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Artist Profile: Annika Inampudi

We sat down with Annika Inampudi, the Editor in Chief of our very own Bitter Fruit Review and author of the short story collection, Devotion, which is available for download here. Read more to learn about her work, what inspires her, and more!

So, what's the book about?

Well, it's a collection of short stories, so there are many things it's about. You've got romance, mystery, drama, comedy. There's a story about a blind girl on a bus. There's also a story about the end of the world. It's a jack of all trades!

Why the title?

Ok, so here's the thing: I've been writing stories since I could hold a book in my hands. And once I had put this entire book together-- all ten stories-- I realized that there was a common thread between all of them. The theme of devotion. I keep returning to it-- that deep love and loyalty to the world around you. I think about it a lot. So, when you asked me what the book was about, it's that: devotion.

What inspires you?

My dreams. Not like, the aspirational kind, but the night ones. I'll wake up in the morning and find that I had the most vivid dream about cheerleading, or polar bears that are also chickens. I try to write them down when I can-- I'm absolutely fascinated by the ways dreams can transport you into an entirely new world that is eerily familiar. It's absolutely insane-- they're the biggest inspiration for my stories. Apart from that, I'm constantly inspired by the amazing books, movies, and art that I consume. Whenever I feel uninspired, I just watch a movie. Even if it's awful, I find a tiny piece of the story to focus on.

Ooh, do you have any recs?

Ah, so many! Last week I watched the Bollywood movie Sholay-- the country landscape, the impeccable vibes of Amitabh Bachchan, the cinematography-- absolutely beautiful! Currently, I'm reading A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, which is making me want to write some historical fiction... maybe you can watch out for that!

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Read. Read a lot of things, even when they go completely against your beliefs, even when reading feels like a chore. There's a quote out there, something about writing and plagiarism-- "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different." I wholeheartedly believe that. Every piece of art is based on art before it. If you don't know what you're stealing from, you're stealing wrong. So, if you want to be a writer, my best advice is to just read.

And lastly, our signature question, what's your favorite fruit?

There are so many, I could never choose! Maybe mangoes. Or kiwis. Right now, I'm really craving cherries, but I'm the only one in my family who isn't allergic to them. We'll see. I started an entire magazine based on my love for fruit, so I'd say that it's unfair to make me choose!

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