Jerusha’s tale of a sex worker in love with client impresses OUP
Jerusha Sequeira of Dubai, whose parents hail from Surathkal, has won the third Oxford University Press (OUP) story writing competition for the U.A.E. in the 18 years and above category.
The B.A. Mass Communication student of American University of Sharjah wrote a 1,500-word story about a sex worker who falls in love with her client.
“I chose this topic because I feel very strongly about the plight of prostitutes as I think society uses, abuses, and then stigmatises them. They are not the problem; the problem is the demand for their services,” says Ms. Sequeira, who is born and brought up in Dubai.
The theme of the competition was Between Hello and Goodbye.
Winning this prize, she says, has strongly motivated her to pursue more such creative writing in the future. “Maybe some day, I will even try to write a book.”
Passion for reading
Daughter of William and Mary Sequeira, who run a freight forwarding company, loves to read. She said in an email interview with The Hindu: “You can say I was practically born with a book in my hands… My passion for the language propelled me towards taking extra literature courses in college because it’s something I simply love. As I like reading so much, I guess writing came naturally to me. Reading helped improve my vocabulary and exposed me to a plethora of different perspectives and writing styles, which has definitely influenced my own writing.”
This “huge fan” of Jhumpa Lahiri and Arundhati Roy says she has fond memories of playing with her cousins in their house in Surathkal as a child. She says Ms. Roy’s The God of Small Things is the best book she has read. “I think it’s almost perfect; it’s elegantly written, beautifully crafted, amazingly detailed, and emotionally riveting.”
Ms. Sequeira’s professor in creative writing Dr. Lily Mabura pushed her to enter the competition. “As I’m an aspiring journalist, I have mostly written news articles so far. …I have written and edited for on-campus publications,” she said. She hopes to be a successful reporter with a reputed news organisation.
She is the president of the Karama Toastmasters Club in Dubai. She hopes to be in Mangalore for a week in June. She recalls, in Surathkal, “we (she and her cousins) always had a great deal of fun playing with and teasing each other”.