Lang says she usually puts out new work on social media, “and it has never failed me yet” Image Credit: Supplied

International bestselling author, poet and social media sensation Lang Leav has a singular piece of advice for aspiring writers: Don’t wait for publishers to discover your work. Put it out on social media and let the world recognise your talent.

Speaking to Anna Roberts at a Sharjah International Book Fair 2020 session on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform, Leav said: "Social media is such a fantastic platform to get your work seen and also to get feedback. I would advise every aspiring writer to use it well. We see so many stars being made overnight by leveraging social media these days."

The author of seven collections of poetry and two novels who first found fame by publishing her poems on social media, spoke about her virtual support base that includes international celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Lili Reinhart.

"Social media is an interesting testing ground for me," she revealed. "I usually put out my new work there for feedback and it has never failed me yet. However, each platform has its own personality; you have to figure out which one is best suited for your work."

Speaking about September Love, her latest collection of poetry and prose that was launched this month, Leav continued, "I started working on it before the pandemic and completed it while experiencing the worst of it. A lot of the sense of isolation I was feeling as a result has permeated the book. In that sense, it is a deeply personal work. So far, it has received wonderful reviews. I am just waiting to get feedback from readers."

For the award-winning poet who also has a fashion label and is a painter, creativity is a mystical process. "I feel that it is coming through me rather than from within me," she explained. "It is external, almost as if it happens on its own." And the reason for her success? "My work is simple, straightforward and unapologetic," she said. "I try to convey complex ideas through simple, easy-to-understand words. This probably comes from having to act as translator to my parents when we moved from a refugee camp in Thailand to Australia. It has certainly influenced my writing."

Leav has few rules while writing. "I write only in the mornings, for a few hours, but I try to make them count. Writing poetry is a free-flowing process for me, but while working on a novel I try to put in as many days as possible. Coffee and silence are my only requirements!"

Leav, who attended the 2017 edition of SIBF, regrets having to miss out on the 39th edition in Sharjah. "It was a fantastic experience (being at SIBF previously). I was all ready to attend this year too," she said.

She ended the session reciting a poem from September Love titled "Why I write" for her audience.

Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), SIBF 2020 concluded on November 14 and was held under the theme ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’. The 39th edition has adopted a fully digital format to host its cultural programme of 64 unique events, which were streamed on SBA’s virtual platform over the 11 days of the fair.

Register for upcoming discussions at www.sharjahreads.com.

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