Oct
9
to Oct 12

Craft and Courage: A Writing Camp in the Himalayas

I’m beyond excited to bring to life this workshop that I feel I have been working towards for years, bringing together my experiences in teaching the craft of writing and my years in the development sector, thinking about how the arts can be part of healing, community, and transformation.


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This unique writing retreat, set in a campsite on a mountain peak in the Himalayas, seeks a balance between focusing on the craft of writing and honouring writing as a practice of honesty and courage.

Every morning, you will spend a few hours closely reading texts, learning new tools to sharpen your writing, and writing in response to structured exercises aimed at improving craft. Every evening, our Sunset Writing Circles will push you differently, asking you to be brave in your writing, to risk vulnerability, to write and to share from your whole, honest heart. These evening sessions take place at the highest point in camp, which boasts a 360 degree view of valleys, mountains, and on clear days, the distant snow peak; here, we write by sunset, share by candlelight, and let the Himalayas reassure us of something older and more solid than any anxieties we might bring to the table! In between, there will be walks, open time to yourself, a picnic in an apple orchard, traditional Himachali food and music, and stunning night skies.

Our goal is for you to leave the camp not only as a more proficient writer but also as a braver writer, held and nourished by a safe community of friends and writing companions.


“The original definition of courage was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart” - Brene Brown


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Camp Nomad, Fagu

is located along the Old Hindustan Tibet Road (NH 22), about an hour’s drive from Shimla. The camp spans 2 acres and is the perfect balance between wilderness and comfort, boasting of both basic and luxury tents, running water, hundreds of wildflowers, stunning night skies, and a 360 degree view from the highest point. 


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Costs

  • Luxury Tents, with British Campaign Style furniture and private bathroom, on Twin Sharing Basis: Rs. 20,000 

  • Basic Tents, with sleeping bags and shared bathrooms, on Twin Sharing Basis: Rs. 16,000

  • Luxury Tents, with British Campaign Style furniture and private bathroom, on Single Occupancy: Rs. 26,000

This cost excludes:

  • Travel to Shimla from participants’ respective cities

  • Additional food, alcohol etc.

  • Insurance

  • Other Personal Expenses

This cost includes:

  • 6 Writing workshop sessions spread out over 4 days

  • Accommodation (as chosen above)

  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 rounds of chai and snacks each day from 11 AM on 9th October to 4 PM on 12th October

  • Pick up and drop off to Camp Nomad from Shimla

  • Field trip with picnic in a nearby apple orchard

  • Optional Guided Mountain Walks each morning

  • Special local Himachali dinner one night

  • Live Music and Bonfire on closing night

  • Basic first aid and stationery


Cancellation Policy

In order to hold your seat for the workshop, we will require the full payment in advance. In case you need to cancel for some reason, the following policy will apply:

By 8th September: 50% refund
9th - 15th September: 25% refund
After 15th September: No refunds, but if you can find someone else to take your seat, you may transfer it and arrange the payment with them directly


Schedule

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9 October

11:00 - 12:00 : Amit from Camp Nomad will coordinate with you to organise pick-ups from Shimla based on your arrival times or hotel locations and bring you to Camp, about 45 minutes out of town. 

12:00 - 1:30: Once everyone has been shown to their tents, we gather as a large group to introduce ourselves, walk you through the camp space, and go over the schedule for the upcoming days. Before we break for lunch, we will also generate a list of first agreements — a set of principles that will guide our time together and help create and sustain a space that is simultaneously safe, challenging, and nurturing for everyone.  

1:30 - 3:30: We will take a long lunch on the first day so as to give you all time to recover from your journeys, take a nap, chat with your fellow-participants, or go for a walk in the mountains 

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3:30 - 5:00: In the afternoon, we will gather for a few introductory games, followed by our first writing exercise together, aimed at setting the tone for our time together and breaking out of writers’ block (if you believe in such a thing!).

5:00 - 5:30: Chai Break

5:30 - 8:00: We meet again after chai for our first Sunset Writing Circle. We begin with a personal writing and reflection exercise, then move to a story sharing session, where each person gets the time to share themselves more deeply with the group, where we are all able to see and feel deeply seen. 

