Marwah Shuaib


Marwah is a fourth year studying Prose Writing and Global Development. Her interests include very bad TV, very good books and vice versa. She is, of course, from Northern Virginia. You can read more of her work at

As we tried to come to terms with the quarantine and all it brought crashing down on us (farewell, UVA friends and life), we started cobbling together our recommendations for what to watch and read and play. Some of us had big lists, some small. Some of us had a lot to say, some of us little. That’s kind of how it’s all been.

Illustration of babka

A few weeks ago, I was kneading bread and thinking about capitalism.

Brown women's hands holding a book

The memory of writing my first ever short story is clearly etched in my mind. I remember the setting (an elementary school), the characters (a class of third graders) and the conflict (a radioactive lizard, loose in the classroom). I also remember that all of the characters in that first story, and in my next dozen, were all white. 

A woman writing in a notebook with a boy

“In our society, those who are educated sit on chairs and those who aren’t sit on the floor.”

Heart with the words "Marry Me" above it

I love weddings, but I didn’t always. 

Gray rain clouds with an off white background

Her veil: blush, pearl-spotted.

Lashes: heavy (fake), coming undone.

The pale gap above her eye. Rani, half-past-nineteen.


Large head surrounded by a ring of smoke

My great-grandmother was a lifelong smoker.

a photo of Dr. Jensen Montambault

When Jensen Montambault was an undergraduate at UVA, she chose to divide her time between two disparate fields of study--Environmental Science and English Literature. She went on to obtain a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Ecology and has since written extensively about climate change and its impact on modern societies.

Gold necklace spelling the name "Marwah"

I wear my gold nameplate necklace every day. It has a constant, reassuring presence on my body. Below my throat and above my heart. When I feel overwhelmed or nervous, it becomes a place to rest my hands, a touchstone to recenter myself. When I order coffee, I hold it out as I spell my name.