Hello, hello! I (she/her/hers) am Shyamala—feel free to rhyme that with Pamela—and I am the latest Fanhackers recruit. Armed with a B.A. from the Global South, an M.A. in English Lit and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, I’ve been writing fanfic since I was about eight. Some of my earliest fandoms were Beyblade, Power Rangers and Cardcaptor Sakura, from where I transitioned into the Hindi soap-opera fandoms that I concurrently played in with western media fandoms as a teenager. My current playfields are Supernatural, Sense8, 9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lone Star, and c-drama fandoms like Mo Dao Zu Shi, Tian Guan Ci Fu, The King’s Avatar, etc. 

While I enjoy writing fic, most of my fandom consumption tends to stem around podfic, which is one of my main academic interests in fan studies. I am a very auditory learner, and I’ve found that text-to-speech can shorten academic texts in a way nothing else can, while readers of podfic can spin familiar fics in unfamiliar ways by giving it their own voices. My own work, both academic and creative, has often centered around ideas of voice and space, stemming from my identity as a fangirl of both English and non-English-language fandoms growing up in the Global South. I am interested in the ways race can interact with the (dis)embodied performance in a podfic and what that means for larger questions of accessibility, both technological and otherwise. 

For my M.F.A. thesis, I wrote a YA fantasy novel exploring pleasure and play in everyday life in a tropical city, not taking on any Big, Systemic Thing, but focusing on the play and pleasure of everyday life in a queer tropical city populated as much by gods and deities as it is by ordinary folk doing extraordinary things. In contrast, fanfic is where I enjoy exploring traumas—tackling the Big Things that need 100k+ words to be Solved with a happily ever after. Worldbuilding is one of my absolute favorite things to do, as evidenced by the fact that a majority of my fics are fantasy AUs.

As a magpie nerd who likes learning shiny new things, I’m happy to chat! You can find me lurking on twitter. Live long and prosper!

Meet the Volunteer: Shyamala
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