For the longest time, I had been meaning to write about how it feels like being the youngest author of Bhutan. It was probably going to be filled with how uncomfortable the title “The Youngest Author” had been for me and how hard it was growing up trying to meet the expectations of everyone around me. However, now that I’ve lost that title, it’s kind of bittersweet. For almost all the time that I had that title, I wished that I didn’t, except when it made my resume look good.

To be honest, I’m proud that I am no longer the youngest author of Bhutan. I am happy that there are younger girls out there who have the same passion for writing. I’m fascinated by how these girls have produced such good quality work at such young ages. I watched Yeshey Tsheyang Zam at the Mountain Echoes and I don’t think I have such confidence even now at 21. All in all, even though these girls might not even know who I am or read my books, I feel a connection to them. I hope that they inspire even younger writers to publish their work.

Going back to when I was the youngest author of Bhutan, I remember some people nicknamed me “author” or “writer” and I used to secretly hate it. I know I should be proud of my accomplishments but I really wasn’t. Ever since I published Coming Home in 2008, I felt like that was what people knew me of. They didn’t see anything behind my being an author. They didn’t see the sarcastic, mean and clumsy girl I could be but instead saw the accomplished, the so-called perfect person I wasn’t.

There were many high expectations of me. My friends asked me help on their homework and teachers assumed that my grammar and vocabulary would be perfect. I bet there are people who will find mistakes on this very post and ridicule me of having written books and still make silly mistakes. I felt disappointment and anger at myself and at these expectations. Over the years, I have wished over and over again to go back in time and write Coming Home under a pseudonym.

The pressure of “When’s the next book?” or “When is the second one coming out?” could have probably been the reason why it took so long for me to come out with my second book, Lomba.

I know that there are people who have supported and loved my work since Coming Home and it’s very sad for me to admit that I’m not proud of Coming Home. Most of the time, I try to dissuade people from reading Coming Home. If I had the power, I would eliminate all the copies of Coming Home in Bhutan. I haven’t read the book since it was published.

Scanning through it a few years ago, I spotted many grammatical errors and things that could have been better. I think that the plot was good but there could have been much better work done on editing and the way it was written. I know that I’m being too hard on myself since I was only twelve at the time. However, Coming Home is a published book that could be read by kids and teenagers and I wish I could have made it a better read for them.

I think that I had worked so hard and insisted on publishing Lomba because I wanted to redeem myself for Coming Home. I am much prouder of Lomba than Coming Home. However, I do realise that Lomba would not have existed without Coming Home. I think that even though Lomba was not perfect, it was a step ahead of Coming Home and I will continue trying to better myself. Even though I sometimes wish I hadn’t published Coming Home, I know that without that book, my life would have been different. The expectations and the pressure made my life hard but it made me a better person. I wouldn’t be writing this or pushing myself to write if I had not published those books. Writing would have probably faded off my life as just a childhood hobby.

I may have gone off topic a little but this article is sort of a goodbye to being known as the youngest author of Bhutan. It’s a strange, mixed feeling of relief, happiness and sadness. I have been the youngest author of Bhutan for almost nine years. That had been my life ever since I entered middle school. It has been a rocky journey so far but I have learned so much through it. At the end of this journey of being the youngest author in Bhutan, I would have to thank the 11-year-old Pema Euden who thought it was a good idea to publish a book that wasn’t even ready to be published, Pema Euden who wasn’t too scared of critiques or speaking in public. This Pema wouldn’t exist without that Pema. This is the end of an era, at least for me.

Contributed by

Pema Euden