This is the third of a three-part series of profiles featuring undergraduates who have made a significant difference in the life of Princeton Writes in 2013-2014, its inaugural year. The profiles were prepared by Emily Reardon ’16.
When asked what she loves most about writing, Sharon Deng described the purity of the written word. Of all the ways to preserve and communicate one’s message, she finds the narrative form to be the truest, contributing to her strong involvement in the writing community both at Princeton and at home.
Sharon was raised in Wuhan, China, and attended the Wuhan Foreign Language School. It was in Wuhan, aptly and poetically named the “furnace city” because of the scorching summer heat, that Sharon began her explorations in writing and film. At the age of 13, she started the three-year process of writing her first novel, Breathe, which was published by Jiuzhou when Sharon was only 16. It was the first English-language novel to be written by a Chinese national in nearly two decades. Sharon also exhibited her artistic talents in the world of film, working as an assistant scriptwriter for a film crew in China. During that time she helped produce a short film entitled Pursuit, which documents the journey of a boy riding his bicycle around her homeland.
Since coming to Princeton, her passionate interest in various forms of creative expression has only grown stronger. Although currently undecided about her major, Sharon is looking to find a way to integrate art and science, a juxtaposition that has attracted her to architecture. Outside the classroom, she reports for the Daily Princetonian, is active on the board of the Stella Art Club, which promotes the visual arts on campus, and serves on the China editorial team for the Princeton Journal of East Asian Studies. In addition to her love of writing and filmmaking, Sharon likes to draw and play the piano and guitar, making her artistic talents as broad as they are deep and allowing her to make a unique contribution to the work of Princeton Writes.
It was her pursuit of a summer internship at the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children in Galway, Ireland, that first brought Sharon to Princeton Writes. After participating in an undergraduate workshop called Me, Myself, and I: Presenting Ourselves Effectively in Writing, led by program director John Weeren, she offered to help spread the word about the program. With the assistance of her roommate, Priya Ganatra ’17, she devoted many hours to creating a promotional video, setting up and conducting interviews, editing material, integrating background photography, and finding music – all to capture the sprit and successes of Princeton Writes during the program’s inaugural year. Completed in the spring of 2014 and accessible from Princeton Writes‘ homepage, this video is the latest expression of the narrative and artistic lens through which Sharon sees the world, and given her curiosity and creativity, it will certainly not be the last.