When Malavika Kannan, 19, was in middle school in Orlando, Florida, she wrote the first draft of a book. "It was obviously a terrible book because it was written by a prepubescent child," she told Seventeen. Flash forward to 2020 and that book (with, yes, some revisions) has become The Bookweaver's Daughter, a female friendship-forward take on the classic young adult fantasy novel that allows young South Asian women to finally see themselves in a leading role.
Pulse Spikes: "Malavika Kannan: An Author and Activist Celebrating Women of Color."
Malavika has spoken out about how she, as a writer of color, often feels immense pressure to avoid making any errors in spaces like America’s literary scene, which are historically both very white and very patriarchal. She has long coped with the intimidation of perfectionism, especially during her time in quarantine. Finding time for herself is important to her, as it helps her to destress; she finds an escape in thrifting and doing her own makeup. “I have realized that the older I get and the more I study and the more I ground myself, the more I come to terms with the fact that there is enough room for all of us," she said.
DAZED: "How a teen political organiser from a COVID hotspot is using her first vote."
19-year-old Malavika Kannan is a Stanford undergrad, an advocate, and an author – and now, a first-time voter. “I'm actually super relieved, because I just got a text today that my mail-in ballot was received!” she shared as we began our conversation. Politics has long been on her mind: while in high school, Malavika founded the Homegirl Project, a youth-led organisation that trains girls of colour in political organising. So, perhaps it’s unsurprising that when asked if she ever doubted whether or not she’d vote this year, she says, “Absolutely no question for me.”
WFTV-Orlando: "This Local Teen is On A Mission to Change The World For The Better."
A student from Seminole High School is striving to change the world by combining her two passions: writing and politics. "When you see movements empowered entirely by teenagers across the country, I would hesitate to say that teenagers aren't involved in making a difference in their communities," Kannan said. She said people should not underestimate her generation. "I think teenage girls do a lot more than people give them credit for," Kannan said.
VICE: "Meet The Young Activists Fighting For Reproductive Justice."
"It's never been easy to be a young woman in the US: although political outrage has coalesced most strongly under the Trump administration, women have been dealing with this shit since time immemorial, particularly women of color."
Aspirants Magazine: "Featuring Malavika Kannan: A Writer and Activist."
"The 18-year-old writer described herself as a 'plant mom and activist' on her Huffington Post author profile, the kind of description that just makes sense for someone like her. Serious, but fun; humble, but proud. Malavika's writing has been called "easy to read, hard to digest," an accurate reflection of how she tackles issues like race and feminism in her writing: with ease and a subtle sense of humor. Her writing reflects her urgency to confront issues head-on."
Urban Asian: "Malavika Kannan: An Activist, Creator, and Storyteller."
"Malavika Kannan isn't your typical teenager. At 18, she's already established a teen-run nonprofit, written for top media companies, and crafted a novel. Malavika, a first generation Indian-American, uses her skills as an activist, creator, and storyteller to uplift others and enact social change."
History Hero Blast: "Malavika Kannan & The Homegirl Project."
"Malavika and her Homegirl Project team harnesses the age-old tradition of intergenerational storytelling between women of color. But using digital tools, they've developed an international WOC collective that spans the globe in record time."
Heartbreaker Zine: "A Girl-Led Movement Empowering Women"
"Malavika Kannan is a 17-year-old rising senior, writer, and activist from Orlando who founded The Homegirl Project: a girl-led movement dedicated to empowering women of colour. Emma Barnes interviewed her about the project."
Lake Mary Life: "One For The Books"
"Local teen author, Malavika Kannan of Sanford, uses writing as a tool for change. Some kids covertly eat candy in their rooms. Others may put dirty laundry under their beds. For Seminole High School senior Malavika Kannan, her secret was a love of writing – a passion she hid until recently."
Vice (Broadly): "We Asked Seventeen-Year-Olds About Brett Kavanaugh and Consent"
"'Men like Brett Kavanaugh have gotten away with behavior like this for far too long, insulated by a society that rewards them for their misogynistic attitudes,' said Malavika Kannan. 'And yes, maybe boys will be boys. But you know what else they will be? Held accountable for their actions like the rest of us.'"
Buzzfeed: "Here's What Teens From Across the Country Thought of the South Carolina Mess"
"The debate put us in the surreal position of watching seven white candidates grapple, collide, and dance around the issue of race. While the Democratic victor is guaranteed to be white, the losers of this debate were undeniably people of color."
in the news
FOX 35: "Student at Seminole County Pushes For Mental Health Training"
A youth-coalition presented a resolution about mental health initiatives to the Seminole County School Board during a board meeting Tuesday night. “The purpose of this resolution is to close the gap between the mental health services that students need and what’s currently being provided,” said Seminole County High School senior Malavika Kannan. She is a member of the coalition, which is made up of students, community activists and representatives of March for our Lives Orlando.
WFTV Orlando: "Students at Seminole High School Stage Walkout to Protest Gun Violence"
“We had letters written out with specific policy amendments we want our legislators to follow. We just encouraged our students to use their voice because together, we are a very empowering voice that can take on the NRA,” said Kannan.
Fox35: "Students in Sanford Stage Walkout Over Gun Safety"
Wearing shirts with the faces of the young victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, students walked out of class for 17 minutes, to honor the 17 killed in the Valentine's Day massacre in Parkland, Florida."Today, we stage a walk out at our high school to demand change from our legislators," said student Malavika Kannan.
Fine Books Magazine: "Library of Congress Announces Winners of Letters About Literature 2018"
"Letters About Literature, a Library of Congress national writing competition, has announced its winners for 2018. The national program, now in its 26th year, asks young people in grades 4-12 to write to an author about how his or her work affected their lives. Malavika Kannan of Oviedo, FL wrote her letter to Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author of Slaughterhouse-Five."
JFK Library: "Announcing Winners of 2018 Profiles in Courage Essay Contest"
"Eight students received honorable mention, [including] Malavika Kannan, a junior at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida, for her essay on Ayala Aramis, state attorney in Florida."