, my mind and body work together to hold yoga poses I did not know were humanly possible. The key is so simple you wouldn’t believe me if I told you: focus on your breath. This is something I try to incorporate in my everyday life despite its inherent hustle and bustle nature. My instructor always tells us we get through life not day by day or moment by moment – but breath by breath.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what 3 works of literature would you take with you?
Without hesitation, I would grab Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Divergent, and Maze Runner: Scorch Trials from my preteen bookshelf before being cast away to that tropical, sandy mound of isolation. These novels were such an iconic part of my early “coming of age” years, that it’s quite difficult to cast away in light of my more recent pleasure reads. Also, these books were the first dystopian, YA books I ever read, so they will always have a special place in my heart.
Are you a writer? If yes, what are you currently writing?
Yes! I am currently writing my first YA novel (that’s definitely more of an outline right now…), but it’s a beautiful work in progress! I enjoy writing for young Queer and BIPOC readers most, so these identities will typically make some sort of appearance in anything I write. I have also been working on a slightly smaller project, which is a poetry collection about the emotions I experienced during the year of 2020.
What excites you most about working in the Writers’ Program?
That’s easy: Meeting other humans who love to write! This fills my soul with joy. I come from a STEM family, so it has been a little hard to stay motivated to write every day, but now that has changed! It has been wonderful hearing so many published authors, aspiring novelists, and working professional writers speak about what they write and why they write it.