Pots and Pens: Writing, Pottery, and Yoga Retreat in the Himalayas

I am super excited to be co-facilitating this writing, pottery, and yoga workshop, set in the midst of apple and cherry orchards in Himachal, from 28 September – 2 October 2017. Forest walks, gorgeous views, and farm fresh organic food are all on the agenda. We will balance our long weekend in the mountains between writing sessions, yoga classes, pottery workshops, hikes, picnics, and delicious farm-grown meals.

Typically, we will begin the day with a yoga class, read, discuss writing craft, and read to each other for 2-3 hours in the late mornings, then come back together in the evenings to write some more. October is one of the most beautiful times of the year to be at Shilaroo, with perfect weather and gorgeous views of the Churdhar range, so we kept one day for taking you into the forest (hiking or by jeep, whichever you prefer) and writing in response to nature. The remaining afternoons will be open for you to spend how you choose between pottery classes, walks in the forest nearby, farm-work, or simply relaxed day-dreaming.

To read more, or to register, click here

 

A Feminist Guide to Illness

As many of you may know, I have a couple of illnesses that have been part of how I move through the world for decades, and I finally got around to writing coherently about them for the Hindu Business Line. This is a long read, but in some very real ways, I have been writing this essay for years, and this is the best I could do by way of succinct! It's one of the scariest pieces of writing I have put out there so far, but it is also incredibly gratifying to finally have been able to articulate how these different threads of my mind, heart, and my body come together.

Do have a read here

Exercising the Empathic Muscle -- Artfully

"We will only “get” others emotionally to the degree that we become comfortable with emotion itself, something that our classrooms in general do not prepare us for. As art teachers, we must create spaces safe enough for students to express all of themselves, including their most vulnerable stories and feelings... In that mix of information and experience, feeling and body, context and care, a new possibility of empathy is born."

I wrote an article for Teacher Plus a while ago about Tasawwur and about how the arts can foster empathy... then I forgot all about it! When it showed up in my mailbox today, I remembered I should share it with you all

Here you go!

Selection for the Akademie Schloss Solitude Residency

This just showed up in my inbox: "Dear Ms. Rao: We are pleased to inform you herewith officially that you have been chosen for a six months fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude by our juror for international literature, Ms Ahdaf Soueif. The fellowship includes a furnished studio apartment free of charge, a monthly grant, round-trip travel expenses, material costs and project funding."

In other words, I just received an offer to spend six months of next year writing and living and daydreaming at a wonderful artist residency located on the grounds of an eighteenth century Baroque style castle in Germany. Very excited to see what kind of writing and being comes out of this incredible opportunity, and very grateful to everyone involved in this selection process

More on the residency here

New Poems by Akhil Katyal and Aditi Rao: Reading on 7th April

I'm super excited to be reading new poems alongside one of my favorite poets and people. After 2 1/2 years and at least five cities of poeming together, this is the first time Akhil Katyal and I are doing an event together, and we would love for you to come listen.

7 PM, on 7th April, at Hearken cafe, a lovely space run by hearing impaired folks in Shahpur Jat. Come for the poems, stay for the food, and don't forget to say hello afterwards 

There is no charge, but we will be putting out a donation box to support Hearken. More details can be found at the Facebook event here

Speaking at "Culture Creators of Change" Panel

Just to let you all know that my poet self and my social entrepreneur self will be meeting each other on Friday, 9th November, at the Anandini Tea Room in Shahpur Jat for a panel entitled "Culture Creators of Change." According to the organisers, Bitgiving and Ashoka Fellowship, "the conversation will be structured around how various mediums of popular culture - art, books, movies, spoken word, storytelling, music, theatre, art, etc. - can be/are really effective tools for shifting mindsets, changing behaviours, and even influencing policy towards the greater good."

If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, here is a link to the Facebook event!

"Sold on Poetry" in the Hindu Businessline

The Hindu Businessline just did a lovely piece on contemporary Indian English poetry, and I'm honoured that my work finds space in it:

What is most impressive about The Fingers Remember is that it never confuses sentimentality with true-blue emotion. Rao is a seasoned traveller who knows that wide-eyed, unfettered dreamscapes hit home all the better when balanced with strategic infusions of hard-nosed pragmatism. At the end of the poem ‘Not being a man, I bleed like this’, she says,

“On the highway, sitting ghoda-taang on the motorcycle/ behind the man I love — no one to notice. Closer/ to the village, side saddle. A woman you can trust/ to educate your daughters. I will live in between.”

On the eve of the book’s release, Rao’s publisher, Arpita Das (founder of Yoda Press), described the discovery of this rising star: “Aditi sent us her manuscript early in 2013. I remember I was on the verge of taking that final decision about closing Yodakin (my bookstore) and was down in the dumps, and happened to unwrap this magical manuscript, which lifted my spirits immediately. Her poetry is haunting, imbued by such a deep sense of loss and anguish (and you just know that she has felt every bit of it) — and yet so reassuring, just to know that such anguish is felt by others and can be so exquisitely expressed.”

Read the full article here