The Himalayan Writing Retreat is the first of it's kind in this part of the world. It runs on the strength of an awesome team.
The On-site Crew
Anand, Kapil, Kanchan, Santo and Pawan are our "Fabulous Five". Nothing would work here without them.
Our chef Anand has magic on his fingertips (Or so say the lovely folks who have visited us till now!) He can rustle up a storm in the kitchen in the blink of an eye and leave your taste buds craving for more.
Kapil is the Man Friday of the retreat. With his observant nature and problem-solving skills, he ensures the retreat is operating smoothly 24*7 without any hiccups by looking after the grounds and water. Whether it is setting up a bonfire, or carrying bags up and down the walking path, Kapil is the go-to man.
Young and enthusiastic Pawan manages a lot of guest interaction and paperwork with his fluent English and soft-spoken nature. From taking care of endless cups of chai and coffee to keep you warm, to ensuring you have a warm room and bed waiting at the end of the day, Pawan manages it all.
Kapil and Santo physically carry the delicious spring water every day for you to drink. Last but not the least, with their ever-smiling nature Kanchan and Santo ensure everything is spick and span at the retreat including the rooms and workspaces.
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Award winning poet and teacher
Described as 'one of the finest poets writing in India today', Arundhathi Subramaniam is an award-winning Indian poet. She is the author of twelve books, of which five are books of poetry. Widely translated and anthologised, her book, When God is a Traveller (2014) was the Season Choice of the Poetry Book Society, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her new book of poems, Love Without a Story, published earlier this year with Westland Amazon, is already in its second reprint.
As editor, her most recent book is the acclaimed Penguin anthology of medieval Indian sacred poetry, Eating God. As prose writer, her books include The Book of Buddha; the bestselling biography of a contemporary mystic, Sadhguru: More Than a Life; and most recently, Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga (co-authored with Sadhguru).
She is the recipient of various Indian and international awards and fellowships, including the inaugural Khushwant Singh Prize, the Raza Award for Poetry, the Zee Women’s Award for Literature, the International Piero Bigongiari Prize in Italy, the Mystic Kalinga award, the Charles Wallace, Visiting Arts and Homi Bhabha Fellowships, among others.
Co-Founder & Writing Coach
Chetan Mahajan is the co-founder of the Himalayan Writing Retreat. A Penguin-published author, he quit the corporate world and moved to a village in the Himalayas to be a full-time author, blogger and teacher five years ago. The Himalayan Writing Retreat is all about helping people with their writing. He is also a writing coach with the London based the writing coach.
Chetan blogs about life in a Himalayan village at www.uncity.blog. This blog won the Indiblogger award for Humour in 2017.
He is currently working on his first novel "Tara and Vishnu" and also co-authoring a non-fiction book with his co-founder, Vandita (details below). Chetan often writes columns for the Readers Digest, Mint, Outlook Magazine, Hindu Business Line and the Hindustan Times (Brunch).
Writing Retreat Leader
Erika Krouse leads the Himalayan Writers Retreat with a special emphasis on fiction and creative non-fiction.
Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Esquire.com, The Kenyon Review, Story, Ploughshares, One Story, The Iowa Review, and other publications. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize and the Best American Short Stories. Her novel Contenders (Rare Bird Books), was a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and appears in German with Aufbau-Verlag. Her short story collection, Come Up and See Me Sometime (Scribner), won the Paterson Fiction Award, was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and has been translated into six languages. Erika received her MA from CU Boulder, where she also taught creative writing. She has taught at Lighthouse since 2008, and mentors for the Book Project. She's written everything from book reviews for The New York Times to horoscopes for Glamour. The only thing she doesn't like writing is her bio.
Geeta teaches two storytelling workshops at the Himalayan Writing Retreat every year. She is the founder and Executive Director of Kathalaya, India leading storytelling organization. She created the Kathalaya Trust to revive the traditional art of storytelling,
Geeta is an internationally renowned storyteller and teacher. She uses storytelling as an effective educational and cultural tool for parents, teachers, NGOs and corporate sectors both in India and abroad.
Geeta talks about how she was once shy of speaking in public, forget telling stories. But now when you see her tell a story - where she may roar like a lion or do a brilliant enactment of a little squirrel, you wonder how that could be true. Ramanujam, who was formerly a teacher at the Valley School, bring her classroom genius and applies it to the subject of storytelling to deliver an amazing learning experience.
