Masterclass with Manjula Padmanabhan

In this workshop, you work with Manjula Padmanabhan to discover your own stories. Manjula is an author, cartoonist and award-winning playwright. You can check out her wikipedia profile here. Although highly accomplished, Manjula is a great teacher and a very approachable person. Chetan Mahajan will support her. The workshop is a set of structured activities – both solo and group – which encourage you to examine your stories and learn from the stories of others. Below are a few examples of Manjula’s work. You can also check out her comic series online here.
This is an interactive workshop to help would-be writers find stories from their own lives that are interesting and read-worthy. Our underlying belief is that everyone has a story – or many stories – but most people do not know how to disengage those narratives from themselves. Over three days you will work to discover your own stories. 

“Teaching” is something we avoid. Instead, this workshop is a type of guided game-playing, including a little reading-out-loud, a little performance and a lot of writing. Through all these, everyone learns things about themselves including, but not limited to, writing a coherent, well-formed story. The goal of the workshop is for everyone to come away with the foundation for a complete story, to discover themselves and to fine-tune their writing-process.

Does this Masterclass seem a little daunting? Are you a novice seeking a more traditionally structured writing skills workshop? Then consider the Himalayan Writing Bootcamp instead. Details here.

At the outset you also identify your genre of interest – it could be a short story/children’s story/cartoon/fantasy novel or any other. We’ll keep each participant’s genre-preferences in mind as we work with you. Our aim will be to bring you face-to-face with whatever you have as potential. The format of the workshop will be interaction rather than lecture. We’ll share a detailed outline of the three-day program at the venue. Below is a stripped-down version.  

The Workshop accepts only the first ten applicants, so apply now.


Dec 18-22, 2019


The Himalayan Writing Retreat, Satkhol Village, Distt. Nainital,  Uttarakhand – 263138. Details here.

How Much

INR 35000. This price includes all sessions, 4 nights stay (twin shared), all meals and taxes. View our Cancellation Policy here.

NOTE: Single occupancy rooms are sometimes possible subject to availability. However, this event has very high-demand and all our rooms will need to house two people. So we are not offering single-occupancy rooms for this Masterclass.


Click the button below and complete the form there along with a writing sample. We will come back to you within one working day. Only the first ten accepted applicants participate.

Email us your questions at, or call 97176-15666


Everyone has a shark (or two) lurking in the depths of their being. Most are harmless. Many are beautiful. Some are dangerous.


This workshop will help you to locate your inner shark,  learn how best to describe it and, maybe, learn to write a great story about it.


On Day Zero (Dec 18th) you arrive & chill. You will have a brief assignment to complete before the next morning. Topic to be revealed at the venue. We will call this the Workshop Story. Solitary.


Day One: The Workshop Stories are the focus of preliminary exercises. Group.


BREAK for lunch.


We play a game that may help us think about structure and logical flow. Group.


BREAK. We work on the Workshop Story. If it’s already wonderful, we improve it; if it needs strengthening we build on what there is. Group.


This will take us to the end of the first day.


Day Two: We begin the day with critique and discussion: MP will offer a piece of her own work for demolition by the participants. Group.


After a break, participants will be invited to find their Inner Shark and to write a brief outline. Detailed guidelines will be provided at the venue. Solitary.


BREAK for lunch.


Structured discussion of Inner Shark outlines. Group.




We return to the Workshop Story a final time. Group.


Night Assignment: Participants work on extended versions of their Inner Sharks, using the methods/ideas presented during the day. Solitary.


Day Three: Structured discussion of the extended Inner Shark pieces. Group.


BREAK for lunch.


Discussion of style. This will be the only session resembling a lecture – and it will be brief! Group.




Questions/answers between the participants and MP. Group.


NIGHT: Literary Game! To be described at the venue. Group.



Day four: (Dec 22) Fill out the feedback forms (not enough Nutella?), cry unabashedly at the prospect of leaving, and head out after a relaxed breakfast.