Life came full circle this past year for Daphne Palasi Andreades (’15). The up-and-coming author served as Baruch’s Spring 2021 Harman Writing Fellow within the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program, in which Ms. Andreades had participated as a student only a few years ago.
“When they reached out to me about participating, I remembered all that I had learned from the program and how formative it had been,” says Andreades, who delivered a Zoom reading and lecture in April for the Baruch community.
It’s been a whirlwind few years for Andreades. She recently signed a two-book deal with Random House, and her debut novel, Brown Girls, is set for release in the United States in January 2022, as well as in Europe. Brown Girls explores the lives of working- and middle-class women of color in Queens, NY; an excerpt from the book won the 2019 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest.
“There are so many years and labor that go into just finishing the manuscript itself,” she says. “Then there’s a whole other process: finding the right agent, going on submission, finding the right editor. It’s all been really exciting.”
Andreades, a Queens native whose parents immigrated to New York from the Philippines in the nineties, came to Baruch hoping to study journalism, thinking it would be the perfect way to combine her interests in writing and telling stories about her community. But she soon found herself drawn more toward English courses and contemporary literature.
After graduation, she backpacked through Southeast Asia and became an ESL teacher in Thailand before returning to New York to pursue a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University. Acclaimed author Paul Beatty became her faculty mentor, and she soon began working on the short story that would become Brown Girls—a story that earned her Columbia’s 2018 Henfield Prize.
Andreades hopes her forthcoming novel will help current Baruch students see themselves reflected in literature. “It was important to me to write a story that centered on immigrants, people of color, and those on the margins,” she said. “I wanted to illustrate the complexities that exist within these communities, as well as celebrate their beauty, solidarity, and their spirit of determination and joy.”
—Gregory M. Leporati