Recently I wrapped up my True Stories Go Global course at Parami University.

The intensive online course covered topics like how to write personal essays, micro-stories, travel writing, journalism, editing, research skills and much more. I introduced learners to the diversity of non-fiction and guided them to experiment in writing across multiple forms. Ultimately the course enabled students to harvest stories from their own experiences and to find their voices as storytellers.

The students were working in incredibly difficult situations: power cuts, extreme heat and under the ongoing threat of violence and abduction by the military.

Their dedication and creativity was truly inspiring.

During the course the students wrote a series of micro-stories: moments of real lives captured in short bursts of luminous writing. The stories were then paired with illustrations created by Parami students studying an illustration course. The featured image shared above here is the result of this creative collaboration.

Following is the text.


Walking past the gate, I glanced at the large flame-of-the-forest tree, its flowers a flambeau of orange-red. I took a deep breath, inhaled the warm air and its smell of smoke, jasmine, and dust. It’s the time of the year when the birds come back to their northern homes.

Unlike the birds, I am leaving. Maybe it’ll be forever. Looking back over my shoulder, I try to capture the picture of my home in my memory. It’s never easy to make the decision to leave but sometimes we don’t really have a choice.


The author and illustrator names have been removed for their own safety.

I’ve worked with Parami University since its early inception and was writer in residence there in 2017-2018 whilst living in Yangon, Myanmar. Parami University is committed to educating underserved students in developing countries and offers an array of undergraduate and adult education courses through online learning methods. The university is registered in Washington State, US.