We consider ourselves very lucky to collaborate with and work alongside talented and dynamic interns at the Centre for Stories. In 2021 we’ll be welcoming several interns through our doors who will each, in their own way, make their mark at the Centre and we, in turn, will celebrate them!
So, meet Sachini Poogoda. Sachini has been coming in twice a week to help us out with Portside Review — which we’re very grateful for! Sachini has her head and her heart in many places; from returning to her hometown of Perth from Canberra, to adventuring through the Rocky Mountains in Canada. Alongside her adventures, Sachini studied the intriguing combination of Genetics and English and still finds time to write in between her work on a Masters in Genetic Counselling and, of course, helping us out at the Centre for Stories. Read on to learn more about Sachini.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Where have you come from, where are you going, and which people and what experiences have shaped you between?
I am the child of Sri Lankan immigrants, and I grew up in the suburbs of Perth. Five years ago, I moved to Canberra to do my undergraduate degree where I studied Genetics and English. People often comment that that’s an odd combination (along with “why Canberra?”) and I think, honestly it sums me up pretty well. I have always had a creative side but, being a child of typical Asian parents, I have always been encouraged and supported to do well in academics. Then as I grew older, I was never able to pick a side! Even now, I am pursuing a career in science while finding outlets for my creativity. Aside from study and work, I love to online shop, pick apart inconsistencies in TV shows, and watch videos of staffies talking to their humans.
So what brought you to Portside Review at the Centre for Stories?
I moved back to Perth due to COVID, and I was looking for an avenue to improve and practice my writing while also meeting people in the industry. I stumbled upon Portside Review during a Google search and thought, hey, that looks right up my alley.
You’ve been coming in twice a week to work on many aspects of Portside Review, including editing and copywriting. How have you found it so far? Has anything surprised you?
I’ve really loved the experience of working on Portside Review. It’s exposed me to many new writers, allowed me to absorb myself in works of the Indian Ocean, and helped me get really familiar with the back end of Squarespace. In the past, I’ve written opinion pieces and feature articles, so writing good copy took a bit of getting used to. The other surprise was how frequently I would be offered a cup of tea by the staff here. It’s quite excellent.
We know it’s hard to pick favourites, but what is one of your favourite pieces from Portside Review?
I really enjoyed Frances An’s ‘Thôi bọn mình chia tay, thôi bọn mình… chia tay (Let us part ways, let us… part ways)’. I find I always notice something different in it every time I read it. I think it so cleverly captures a brutal moment of clarity while working within the cultural specificity of Vietnamese comfort food. It is specific and unique while being utterly universal.
What can readers expect from Issue Two?
Readers can expect more great pieces of writing from writers all around the Indian Ocean. I think Issue Two will continue to encompass place in a really beautiful way, while still telling the stories that are important for our coastal communities to hear and read about. I hope it will have a few interactive elements about it as well.
Like most young people making their way in the world, you’ve got a lot of interesting commitments on your plate. Can you tell us more about your creative practice and/or academic interests?
I am doing a Masters in Genetic Counselling at the moment, so that takes up a significant portion of my time. Aside from that, I also write a lot about race and representation, and those pieces occasionally get taken on by different publications. However, my biggest creative project has been writing a novel. I wrote a portion of it over my Creative Writing Honours degree and have spent the last year polishing it up. Long story short, it’s the YA dystopian fiction that didn’t exist when I was a teen and I always wished to read. I wanted to include a diverse cast and independent female characters while still writing a compelling story.
Here at the Centre for Stories, we love sharing stories (I know, weird right?). Can you share a brief story about an experience that has stayed with you?
I was fortunate enough to do a semester abroad in Canada a few years ago. After the term ended I went travelling with a few friends. I will never forget the incredible scenery of the Rocky Mountains across British Columbia and Alberta – it was absolutely breathtaking. But the thing that is truly seared into my memory is the shock of anxiety as I watched our petrol meter tick down to zero, the petrol station still several kilometres away on the map. There were snow and conifers for miles around us. I remember mentally calculating in my head how long it would take me to run to the station and back if the car broke down at that moment. I remember being legitimately fearful that I did not have any bear spray. But somehow, through tactical braking and some miracle, the petrol station rolled into view a few, very long, minutes later. That day single-handedly has made me one of those people that won’t let her tank get to ¼ full, because ¼ full is pretty much empty.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m currently reading – or rather listening to – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Wife and the Widow by Christian White. Yes, I am listening to them interchangeably. Yes, it can be confusing.
What are you listening to?
Well if we ignore the above, I am often listening to genetics podcasts on Spotify – that’s mostly for my degree. In terms of music, I’m going through a real Whitney Houston phase at the moment.
What’re you looking forward to in the coming months, or in 2022?
I have a holiday booked to Broome in May which I am super excited about. I’ve always wanted to travel the north-west, and now I’m finally doing it! There’s also a potential move to Melbourne on the cards, as my degree is supposed to be in Melbourne. As the year progresses, the potential for in-person classes increases and I am really excited about that.
Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
You can find my writing here: sachinipoogoda.wixsite.com/writer or follow me on Instagram @_poogle.