Q & A with Anna Zwade
Receiving advanced critique from diverse perspectives—and supplying the same when necessary—allowed my stories and poetry to develop with both authenticity and intention.
When did you know you wanted to be an English major?
Reading and writing have always been an enormous part of who I am; I used to be the kid walking home from the library every single week with way too many books. Funny enough, I went through my first two years of college convinced that I would be a chemistry major until I took my first creative writing course. I decided to study English because the major brings me joy, connects me with people from all walks of life and assists in my pursuit to bring literacy to lower socioeconomic communities. Studying English has been a daily reminder to be true to who I am and pursue what I enjoy.
What were your favorite English classes at VCU?
My fiction and poetry workshop classes have been a joy to take. One of the most distinguished aspects of workshop is being situated in a container with individuals who see things differently yet through the same lens. Receiving advanced critique from diverse perspectives—and supplying the same when necessary—allowed my stories and poetry to develop with both authenticity and intention. To look back on all my workshops, the fundamental understanding that writers must begin somewhere sinks deep within my bones; I would not be the writer I am today without extensive workshop and revision.
Who have been your favorite professors in your major?
One of my favorite professors is Dr. Adin Lears. Professor Lears is a medieval powerhouse. Her thoughtfulness, intellectual grace and love for the medieval period are nothing short of inspiring. Having a professor that deeply cares about students’ growth and learning truly makes a difference in the classroom. We once had a conversation about modern or contemporary reading influenced by the middle ages, and she drafted me a page long email with recommendations and personal thoughts. She goes above and beyond to teach students willing to learn. (If you have the chance to sit in her classroom, do it.)
Can you tell me about your internship experience?
I recently completed a six-month internship with Brandylane Publishers, Inc., a local publishing company in Richmond. Working with manuscripts allowed me to learn about how the system of reviews worked. It was both fulfilling and exciting to work with the poetry manuscripts that the company sent my way; I had my very own “this is it” moment when I felt like the effort I’ve been putting forth in my education were finally being rewarded with work experience.