LILBURN - Shalini Ramachan has been writing for a long time, but she never expected to receive a national award for her craft.
The 18-year-old also never thought she would be honored by an organization that recognized the early work of writers such as Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath.
A story that Ramachan said was inspired by her grandmother's life helped her receive that honor. The Parkview High graduate is featured in "The Best Teen Writing of 2007," an anthology of teen writing exemplars from The Scholastic Writing Awards.
"It's really humbling," Ramachan said of the award. "It's so mind-boggling to be honored by this kind of organization."
Ramachan said her published story, "A Small Adjustment," is about how love must grow in an arranged marriage. The story is fiction, but Ramachan said it is based on her grandmother's life.
"My grandmother is a big inspiration to me, because she is one of the strongest people I have ever met," Ramachan said.
The teen said it took her three or four months to write the short story, which received a gold award from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Showcase.
"I hadn't really expected it at all," Ramachan said. "It was a really big surprise."
From there, her story was chosen to be published in the annual anthology.
Ramachan said she has had stories published in small, local contests. She said she wrote her first book, "The Adventures of Mr. Crayon," when she was in third grade. She said she has kept a journal "since before I could remember" and writes "little stories that just come to me."
Ramachan is now studying English/creative writing and journalism at Emory University. In addition to Parkview, she attended Arcado Elementary, Nesbit Elementary and Trickum Middle.
She credits her success to people who have helped inspire and support her: former English teachers, her grandparents and her parents, Kishore and Vasanthi.