True Stories Go Global

A creative nonfiction project with Parami Institute of Continuing Education

True Stories Go Global


  • Project date: 2024
  • Project location: Myanmar / Thailand / Bangladesh / Online
  • Project partners: Parami Institute of Continuing Education


Both Wind&Bones co-directors Hannah and Will work with Parami University in Myanmar, producing and contributing to a range of projects, courses and curricula. Recently Dr Hannah Stevens wrapped up the True Stories Go Global course she produced and led at Parami University.

During the course the students wrote a series of micro-stories: moments of real lives captured in short, powerful bursts of luminous writing. The stories were then paired with illustrations created by Parami students studying an illustration course. During the course learners covered topics like how to write personal essays, micro-stories, travel writing, journalism, editing, research skills and much more.

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

Hannah has 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.

Project Outcomes

The origin of these stories came from an assignment entitled: The 100 word challenge! Students selected a single event, activity or moment from the previous 24 hours of their lives and wrote about it.

The subject could be about anything, however small and the challenge was to tell a story and capture a fleeting moment with clarity, precision and flair: all important writing skills they’d learned during the course.

These stories then went through an editorial process and were shared with the illustration class. In turn the illustration class, using these stories as inspirational prompts, designed bold and beautiful accompanying art work.

What follows is the result of this creative collaboration.


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 fluorescent light accentuated the topography of her face and its motions. The eyes rolling under the lids; the nostrils flaring with each breath; the temple veins throbbing. The skin of her face was wrinkled like the magenta shirt she was wearing.

My eyes settled on the unrecognizable landscape, searched for a remnant of the mother I knew. Then her eyes opened, caught me in the act.

“Who are you?” she whispered. A dull ache formed in my throat. Her illness had made us both strangers now.


The roses are beautiful: green stems, pink flowers. But it doesn’t take long for them to wither. In the past, I would feel sad watching their beauty fade. But these last three years have hardened me.

Since the military coup in Myanmar we have lost our country, our dreams and our futures. I see young people die, leaving behind their beloved. I see our country reduced to a place of massacre.

I look at the roses once more and hope to feel sad about the loss of small things again soon.

The Sunrise

It’s been two decades since I watched the sun rise over the beach: the glimmer of dawn breaking the darkness of night. I remember the red sphere appearing on the horizon, the glittering light on the sea surface, the sound of waves. People walked on the sand, pet dogs ran beside them.

From the balcony of my old home, I watched this scene every morning. But, I didn’t value it. Now, in the city where I live, I crave this view. But I know I can never go back.