This year’s “Write in Armenia” International Creative Writing Camp was finalized. In the framework of the Zabel International Women Writers’ Forum, as well as the The Power of Cultural Diplomacy: Literature without Borders project funded by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation a panel discussion has been held, during which the participants spoke about the benefits and necessity of creative writing courses, about healthy discussions among the writers, and the importance of such programs.
Arevik Ashkharoyan, the director of the ARI Literature Foundation, hosted three guests: Elena Babayan from Armenia, Berna Birtan from Turkey, and Asl Perker, one of the tutors of the Write in Armenia International Creative Writing Camp.
This year the tutors of the young writers were famous writers Armen Ohanyan and Asl Perker. Asli Perker mentions that creative writing courses are especially useful for novice writers.
Valuable pieces of advice and fruitful discussions immediately have an impact on the young writers’ literary taste and the quality of their work. “When I first started teaching, I realized that yes, you can really guide someone or just inspire. You can help. You can teach a few things and the course will be useful. ”
Yelena and Berna, participants of the Write in Armenia International Creative Writing Camp, even managed to become friends during the camp. And after completing the course they continue discussing their works together, giving each other advice and communicating on various literary topics. They find many tips which were presented during the course very useful and helpful for their future works. “I think that the advice given by Asli was very effective and it helped me a lot. The advice was – First write with your heart and then write it once more with your brain because you are going to edit a lot of stuff”. Before that I was convinced that one should write only under the brains guidance.”
Berna Britan: “I always remember the words of Armen Ohanyan who used to discuss with us different topics: You should know very well the characters of your books. You should be able to “see” them. You should know everything about them. Of course, we do so very often and sometimes we don’t, but after those words I started to consciously approach my characters. And I think that helped much while building the story. Now, when I write something, it seems to me that, yes, the story goes its own way, and the characters are alive. The training helped me to be a little more confident.”
One of the advantages of this course, mentioned by the participants was the tradition to discuss each other’s new works together. This is something which is not so common in our region, but in Europe and the United States, writers themselves are interested in discussing unpublished stories with fellow writers and then presenting it to the editor and publisher.
The participants of the Write in Armenia International Creative Writing Camp were impressed and motivated and while bidding farewell to each other they promised not to forget all the valuable pieces of advice they received from established and experienced writers. At the end of the panel discussion, Arevik Ashkharoyan said goodbye to Elena and Berta and noted that the Zabel International Women Writers Forum would be waiting for them as established and skilled writers.