8:00: We end the day with dinner and a bonfire, leaving you to have an early night or to stay up late watching the stars. 

10 October

7:00 - 8:00: Enjoy your morning tea with spectacular valley views— if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, wake up a bit earlier and watch sunrise from the peak. 

8:00 - 9:00: If you’d like to stretch your limbs a little, join Amit for a guided walk through the nearby orchards and villages. We will take a different route each day, and the walks will never be particularly strenuous, just opportunities to start your day with fresh air and a little exercise. 

9:00-10:30: Return from your walk to a hot breakfast and a little time to catch your breath and prepare for your day. 

10:30 - 1:00: The group will gather in the Writing Corner for the first Craft of Writing Session. Each of these sessions will focus on a different element of the Craft of Writing, cutting across genres and styles; typically we will discuss craft through a short reading, then write together in response to a prompt and share our writing with each other.

1:00 - 4:30: Enjoy a leisurely lunch, followed by an open afternoon to write, read, explore the area, or get some rest. There will always be a bowl of writing prompts for you to use in your off-time if you would like. 

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4:30 - 5:00: Chai Break

5:00 - 7:30: Our second Sunset Writing Circle pushes us a bit further than on the first day, asking us to continue risking bravery and honesty in our words, and challenging us to begin to read this raw, vulnerable writing to each other. 

8:00: Enjoy a traditional Himachali meal, cooked by our wonderful guest chefs from the nearby village of Theog. 

11th October

7:00 - 8:00: Enjoy your morning tea with spectacular valley views— if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, wake up a bit earlier and watch sunrise from the peak. 

8:00 - 9:00: If you’d like to stretch your limbs a little, join Amit for a guided walk through the nearby orchards and villages. We will take a different route each day, and the walks will never be particularly strenuous, just opportunities to start your day with fresh air and a little exercise. 

9:00-10:30: Return from your walk to a hot breakfast and a little time to catch your breath and prepare for your day. 

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10:30 - 11:30: At 10:30, we leave camp together to drive to an apple orchard in Kothari, about an hour away, where we will conduct the day’s session. 

11:30 - 1:30: Today’s Craft Session will draw upon the beautiful surroundings of the apple orchard, bringing nature, presence, and the use of all of our senses into the writing we do together. 

1:30 - 3:30: Enjoy a picnic lunch by a waterfall in the orchard, followed by open time to continue writing, go for a walk, or take a nap in the sun!

3:30 - 5:30: We return to camp and take some time to catch our breaths, get a bit of rest if we need it, and have a cup of tea. 

5:30 - 7:30: We gather at the peak for our final Sunset Writing Circle and attempt a deep dive into brave, honest story, challenging ourselves not only in our personal writing but also in our group’s ability to create space for the liveliest as well as the most vulnerable of our stories. 

8:00: For our last dinner together, we enjoy a bonfire with live music by Vinod Katoch, a wonderful musician from Lahaul, Spiti, who plays in cafes in Shimla. As always, you are free to retire early for the night or stay up late stargazing (did we mention that, on a clear night, you can see the entire Milky Way from the camp?)

12th October

7:00 - 8:00: Enjoy our last morning together with tea and spectacular valley views— and if you haven’t yet woken up for the sunrise, today would be a good day to do so!

8:00 - 9:00: Join Amit for one more walk through the nearby orchards and villages, taking in the fresh air and saying your “see you later”s to the mountains. 

9:00-10:30: Come back from your walk to a hot breakfast and time to catch your breath, maybe to pack your things. 

10:30 - 1:00: We will meet at 10:30 for our final craft workshop, making sure to read, talk, and write, and leaving you with ideas for next steps in your writing once you leave camp. 

1:00 - 2:30: Enjoy lunch with valley views, pack your things, take a short walk if you would like to, or just soak in the views and the conversations. 

2:30 - 3:30: We meet at 2:30 for a closing circle, during which we throw a ball of twine around the room, thank each other, and close our time together with hugs and photographs. 

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3:30-4:30: We share one last cup of tea, hug each other again, and begin our journeys back to Shimla in time to catch the toy-train or the overnight Volvos. In case you would like to stay another night in Shimla before heading home, do speak to Amit beforehand: he has a bed-and-breakfast on Forest Road and would be happy to host you for another night if you book in advance. 


