Many people visit us. Some people simply come to stay and write. Others come to participate in events and learn. Either way, they write and publish books. The list below is alphabetical.
"When I enrolled for HWR, I had a fair idea of "Why and What" to write. At the Himalayan Writing Retreat I learnt the "How, When and Where" . I learnt about writing, finishing and publishing a book.
In simple words, I had arrived with the soul of my book. The retreat helped me create it's body. "
Amit and Madhulika both participated in the monsoon writing bootcamp in 2017. Amit worked seriously on his book for two full years and finally published "The Burnt Out Rat". Madhulika found the inspiration here to finish her long pending book of poetry the very same year (details below). This picture was taken during the workshop as we visited a nearby social enterprise which sells products made by the village folk. Amit is on the extreme left while Madhulika is third from left. You can buy Amit's book here.
"Mr Chetan Mahajan, published author and founder of the Himalayan Writing Retreat held an online workshop in April 2020 that allowed me to introspect on my writings and sharpen the messages being conveyed through my novel. Also, it was the first forum where I got to discuss my project in detail. the discussions that unfolded in the course of the workshop were insightful and I thank the institution and its founder for the wonderful experience. "
- From the acknowledgements in "The Tailender".
Anirudh Naveen is an impressive budding talent. He attended the Online Writing workshop conducted by the Himalayan Writing Retreat, and published "The Tailender" soon after. He was seventeen at the time, and this is his second full-length book. You can buy Anirudh's book here.
Elizabeth Decker spent five weeks at our retreat - mostly locked away in her room working diligently. The outcome was "Wrap me up in an Indian Quilt" (Chaitown Creatives) - a unique, beautiful weave of words which connects deeply with India and its traditional arts.
Elizabeth gifted us a copy of her book inside which she wrote: "To the wonderful Mahajan family. Grateful to have shared your home. Your ears were the first to hear all these words. My love, Beth. "
" The pressure eased off when I reached the mountains. As I ceased to force my creative gene, words flowed in the fresh mountain air. Nestled beneath towering peaks, Chetan and Vandita, founders and hosts, embrace invited folks with practiced ease. They let you be, yet don't fail to prod those hibernating cells, whose time has come. Mine clearly had.
Language erupted and stories morphed into living beings, icebergs, half-hidden from one's vision. This unleashing, as it were, stayed with me well after I returned to the plains.
A marvelous experience, and am impatient to get back there. The quietude offered, willy nilly, is that place, where I hear what I need to, and tune in to listen.
My first novel was completed soon thereafter, and is about to go into publication this coming month. Thank you HWR!"
(You can order Kamalini's book on Amazon here .)
"I've always wanted to write a book and never had. Three years ago, having just completed a solo motorbike crossing of Canada, I attended the first Himalayan Writing Retreat. Two weeks later, I started writing and four months later had completed the draft of my first book. A year later, I completed the draft of a second book and am now agonising over struggling to find the time to write a third book. I now have two books to edit and one to write. I blame the Himlayan Writing Retreat for all this, for making me fulfill my dreams and leaving me feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of the task ahead. Thank-you to the Himalayan Writing Retreat for getting me going on my writing journey. But the moral of the story is; 'be careful what you wish for' !"
Matthew Wheelock was part of the first writing workshop in October 2016. He is on the extreme left in the above picture.
“The HWR is the best possible place to write a book or get initiated into the craft of writing one. Unfortunately for me, I discovered the HWR after I had finished my book. Even then, attending the workshop opened my eyes to the various aspects of book writing that I wasn’t aware of. Also, I got valuable inputs from Chetan as well as some of the participants on my book that were incorporated in the book that is now released. I believe the book has become that much better from the inputs. I would whole heartedly recommend HWR for all writers and aspiring writers. For those who are looking to write, it will come as a first major step towards becoming a good writer. For those who have written in the past, it is a wonderful finishing school. Chetan Mahajan, apart from being a great coach, is also a wonderful and gracious host. This combination makes HWR special.”
You can order Mehool's book on Amazon here.
"I am really thankful that I attended this retreat. Not only for what it taught me or led me to uncover in myself but for the sheer determination to go and get my book published. It had been on a back burner for decades and it was the goals pledge at the end of our workshop which made me determined enough to honor the pledge made to Chetan, his team and my fellow retreat mates. I found not only mentors, but also friends at HWR."
You can order her book on Amazon here.
"I love Stories. I love them so much, I don't see people walking around me; I see Stories. I love crafting Stories. But it's an exhausting one-sided love affair. Stories don't love me back with the same ardour. They come reluctantly, have to be cajoled, bit by bit, then enticed to stay long enough for me to get them down on paper.
Even then it's a struggle. Some stay, some don't. Some gestate for a long time, some birth quickly.
There was this one story in Hindi which I'd been carrying for five years. Some of it was on paper, the rest in my mind. But somewhere along the way, it stopped speaking. Try as I might, I could neither move ahead, nor move on. What was supposed to be my piece de resistance became a thorn in my side.
I knew I needed a magic wand. The Himalayan Writing Retreat was that wand. Even though my novel was in Hindi, and the workshop was in English, I gained much more than I expected. The workshop offered insight into the craft of storytelling. The finer points of character. The importance of atmosphere as backdrop. All these and many other fine details helped me understand what makes a story unforgettable. Right from getting the first word down all the way to seeing our books in print, he guided us through the entire process. Of course, the Himalayas became as much an aspirational metaphor as did the lifestyle of the mentor! At the workshop, I discussed my plot, characters, the flow of narrative and the denouement. Chetan helped me to flesh it out, my fellow 'retreaters' gave feedback, and my story started speaking to me once again. I came back with renewed vigour, and completed my novel in 5 months!
I recommend this retreat to all writers, whether aspiring and struggling, or seasoned and established. I'm definitely going back. Again and again."
Shabnam is a gifted Hindi writer who participated in the Himalayan Writing Bootcamp in Feb 2019. Here she is basking in the winter sun with some of her fellow participants. She is third from right in the picture above.
We share the achievements of these authors with gratitude & a little pride. They've done the work, and we are grateful that they chose the Himalayan Writing Retreat to be part of their journey.