Katrina is a storyteller and facilitator based in India and the US. She is passionate about bringing the transformative power of stories to individuals, communities, and companies across the world. She has performed globally as a storyteller, theatre artist, and dancer in India, South Africa, Thailand, Japan, and the United States. Katrina is certified in Storytelling in the Community through the Centre for Biographical Storytelling, United Kingdom, and in Transformational Communication from UC San Diego. Katrina has worked for 10 years in the field of international education and development, and held leadership positions with the US State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program, Princeton University’s Bridge Year Program, and at the American India Foundation. In 2018, Katrina began a new chapter of her professional journey by founding Uncharted Territory Consulting so that she could support leaders and organizations through her innovative facilitation methods globally.
Katrina’s interest in India began in 2006 when she packed her backpack for a solo trip across Maharashthra, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. She came away from the trip with a new found skills in Nepali plate dancing, a penchant for green chilies, adept saree wrapping skills, and the determination to come back for the long haul. Since 2011, she has lived in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and now resides in Delhi with her husband Arjun.
Katrina speaks English, German, and Hindi. Katrina has a degree in Theatre Arts, Social Justice, and Global Studies (South Asia) from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Writing Retreat Leader
Paula Younger leads the Himalayan Writers Retreat with an emphasis on Fiction writing. Paula's writing has appeared in many literary journals, including Harper Collins’ 52 Stories, The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, The Rattling Wall, The Southeast Review, and The Nervous Breakdown. She earned her MFA from the University of Virginia, and received the Henry Hoyns and Bronx Writers Center fellowships. She teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she received the Beacon Award for teaching excellence.
You can learn more about Paula at her website www.paulayounger.com .
Blogging Expert & Faculty
Sumit Bansal leads the Blogging workshop at the Himalayan Writing Retreat. Sumit He has been blogging since 2013, and went full-time into it in 2015. The first blog that Sumit started was about Excel Spreadsheets.
Trumpexcel has become amongst the best Excel blogs in the world and enabled Sumit to quit his full-time job at IBM and live a life of freedom he always wanted. Sumit's fascinating story was covered by Problogger podcast, IndieHacker, Ideamensch, Side Hustle School Podcast, and many other sites and publications. In 2018, CEO Magazine featured Trumpexcel as one of the “50 Emerging Startups to Watch in 2018”.
Co-founder, Author & Resident Psychologist
Dr. Vandita Dubey is the author of "Parenting in the age of sexposure: Raising the precocious generation" , published by Rupa in 2016. Dr. Dubey earned her Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 2006 and obtained her Psychologist License from the State of Indiana in 2007. She trained and worked in private practice, community mental heath centers, and schools in the US. Her research focused on resilience. She started her private practice in Gurgaon in 2008 and has consulted with schools and corporates. Dr Dubey also holds a degree in Medical & Psychiatric Social Work from TISS, Mumbai, and worked with NGOs on the issue of child sexual abuse in Delhi and Mumbai between 1997 and 2000.
Dr. Dubey now chooses to live in the Himalayas, where she has co-founded the Himalayan Writing Retreat. She has designed the Emotional well-being through Writing workshop which she conducts. This is a course which uses writing as a means of introspection and self growth. Through a host of creative writing exercises participants at this workshop get an opportunity to reflect and gain insight into their thoughts and feelings. She is also the expert psychologist featured on the popular you-tube channel Zen-brain.
Outreach and Writing
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Digital & Outreach Coordinator
Namrata is a social media junkie and works as a virtual assistant for various authors.
She has been a book blogger for a decade now and her book reviews can be found on various sites and magazines like the Kitaab, Asian Review of Books, Contemporary South Asia Journal of King’s College-London, The Friday Times, Feminism in India and Cafe Dissensus. Namrata also works as an independent editor and beta reader for publishing houses and indie authors.
A published author, she enjoys writing stories and think pieces on travel , relationships and gender. She is a UEA alumni and has studied travel writing at the University of Sydney. She manages the Social Media presence and also all customer interaction for the Himalayan Writing Retreat. She also writes for the HWR Blog.
Writer. Very content.
Savita Narayan is a participant, and she writes content for the HWR website. Earlier in her career she worked in Advertising and Corporate Communications.
Savita's peripatetic childhood resulted in an interest in Indian history and culture. Her articles have been published in Heritage India magazine. She has co-authored ‘Navagraha Temples of Tamil Nadu - Kaveri Delta’, a book that encompasses the modes of worship in these temples, their history and culture in the Kaveri delta area.
Savita has profiled NGOs in MoneyLife magazine. She has written on eco-friendly living, has reviewed books and has contributed articles for the general reader on medical websites. She has edited a book on Vaishnavism published privately.
Currently she is exploring writing historical fiction. Savita is a beta reader of novels and is fiction editor at the online journal of fiction, poetry and art - www.activemuse.org