Trip Disclaimer

  • We will have a basic first aid kit at camp, as well as a nursing assistant on standby for medical emergencies. However, if you have any known medical conditions or allergies, please carry your medication with you as there are no chemists in the immediate vicinity of Camp Nomad. Further, in case any participant requires medical attention beyond what can be provided at Camp, we will help organise transport to the nearest hospital. All extra medical and transportation expenses will be borne by the participant.

  • On the off chance that circumstances beyond our control, including but not limited to riots, political unrest, natural or other disaster, nuclear incident, terrorist activity, etc.. cause us to cancel the trip, we will be unable to provide a refund. 

  • In keeping with travelling sustainably, please minimise plastic use and ensure you do not litter in the natural areas. 

  • If for any reason you have to leave the trip early, you will not be entitled to a refund. We will not be liable for any expenses incurred to you as a result. However we will do our best to help make all arrangements for you to return to Shimla or your final destination at the earliest. 

  • If the behaviour of any participant is likely to cause distress or harm to themselves, our staff or other team members, we reserve the right to terminate their trip at any time and they will have to make their own arrangements; we will not be liable for any expenses incurred as a result.


To register, send me an email, or contact me through the tab in the header. Registrations close on 22nd September, but we only have 12 spots, so the sooner we hear from you, the better your chances of getting one of them :)

View Event →
Jul
13
4:00 PM16:00

New Writing Workshop Begins 13th July

When: Saturdays, 4:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Where: Neeti Bagh (near Green Park metro)

How long: 10 weekends, 13 July-21 September, no class on 24 August

How many: 12-15 participants

How much: Rs. 12,000 per participant (but I’m open to fee reduction on a case-by-case basis. Talk to me if you can’t afford this)

Prerequisites: Basic fluency in English

Age: 15 and over

This creative writing workshop is about you and your writing goals. There is no set genre. There is no set theme. There is no set destination. There is simply you, what you want to do, and where you want to go with your words. 

Each week, we will do some open-ended writing and some structured writing exercises, read to one another, and review manuscripts. You will always be encouraged to do the day’s exercise, but you will also always be free to write on a different theme. You will always be invited to share, but you will never be forced. 

Whether you are looking to improve your craft, reconnect with an old hobby, find inspiration, receive feedback from a community of writers, prepare for publication, get into a writing discipline, or simply to have a place to pause amidst the noise of your week, my goal is to create a safe and fun space for you to write, share, and grow. 

To register, please contact me here or via email with a few lines about why this workshop would be a good fit for you.

Once I confirm your seat, you will be asked to pay the workshop fee in advance to hold your seat— the fee is nonrefundable because I will then turn away others who wanted the seat, so please be sure to confirm before you make a payment.

There is no official cut-off date for registration, but the workshop tends to fill up fast, so the sooner you email me, the better your chances of getting in.


Frequently Asked Questions

I am not really a writer. Can I still join?

A writer is someone who writes. Write with us. Voila: You are a writer. 

What if I write in a language other than English?

Once a writing exercise has been handed out, you are free to write in your language of comfort. However, although I do read Hindi and Spanish, English is my main medium of instruction (only because it is the language I am currently most comfortable writing and teaching in), so you may receive less helpful feedback on work in another language. For manuscript review, the group will decide whether we feel able to work with a manuscript in a particular language. 

Will my writing be critiqued?

Yes, but only when you choose. We never critique responses to in-class writing exercises because that writing is too raw. Once you have had a chance to revise and type up your manuscript, you may choose to submit it for review by the group. The typical process for this is: the author hands out copies of the manuscript to everyone in the room the previous week, group members read and make notes over the week, and we spend the last 1 - 1 1/2 hours of workshop offering feedback on 2 manuscripts per week. I will also give you a letter of feedback on manuscripts you submit, and you are welcome to set up a private conference with me if you want to discuss issues in your writing that you are unable to do in a group setting. 

What if I choose not to submit work for critique?

