Sarabjit Parmar - College of Arts, Humanities and Education - University of Derby

Sarabjit Parmar, BA Joint Honours in Creative Writing and Media Writing, 2011

What are you doing now?

From the beginning of my final year at university, I wrote a daily diary of the highs, lows, good days and bad days. This resulted in a 50,000 word memoir entitled Climbing Mountains: My Final Year at the University of Derby. Despite having many articles published in newspapers and magazines prior to attending university, I decided that I wanted to start writing books. My first goal after graduating was to find a publisher for my memoir, this was no easy feat, but I worked relentlessly until I succeeded. After many rejections, in 2013 my manuscript was finally accepted by a USA publisher. Once contracts were signed, I was assigned an editor, and together we worked on editing and perfecting my manuscript. In 2014 Climbing Mountains was published as an ebook and print.

Currently I am working on several projects, the main one being a novel. Once it’s completed I’m aiming to find an agent or publisher.

What were the main reasons you took that course?

Ever since I was a child I immensely enjoyed being creative with words. I loved to use my imagination and write stories and poetry. It was in my twenties when I studied a comprehensive writing course, which led to me writing articles for local and national publications. I knew I wanted to further my skills and become more established hence taking the Creative Writing and Media Writing course.


Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?

The main reason was the great support system for people with disabilities. Being in a wheelchair myself, it was imperative that I had the right support around me to study and complete my degree.

The encouragement of my lecturers and their belief in me removed all self-doubt.

What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?

With the help of my lecturers and the modules I studied, it helped me clarify exactly the type of writing career I desired. While I was at university, a lecturer advised me to apply for a summer placement at the Guardian. Even though I made the shortlist for the interview, I knew I had no aspiration to become a newspaper reporter or journalist. I wanted to be a writer. The people on the interview panel must have felt the same because despite not gaining a position on the placement, I was given the opportunity to write an article for the Guardian. To me, this was better than gaining the placement itself.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

When I arrived at the University I was a nervous wreck. Commuting from Leicester to a town I didn’t know and people I had never met was more petrifying than anything I’d ever done. Also being in a wheelchair with disabilities made university life more challenging, but the encouragement of my lecturers and their belief in me removed all self-doubt. I knew I was surrounded by great staff, which made it more stress-free.

If you're passionate about writing or the media industry then this course is for you.

How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?

The predominant thing that makes the University appealing to me is the mentoring scheme offered by the Career Development Centre. I joined the scheme and was assigned a mentor who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the journalism and writing field. Since meeting him I’ve gained more skills, explored many new opportunities and have more confidence in my ability to succeed. I’m fortunate to still be in touch with my mentor (now my friend, too) and have him guiding me in my career.

What are your future plans?

I plan to keep  writing for newspapers and magazines, but my main focus will be on writing novels and having them published.

Great support system for people with disabilities.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

If you're passionate about writing or the media industry then this course is for you. It’ll enable you to gain the skills you need to succeed within the creative/ media industry.

"If you're passionate about writing or the media industry then this course is for you." Sarabjit Parmar