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Roya Zendebudie


First Language(s): Persian
Second Language(s): English


Roya Zendebudie was born in 1992 in Iran. She started writing fiction at the age of 9, and since middle school she has been writing and translating literary pieces in magazines. She has also translated books for children and young adults. Her short story, “Dey Zangeroo” is going to be published in a collection of short stories in 2020.


What was your favorite book as a child?

There were two books that marked the beginning of my journey into literature as a child: the first one was “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which I read when I was eleven. Reading it, I remember, I felt like a light was shed on my life: I could see everything more clearly — life and love and sorrow. The second, and even more important one, was “My Sweet Orange Tree” by Jose Mauro De Vasconcelos, a lyrical book about a highly imaginative little boy. I read that book maybe a hundred times by the time I was thirteen. It changed me and made me want to write, and to live.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

As a child, and later on as a young adult, I was a very shy and isolated kid. It was not the kind of isolation that I now enjoy and take solace in as an adult, but a kind of torment, a prison. I was socially anxious, and extremely sensitive in the outside world. The only medium through which I could express myself was writing — for I was expressive, although introverted, and the contradiction bothered me very much. Creative writing released me from the prison of my anxiety, and showed me not only a way out, but a whole new world with endless possibilities.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

I have never been an adventurous person, sadly, although I have tried. I have been living in books since I can remember, and not surprisingly, my most thrilling experience is related to books and writing: when I was twelve, inspired by an interview I had read with a YA author, I decided to write a novel. It was a very bold move; I had only written very short stories and poems before. The idea of the novel came to me when I saw an antique store, and was fascinated by the ancient-looking clocks. The novel was about time travel, of course, and I was in a haze for almost a month, filling an entire notebook and then another one. It was an amazing experience, not only the writing itself, but the journey in time, putting the pieces of the puzzle together. It was so fun.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

I have gone through many stages regarding writing and music. At first I was not very fond of it, at least while writing, until I discovered indie music. Then the only thing that could inspire the words in my head was music. Classical, Indie, Rock – all of them. Now I have found a balance, I guess. Sometimes I need silence and sometimes I need music that fits the scene I am writing. It is often a very enjoyable experience creating a playlist that aligns perfectly with the story. White noise and video game soundtracks are also amazing for writing certain scenes.


Short Story
Issue Fall '20

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz