FCX: Lang Leav Reads Her Poem Shared By Actress Sophia Bush
Published on 17 Dec 2015 8:05:22 PM
Lang Leav is among a new rising of Instagram poets – dubbed Instapoets – whose work speaks to the social media generation. Like her fans throughout the world, many Malaysian teenagers discovered the 35-year-old Australian through Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, social media sites where Leav posts most of her poetry and writing. She has close to 50,000 followers on Twitter and over 130,000 on Instagram. By all accounts, she’s a best-selling celebrity poet, but being labelled an Instapoet is something Leav has mixed feelings over.
“I have no idea how that came about,” she says. “I only started using Instagram a year ago. I haven’t thought much about the term, but anything to get people reading is a good thing. I feel like I’m a writer, and I don’t think writers should be pigeonholed. Writers are writers.”
Leav has had three books published already, Her first collection, Love And Misadventure, was out in 2013 and shifted over 10,000 copies, enough to land her with US publisher Andrew McMeels, who released her follow-ups, Lullabies and Memories. Collectively, all three tomes have moved over 300,000 copies in three years. Even actress Sophia Bush and TV star Khloe Kardashian have shared her work on their social media pages.
Meanwhile, among her Malaysian fans are Ariff Jazzmi, 20, and Heather Chan, 19. “The first time I read her poetry, I felt goosebumps. What she writes is just so relatable,” Ariff says, a sentiment that Chan agrees with. “Lang Leav’s stuff is beautiful. She writes on love and emotions, and I really feel what she’s writing. It speaks to me.”
Leav was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, where her Cambodian-Chinese parents had escaped to during the Khmer rouge reign. Her family fled to Australia after that, and Leav later settled in New Zealand, where she now lives with her partner Michael Faudet.
“If you were to look at that baby in the refugee camp, with such an uncertain future, it’s amazing that I’ve ended up here,” Leav says. “It’s something I like to share with others, that despite insurmountable odds, you can make your dreams come true.”
Her love of poetry started at a very young age, but where it came from she can’t say. “Growing up, a lot of people said I was an old soul. I’ve always liked poetry. It’s almost like a personification of human emotion. My parents have notebooks of all my work. It’s something I’ve always been able to channel.”
Right now she’s working on her first novel, Sad Girls, which is due sometime in 2016. “It was a natural progression. I was writing longer pieces and I thought I wanted to write a novel. I just couldn’t get the characters out of my head. They’re taking on a life of their own and making choices that really surprise me,” Leav says.
This sojourn into long-form prose doesn’t mean Leav will abandon her bite-sized work. “ Poetry has always been part of my life. It’s something I’ve always been able to take comfort in,” she says.
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