Young Guyanese writer to release sci-fi novel ‘The Beast Within’


By Jessica Callender

Step into a world where imagination takes flight and darkness looms over the remnants of human civilisation.

In the vibrant landscape of Guyanese literature, a new voice emerges, weaving a tale that combines the allure of dystopian fiction with the enchantment of fantasy.

This is the journey Sarika Prasad aims to take readers on when her fantasy novel ‘The Beast Within’ is officially released this year.

Guyana has birthed many highly acclaimed authors over the years, the likes of Dr. Ian McDonald, Al Creighton, E. R. Braithwaite, Martin Carter, Mark McWatt and Grace Nichols.

Sarika is an author, poet and social media manager (Photo by Spurcius Media)

Twenty-four year-old Prasad embodies a new type of writer on the Guyanese landscape, one who aims to emulate the successes of dystopian fiction with the publication of her fantasy novel.

From a young age, Prasad was entranced by popular sci-fi/dystopian fantasy authors like Veronica Roth, C.S. Lewis, Rick Riordan and Suzanna Collins.

“My reading has influenced my writing style. I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy. Those books inspired me to write my own story,” she said during an interview with the News Room.

Prasad’s debut work, ‘The Beast Within’, envisions a world where human civilisation is taken to the brink of extinction and beasts, called night walkers, prey on those who remain.

“I think they (the readers) will enjoy the way I incorporated elements like the magic, adventure and fantasy tropes.

“It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the night walkers, which are vampires and werewolves, basically fight against what’s left of the humans to take control of the world. I have three main characters- Randissa Cain, Jessia Shipley and Ashton Pearce.”

The post-dystopian world imagined in Prasad’s book pits the main characters against forces that wish to threaten their world with destruction while they confront their own inner demons.

“One of the main themes deals with confronting your inner self. Basically, this is why I named my book ‘The Beast Within’.

“It is set in a fantasy-dystopian world. My plot is mainly character driven.”

Map of ‘Certia’, the fantasy world that sets the stage for the story

Prasad started writing as a teenager at St. Stanislaus College where she would use her pen to escape to fictional worlds between and during classes.

She finished the first draft of ‘The Beast Within’ when she was 17 and spent the next seven years rewriting, editing and perfecting the book, with the end-goal of releasing it to the world.

This proved to be no easy task as she struggled to get her book published locally.

“The funny thing was, after I finished my book, the first thing I thought was, ‘How am I going to get (it) published?’

“I spent the next few years learning. I purchased courses online, so I started studying publishing, I started learning editing, graphic design, all of these skills which would eventually be incorporated to make the book and my business.”

As trials often pave the way for innovation, Prasad is not only preparing to release her novel, but also revolutionising Guyana’s literary landscape through the establishment of ‘Inkstain Media and Publishing’.

The company offers publishing, editing and marketing packages to aspiring writers in Guyana and globally.

“I struggled for a long time to get my work out there. I decided that I was not the only person who did not have the resources at the time to get published. So I decided to create Inkstain Media and Publishing to help other Guyanese authors get published.”

This will be her first published work, but as an ardent poet she frequently publishes her poems on Instagram and Facebook.

Prasad will accept pre-orders for her book on June 13, followed by a grand unveiling at the anime and comic convention, Merch Anime Rave Spectacle (MARS), on August 19.

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