In 2019, the Centre for Stories selected a number of emerging writers to be involved in a 12-month mentoring program. The Inclusion Matters Mentoring Program, funded by the Copyright Agency and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, allows writers to improve their craft, to work in a supportive community, and to be paired with a well-established mentor. Both programs are designed for people living in Western Australia who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse.
Baran Rostamian is a writer and student studying a degree in English Literature and Law and Society. Baran has been working with writing expert Susan Midalia to improve and challenge her writing practice.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Baran Rostamian and I am the child of first-generation immigrants. I was born in Esfahan, Iran and moved to Perth, Australia when I was four years old. My mother wanted to complete her studies overseas and wanted me to have a better education than the one I would have received in Iran. Upon arriving I went straight to kindergarten, speaking next to no English. A few years and ESL programs later, I would call English my favourite subject. as a child I loved to read, and in the middle years of primary school, I discovered that I also loved to write. To this day, there is no thrill that matches the one I get when I sit and bring something from nothing in my writing. I am currently a university student studying English Literature and Law and Society, and, I am delighted to say – I just don’t know what the future holds.
What have you been working on during the Mentoring Program?
I have been writing and developing short stories with the help of my mentor Susan Midalia.
What has it been like working with your mentor?
Susan has really opened my eyes to what makes good fiction. She has been nothing but encouraging, whilst also giving me direct, useful feedback on my own writing.
Has your writing style, practice, or vocation changed since the beginning of your Mentorship?
I’m writing much more regularly, and I have learned to edit less in the initial stages of the writing process, letting my thoughts spill out freely. I have also learned what clumsiness in my writing looks like, and now try to avoid unnecessary wordiness.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing?
Reading, taking photos, watching French films, watching and editing YouTube videos.
What have you been doing to get involved with the writing community?
Last year I was involved as a volunteer with the Own Voices Storytelling Festival, and I am currently writing book reviews for The Pelican. I also came along to Write Night at the Centre for Stories and took a creative writing unit at university as part of my degree, which were great ways to meet other writers and like-minded people.
What are your goals for 2020?
I wish to develop my ability to structure and devise a plot and to write with a greater purpose, with the intent of making those without a voice heard, and to learn to incorporate my passion for activism into my passion for the written word. I also want to explore and write more Eco poetry this year.