That’s fine. You will still grow as a writer through the exercises we do together and through reading your work out loud. When someone hears your story and tells you theirs in response, you will know what helped them connect. When your words make someone laugh or cry, you will know what works. Similarly, as you begin to identify what you love, connect with, or don’t understand about your peers’ work, that knowledge will begin to inform your own writing. Learning doesn’t have to happen through targeted critique, although that is often helpful as you grow. 

Why do you want me to commit for 10 weeks?

Becoming a better writer is a process that takes time, commitment, and discipline; past experiences seem to suggest that ten weeks is a good length of time for writers to be able to see real gains in the quality and ease of their writing. Also, sharing early writing involves risks, and it takes time to build a safe and supportive community in which you can take those risks. You will find yourself able to write more openly as the weeks go by, and our 10 week commitment to our craft and to one another will become part of your growth as a writer. 

Will you teach craft?

Yes, but perhaps not in the traditional sense of the word “teach.” I work hard to limit the amount of time I spend lecturing in front of a whiteboard, and I do not believe in Powerpoint. However, throughout the process fo writing new material and as we review manuscripts, I will point out and explain craft elements of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. We will also periodically read together for craft or discuss a craft essay I post to our workshop group. You are also always welcome to ask craft-specific questions, and I will do my best to answer them in the same session, or to find you an answer by the next one. 

I have been writing for many years. Do you also teach an advanced class?

This workshop is intended to cut across experience and skill levels because I have found that everyone learns more rapidly in a mixed group. Several participants return for a second or third round of workshop, and the exercises are designed to be useful wherever you are in your writing journey (I do every exercise and continue to generate much of my own writing there, and previous workshops have included everyone from high school students to published writers in the same group). Similarly, regardless of your skill level, the process of manuscript critique will help you hone your ability to look critically at your writing. And of course, I will be around to address concerns that you feel have not been addressed by the group. 

Can you help me get published?

I can help you become a better writer and editor of your work, which is, of course, a big part of getting published. I am also happy to point you to publishing opportunities that I know of, or to connect you with people I know. I do not, however, have contacts with literary agencies or within the publishing industry.

Is there anything else I should know?

I have a dog and a cat, both of whom are very affectionate and fond of sitting in on my writing workshop (the dog in particular will throw herself against the door for three straight hours if I try locking her out!). They are nice to people, distract only occasionally, and generally function as comic relief. However, in case you are allergic to one or the other, or if this is otherwise a deal-breaker for you, then this isn’t the workshop for you. I apologise, but it’s their home too, and I simply cannot justify locking them out of it week after week!

But really, I am not a writer...

I don’t believe you. Come join us. You’ll be surprised. 

View Event →
Mar
9
to May 11

New Creative Writing Workshop Begins 9th March

Many of you have been asking about the first workshop of 2019. I apologise for the delay; I was away recovering from a corneal transplant. But here we go now!

When: Saturdays, 4:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Where: Neeti Bagh (near Green Park metro)

How long: 10 weekends, 9 March - 11 May

How many: 12 participants

How much: Rs. 12,000 per participant (but I’m open to fee reduction on a case-by-case basis. Talk to me if you can’t afford this)

Prerequisites: Basic fluency in English

Age: 15 and over

This creative writing workshop is about you and your writing goals. There is no set genre. There is no set theme. There is no set destination. There is simply you, what you want to do, and where you want to go with your words. 

Each week, we will do some open-ended writing and some structured writing exercises, read to one another, and review manuscripts. You will always be encouraged to do the day’s exercise, but you will also always be free to write on a different theme. You will always be invited to share, but you will never be forced. 

Whether you are looking to improve your craft, reconnect with an old hobby, find inspiration, receive feedback from a community of writers, prepare for publication, get into a writing discipline, or simply to have a place to pause amidst the noise of your week, my goal is to create a safe and fun space for you to write, share, and grow. 

To register, please contact me here or via email with a few lines about why this workshop would be a good fit for you.

Once I confirm your seat, you will be asked to pay the workshop fee in advance to hold your seat. I can do a 50% refund on cancellations before 2nd March, but after that, the fee will become non-refundable as I will have turned away waiting list participants at that point.

I will close registrations on or before 28th February.


