The ‘Taking Root’ Story Forest: A Collection of Multimedia Works
Perhaps you’ve seen a mangrove. These saltwater-loving trees grow thickly along the coastlines of South Florida. They edge the shores in heavy clumps; they huddle in meandering rows. The roots will catch your eye first: a rich reddish brown color, they grow out of the brackish water like creeping fingers. As a child, I thought the roots were trying to wrench themselves from the sediment—that the mangrove was a tree desperately seeking other waters.
What I didn’t know then was that the mangrove had adapted to thrive there. Between twice-a-day tides, the stilt-like roots pull oxygen from the air. The sediment that collects beneath the roots builds the shoreline, and a vibrant community of plants and animals live on or below the roots. Even the leaves are gifted. Two holes on each pump out the excess salt; it covers the waxy green leaves like crystals.
The young writers of Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology remind me of those red mangroves and their hardy, branching roots. Like the tree, they flourish at the borders, but theirs straddles the prickly border between youth and adulthood. In waters friendly or inhospitable, these writers persevere: always creating, always building, expanding. Through their words they interrogate the world we take for granted, and in their wonderings, propose new Earths to inhabit.
Here’s to those brave, beautiful writers, and the works that will take them near and far. Deeply rooted in who they are, their words are the salt crystals that adorn the leaves. —Morayo Faleyimu
Explore the Story Forest
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.