Emily Briggeman is a 13-year-old with extraordinary talent. Strong-willed yet caring, she is a South African gold medallist Judo champ, an achiever on the school sports field and a skilled piano player. Remarkably, she is also a published author!
Last year, during the COVID-19 quarantine, Durban North teen Emily put pen to paper to write her first book. The result is a captivating debut novel called Tribes, which centres around a 13-year-old named Grace Millar, who thinks she is invisible, but finds a note that leads her on a journey of self-discovery into a secret world that changes everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. As Grace looks for answers about what really happened to her father and questions whether her secret admirer is who he says he is and what her mother is hiding from her, she discovers that her life will never be the same again.
The motivation for writing her book, Emily says, was the fact that she loves reading and always wanted to write a book of her own.
“I had no idea it would end up being published. I’d never written a book before, but I think lockdown gave me the opportunity for my imagination to go wild. I had a plot and worked on the characters from there, and then I just got stuck in. The more I wrote, the more I became invested in this fantasy adventure.”
Emily has been immersed in the world of travel from a young age. Being home-schooled for most of her primary school career gave Emily and her family the time to explore several countries. She believes this provided her with countless learning opportunities and character shaping possibilities as well as world experience and making memories with her family – all of which have moulded her into the kind and determined young girl she is today.
“Although my favourite places to visit are Switzerland and France, my book is set in Canada. Grace, who is the same age as me and in her first year of high school, has been a character I have really loved drawing out. The book is aimed at readers between nine and 14, however feedback has proven that everyone who reads it enjoys it! Creating the story has been really fun. The last month or so of writing was very intense, but seeing the results has made it all worthwhile.”
It seems whatever Emily puts her mind to, she achieves. She believes in living a healthy, colourful life, putting a hundred and ten per cent effort into everything she does and living life to the fullest. Emily loves dogs and has three of her own and she also has her own YouTube channel, EmilyB. She believes in giving back to the community and teaches underprivileged people to bake.
“I love to bake, paint, play the piano, dance, write and spend lots of time with my family and friends. Growing up I also spent countless hours participating in community work with underprivileged children. This is something very close to my heart. Last year I was teaching children to bake and this year I’ve started teaching adults and tweens, Covid protocols in place of course! We could all do with a little more consideration for others, as well as self-love. Take the time to do things that matter to you, be kind and don’t stop believing in yourself.”
Tribes was published by Reach Publishers in Durban and is available on Amazon and on in bookstores for R200.
Details: Follow Emily on IG: emilyabriggeman and FB: EmilyBCreations