|Your name: Emma Kantor
Your home town: Oakland, CA
Your major(s): English and Creative Writing, Film Studies
Are you fluent in any languages other than English? No
What are your career plans?
At the moment, I am interested in a career in either book publishing or teaching.
What is your favorite book or author and why?
My favorite book is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. This nonfiction book opened my eyes to the harsh realities of the US criminal justice system, especially in regards to how systemic racial discrimination is entangled within criminal law. The nonfictional accounts of individuals living on Death Row, including those some who were deemed guilty of a crime they didn’t commit, demonstrated the upsetting realities and dehumanization many people in prison face daily. This book most shocked and inspired me to do more research about this subject matter.
What is your favorite word? juxtaposition
Describe a significant breakthrough in your development as a writer:
During my Junior Year of High School, we were asked to write an essay on Toni Morrison’s A Mercy. The prompt asked us to determine whether or not the choice for the title was appropriately named A Mercy, or rather, if the alternate title, Mercy, was a stronger choice. Writing this paper was an agonizing process because I was forced to hone in on the nuances of either the existence or elimination of the word “A.” I struggled at first to structure an argument, considering I was only analyzing the difference of one letter. Having such a specific and unique prompt challenged me to really focus on the impact of minor word choices within the larger context of the book. I was amazed by how great of an impact a small detail could have in determining the meaning of an entire novel. Through this process, I gained an appreciation for the craft of titles in works of fiction. In this moment, I developed as a writer because I discovered that so much can be said in so few words.