Frequently Asked Questions

I am not really a writer. Can I still join?

A writer is someone who writes. Write with us. Voila: You are a writer. 

What if I write in a language other than English?

Once a writing exercise has been handed out, you are free to write in your language of comfort. However, although I do read Hindi and Spanish, English is my main medium of instruction (only because it is the language I am currently most comfortable writing and teaching in), so you may receive less helpful feedback on work in another language. For manuscript review, the group will decide whether we feel able to work with a manuscript in a particular language. 

Will my writing be critiqued?

Yes, but only when you choose. We never critique responses to in-class writing exercises because that writing is too raw. Once you have had a chance to revise and type up your manuscript, you may choose to submit it for review by the group. The typical process for this is: the author hands out copies of the manuscript to everyone in the room the previous week, group members read and make notes over the week, and we spend the last 1 - 1 1/2 hours of workshop offering feedback on 2 manuscripts per week. I will also give you a letter of feedback on manuscripts you submit, and you are welcome to set up a private conference with me if you want to discuss issues in your writing that you are unable to do in a group setting. 

What if I choose not to submit work for critique?

That’s fine. You will still grow as a writer through the exercises we do together and through reading your work out loud. When someone hears your story and tells you theirs in response, you will know what helped them connect. When your words make someone laugh or cry, you will know what works. Similarly, as you begin to identify what you love, connect with, or don’t understand about your peers’ work, that knowledge will begin to inform your own writing. Learning doesn’t have to happen through targeted critique, although that is often helpful as you grow. 

Why do you want me to commit for 10 weeks?

Becoming a better writer is a process that takes time, commitment, and discipline; past experiences seem to suggest that ten weeks is a good length of time for writers to be able to see real gains in the quality and ease of their writing. Also, sharing early writing involves risks, and it takes time to build a safe and supportive community in which you can take those risks. You will find yourself able to write more openly as the weeks go by, and our 10 week commitment to our craft and to one another will become part of your growth as a writer. 

Will you teach craft?

Yes, but perhaps not in the traditional sense of the word “teach.” I work hard to limit the amount of time I spend lecturing in front of a whiteboard, and I do not believe in Powerpoint. However, throughout the process fo writing new material and as we review manuscripts, I will point out and explain craft elements of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. We will also periodically read together for craft or discuss a craft essay I post to our workshop group. You are also always welcome to ask craft-specific questions, and I will do my best to answer them in the same session, or to find you an answer by the next one. 

I have been writing for many years. Do you also teach an advanced class?

This workshop is intended to cut across experience and skill levels because I have found that everyone learns more rapidly in a mixed group. Several participants return for a second or third round of workshop, and the exercises are designed to be useful wherever you are in your writing journey (I do every exercise and continue to generate much of my own writing there, and previous workshops have included everyone from high school students to published writers in the same group). Similarly, regardless of your skill level, the process of manuscript critique will help you hone your ability to look critically at your writing. And of course, I will be around to address concerns that you feel have not been addressed by the group. 

Can you help me get published?

I can help you become a better writer and editor of your work, which is, of course, a big part of getting published. I am also happy to point you to publishing opportunities that I know of, or to connect you with people I know. I do not, however, have contacts with literary agencies or within the publishing industry.

Is there anything else I should know?

I have a dog and a cat, both of whom are very affectionate and fond of sitting in on my writing workshop (the dog in particular will throw herself against the door for three straight hours if I try locking her out!). They are nice to people, distract only occasionally, and generally function as comic relief. However, in case you are allergic to one or the other, or if this is otherwise a deal-breaker for you, then this isn’t the workshop for you. I apologise, but it’s their home too, and I simply cannot justify locking them out of it week after week!

But really, I am not a writer...

I don’t believe you. Come join us. You’ll be surprised. 

View Event →
Dec
7
to Dec 9

HappyMess Pottery at CeramicsFest 2018

Peoples! I’m super excited to announce my first ever pottery market — and the launch of my Ceramics brand, HappyMess!

I am selling handmade mugs, spoons, coffee pourovers, and tea infusers, amongst some eighty other potters selling everything you can imagine in clay. Do stop by one of these days?

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View Event →