Meet Vanessa from Myanmar.
Tell us about yourself in 1 line.
I’m a writer and researcher based in Yangon, Myanmar.
Tell us something most people might not know about you.
My two phobias are snakes and clowns.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“You’ve been talking about it for long enough: why not just do it?” This was a phrase first coined by my grandmother and adopted by later generations of my family. It’s a great reminder that while it’s good to set goals and make plans, there comes a point when you need to act on them.
Tell us about a time when this piece of advice came in useful.
I spent years writing my first book (A Burmese Heart) in my head before I managed to put a word down on paper. I always knew that I wanted to write my family’s story but it was always difficult to find the time to take on such an endeavour as a student or as a young professional. After living abroad for over two decades, I decided to move back to Yangon in 2012 due to the political transition, knowing that there might not be another chance to interview my grandmother (who is the subject of the book) and research 20th century Burmese history on the ground. It took me over three years to complete the book and it was published in June 2015.