Shan Rao ‘22

Shan Rao

Major: English wth a creative writing concentration
Bio: Shan Rao (she/her) is a second generation Indian American writer raised in rural Minnesota. She is a senior in Fordham University Lincoln Center's class of 2022 studying English and creative writing. In her writing, she explores topics of friendship, family, and memory. Her work has been published in (un)common sense and The Comma and has won the Margaret Lamb Writing to the Right-Hand Margin Award and Suzanna Cohen Legacy Prize.

Title of Research: Helicopter Seeds: A Novel on Female Friendship
Mentor: Dr. Mary Bly, Department of English
Abstract: The current literary landscape strongly emphasizes erotic love. A quick Google search for books about friendship will turn up pages of results for children’s books, yet the selection of adult fiction is much slimmer. Women’s Fiction, the genre that typically does highlight female friendship, still often focuses on a romantic resolution. In writing an about interracial friendship between two queer women, I hoped to engage with the current push to view female characters as more than their romantic relationships. I wanted to highlight the friendship between two queer woman as they moved through lives in which their friendship is not overshadowed by any romantic and sexual connections they may develop with others. I drew on a variety of contemporary literature and consulted with people in my own life about the impact of close friendships on their lives. I ultimately ended up writing a selection of chapters toward a novel which I am continuing working on in my own time. This research and creative writing has also gone on to inform my senior thesis poetry collection, which addresses similar topics.