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.
Karen Escobar moved to Australia from Columbia when she was nine. She is in her final year of her Law/Arts (Journalism) Degree at Notre Dame University. In 2018, Karen completed an Internship at the Centre for Stories where she completed an important story collection called Australian and more, a concept close to her heart. She is the events coordinator for PEN Perth.
Please introduce yourself.
Hi there! I’m Karen. I was born in Colombia, but have had the pleasure of calling Australia home since 2012. Having had the experience of an ex-pat child and living in the midst of various cultures incited a passion for social issues and engagement in various discourses. I hope to make my passion my career. I am in my final year of a Law/Arts degree, so it is go time!
What have you been working on during the Mentoring Program?
During the Mentoring Program I have focused on feminist and body-politic writing, initially I had no clear genre; I was dabbling in some poetry, some short creative non-fiction, and random thought rambles, but I think I have reached my niche in poetic lyricism and confessional poetry. I am looking to establish a unique style with the help of my mentor, Amy.
What has it been like working with your mentor?
Amy has been great! She is friendly and warm, but critical and provides genuine constructive feedback. She has the perfect balance. As someone who has never shared their writing with others, she made me feel at ease and secure that there would be no judgment or steamrolling. It is great to have someone with experience to discuss my worries and ideas, and who is willing to take the time to see where I am coming from and where it is I intend to go with a piece of work.
Has your writing style, practice, or vocation changed since the beginning of your Mentorship?
My practice has changed. I am making it more of a practice than a random thing I do. Working on the same pieces, fine tuning, editing, those elements of a writing practice are all new to me.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing?
It depends. I am at university most of the time during semester; work and volunteering throughout; reading, yoga, and meditation intermingled to handle the stress.
What have you been doing to get involved with the writing community?
I made some time to attend events and festivals around the city to get to know more writers and creatives at the start of the year. Amy and I came up with a list of places to go to that have a strong literary community. I’ve also been trying to make more of an effort to engage with the brilliant evens held at the Centre (now via Zoom).
What are your goals for 2020?
To graduate and figure out where to go from here. I want to finish the Mentoring Program and perhaps see what the next step to take in terms of my writing may be.