Creative Writing Across Genres

My primary workshop offering, a Weekend Creative Writing Workshop that I have hosted in New Delhi since 2012, cuts across genres and skill levels, balancing craft and community, for a unique workshop experience. 

Aditi Rao’s weekly writing workshop changed my relationship with writing. Every Sunday afternoon, for months, I wrote in her home with a few others in a large, comfortable room full of furniture, carpets, books, tea, and cake. We read Akhmatova’s myth poems, Jack Gilbert’s Michiko poems, Czesław Miłosz. Writing in her home established for me something I hadn’t realised held true for me: I thrive in homes rather than classrooms, in community rather in isolation, in supportive environs rather than competitive ones. The smell of milky coffee and brownies still brings back memories of those afternoons where I first learned how important it is to have a community of writers in the place one lives.
— Urvashi Bahuguna, author of Mudscope (The Great Indian Poetry Collective, 2018) and No Straight Thing Was Ever Made (Penguin, 2019)

Every weekend, the group (lawyers, journalists, academics, architects, graphic designers, NGO professionals, students, psychologists, homemakers, and so many more!) gathers for 3 1/2 hours of writing, reading, critiquing and conversation over coffee and homemade brownies. So far, my youngest participant has been 14, and my oldest well into their 60s. 

Each week, we play some writing games, do some open-ended writing and some structured writing exercises, read to one another, and review manuscripts. Participants are always encouraged to do the day’s exercise, but they are also always free to write on a different theme. They are always invited to share, but they are never forced. The structure and style of this workshop is informed by the work of Cassandra Medley (The Writer’s Gym), Pat Schneider (the Amherst Writers and Artists Method),Peter Elbow (Writing With Power) and Liz Lerman‘s critique process. 

At the core of my pedagogy is a deep belief in, and respect for, the artistic journey and goals of each individual in the workshop, including those who do not yet consider themselves artists. At the same time, the creation of a safe, strong, and vibrant community of writers is an important priority — for many writers, having such a community where one can be heard proves to be a crucial part of learning to tell the stories they want to tell. Craft is taught in every session of the workshop, but more often through the feedback process than in a lecture format. All of this adds up to a flexible workshop that each participant can tailor to their own needs and goals; indeed, several people have come back to the workshop year after year, each time with different goals. 

The total cost for the 10 weeks of workshop is Rs. 12,000/- per person, although I am open to fee reductions based on financial need-- feel free to write to me if that would make it more possible for you to attend the workshop.

Because I deeply value the community we build over our weeks together, I do not allow participants to sign up mid-session; whenever new workshops are being offered, they will be advertised on the mailing list, which you can sign up for below. 

From time to time, I also organise intensive writing retreats. In groups of 6-8, we get out of the city for 4-5 days, write in nature, go for long walks, read to each other around fires, and sometimes combine these with other activities like pottery, yoga, hiking, etc. These will also be advertised not he mailing list linked to in the footer of this page -- use that to stay in the loop!


Individual
Coaching

I offer personal sessions for individuals working on specific writing tasks, such as personal statements for college applications, blog posts for work, or support with longer academic projects (emphatic disclaimer: I coach. I do not write your personal statements for you -- please don't get in touch requesting that kind of plagiarism). Coaching sessions will largely happen online, and we will work out the best methodologies -- for example, at what stage a video call will help and when it's better for me to give written feedback -- based on the writing task. Get in touch for more details. 

Research
Writing

I have taught research and academic writing, both one on one and in workshop settings, for over a decade, to audiences ranging from undergraduate students and PhD scholars to professionals and post-doctoral candidates. I have created and executed customised workshops for institutions such as Delhi University, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and Global Health Strategies (GHS), and I would be happy to work with you or your organisation to create a learning program that meets your specific needs. Email me if you would like to explore this. 

Commissioned
Writing

I take on commissioned writing and editing projects from time to time, depending on workshops schedules and other commitments. I am particularly well versed with the kind of writing required by the development and education sectors, but I am open to different types of projects, including ones that require travel. I am not, at the moment, in a position to take on ghost writing for book-length manuscripts; everything short of that, I will consider! Please get in touch through the "Contact Me" page if you would like to explore working together. 


Aditi gave me very useful feedback on my personal statement for the Fullbright-Nehru Fellowship and also on my script for a TEDx talk. What I appreciate most about her approach is that she never imposes her ideas or style of writing on you, but rather encourages you to bring out your own voice in your own style. Also, she strongly believes that everyone is a writer, and that is very encouraging!
— Swati Sahni, Fullbright Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education


Youth Development and Peace Education

Through your workshops, I’ve started to believe that change can come, and it will come from us. I’ve started hoping. These 4 months were probably one of the best phases of my life. They were literally life changing. Thank you for the fun, the serious talks, the light activities, the intense discussions, everything. Thank you for all the times you’ve held us together through the tough times. I’m going to miss this space.
— Muskaan Bose, 16 years

I have worked in the Youth Development and Peace Education sectors, including with Pravah, the Gandhi Fellowship, The Possibility Project (New York), Student Press Initiative (Columbia Teachers College, New York), and SEDEPAC (Mexico), and CONTACT-South Asia, a peacebuilding program offered in Kathmandu by the School of International Training (Vermont).  

In 2014, I founded Tasawwur, an arts-for-social-change program working with diverse groups of teenagers in New Delhi, for which I won the ChangeLooms With.in Fellowship 2014 and the World Learning Advancing Leaders Fellowship 2016. At Tasawwur, my team of theatre professionals, movement therapists, musicians, and writers developed an intensive 100 hour curriculum for engaging teenagers on issues around gender, caste, communalism and disability through the literary and performing arts. 

I used to bother girls at school and thought it was fun. But when I came to these workshops and heard girls talk about what they go through every time a boy teases them, I decided to stop right away. I even stop other boys in my class from behaving this way.
— Shrikant Patel, 15 years

I would love to share what I learned over this decade of working intensively with diverse groups of teenagers with you or your organisation -- the challenges the face, but also the creative solutions they find. I am open to freelance work in both, curriculum development and facilitation, especially working with teenagers or adults who work with teenagers, on issues of social inclusion and justice. I am particularly interested and experienced in using the arts, particularly theatre and creative writing, to facilitate difficult conversations around social justice and create platforms for understanding, expression, and change. Please get in touch through the "Contact Me" page if you would like to explore collaborative possibilities or simply have a short term project you'd like help developing.