In­ter­net light­ning rod Scaachi Koul

Writer and Twit­ter star Scaachi Koul comes to Hal­i­fax for the first time.

The Coast - - FRONT PAGE - BY RE­BECCA DINGWELL

An evening with Scaachi Koul

Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29, 7pm Paul O’Re­gan Hall, Hal­i­fax Cen­tral Li­brary 5440 Spring Gar­den Road, $20 tick­ethal­i­fax.com

“It was funny and sad.” That’s how Scaachi Koul’s mother re­acted af­ter read­ing Koul’s book, One Day We’ll All Be

Dead and None of This Will Mat­ter. Al­though short, it’s an ac­cu­rate re­view. In this col­lec­tion of per­sonal es­says, Koul finds sharp and clever ways to tackle fear, fam­ily, racism and—well— the flam­ing garbage fire that is Twit­ter.

Any­one who fol­lows @Scaachi re­mem­bers when her ac­count went quiet in 2016, fol­low­ing an avalanche of ha­rass­ment even big­ger than what she nor­mally ex­pe­ri­enced. Peo­ple took is­sue with the Buz­zFeed writer’s call for pitches, ask­ing specif­i­cally for work from folks who were non-white and non-men. “I just thought, ‘I clearly don’t have the skills to not look at it right now,’” Koul says of the ha­rass­ment. “I couldn’t look away from it. It was like watch­ing my own funeral.”

Now, Koul is bet­ter at look­ing away. Her de­ci­sion to re­turn to Twit­ter was as much for her­self as leav­ing had been. “I’m gen­er­ally un­com­fort­able with leav­ing ter­ri­tory to peo­ple I don’t like,” she says. “It also re­ally both­ers me, the idea that I have to be run off a plat­form be­cause other peo­ple are be­hav­ing poorly.”

Koul ad­mits her hubris prob­a­bly plays a role in this train of thought, but it doesn’t seem likely that so­cial me­dia will be de­void of her pres­ence any­time soon. She’s part of a gen­er­a­tion that grew up with the in­ter­net, af­ter all, and what’s more—she’s im­por­tant to the women she reaches on that web­site. That said, Koul is hope­ful Twit­ter will even­tu­ally be re­placed by a bet­ter plat­form.

It shouldn’t be un­com­mon for women speak freely on­line, but when one looks at the back­lash faced by fe­male writ­ers such as Koul, Ijeoma Oluo or Lindy West, the im­por­tance of these voices is clear. When Koul was in school, “ev­ery­body used to talk about ‘Oh, be­ing in jour­nal­ism is hard, be­ing a writer is hard, find­ing a job is hard.’ And you hear all of that,” she says. “But no­body once told me it would be harder be­cause I was a girl or be­cause I was a brown per­son.”

When young women start­ing off in me­dia ask Koul for ad­vice, she tells them the truth: It is go­ing to be hard. As for prac­ti­cal in­struc­tions, “I tell them to get an agent and to get a hobby,” she says. “You should have some­thing ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar, be­cause this job is aw­ful.”

It was Koul’s own agent who prompted her to put a book to­gether. Since then, First Gen­er­a­tion Films has ac­quired the rights to One

Day, which is slated to be adapted into a com­edy se­ries writ­ten and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by Koul. “I don’t know what’s gonna hap­pen,” she says. “Maybe all of this will go away and no one will re­mem­ber me in a cou­ple weeks.”

Right now that seems un­likely. And if you’re one of the haters who wants her to shut up? Yeah, good luck with that.

BARBORA SIMKOVA

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