We offer writing courses but people often ask us what else is out there? Are there courses in other places? Or in their hometowns? Not everyone can travel. And some people don’t like driving in mountains.
So we went hunting and put together a list. We found a surprising number in Bangalore. Further, we could get first-hand feedback on only a few, we can’t say if they’re all good or not. Here are the writing courses we found in India. The list is in alphabetical order
1. Anita’s Attic
Anita Nair, author together with Penguin Random House India hosts this writing and mentorship programme. While you get to explore different genres of writing from novels, children’s writing, poetry, short stories, and so on, you also identify your key competencies and skill areas. You hobnob with publishers and learn to use social media to your advantage. You may be among the chosen few who get introduced to literary agents. Participants’ writings find their way into an anthology, “Attic Books.” 12 participants are selected for this comprehensive workshop.
Nature of Courses: 5 hours a week (10.30am-3.30 pm) for 11 consecutive weeks
Cost: Rs. 80,000
Next Start Dates: Admissions are now open for the Season 8 session of Creative Writing and Mentorship Program to be held from 6th June- 22nd August, 2020.
Eligibility: Submit an online form which includes a written excerpt evaluated by Anita Nair
Our Take: Credentials are impressive, but the course is pricey. In our experience they are somewhat slow to respond.
2. Bangalore’s World-Famous Semi-Deluxe Writing Program
This course is put together by writers Anjum Hasan, Eshwar Sundaresan and Zac O’ Yeah in collaboration with Shoonya, a multi art centre.
You will brainstorm tools and techniques, practise writing and learn to critique it, take part in workshops and writing assignments. You will get an exposure to both fiction and nonfiction writing in the form of short stories, thriller writing, poetry, long form writing, children’s literature, journalistic articles, and travelogues by well-known writers. And of course, as most writers aspire to be heard, you get to know about what it takes to be successful. The course enrols 30 participants.
Nature of Courses: 8 consecutive weekends (15 classes from 10:30am – 1:30pm) besides six 3-hour afternoon workshops. You can also walk-in and enrol in individual courses.
Cost: Rs 31,700. Early birders get a discount of 15%
Next Start Dates: June 2020,
Eligibility: The applicant has to write a poem/ vignette/whichever form takes your fancy on “Who am I” (max. 800 words) and submit it.
Our Take: No opinion
3. Bangalore Writers Workshop (BWW)
Bangalore Writers Workshop (BWW) was co-founded by Bhumika Anand and Rheea Mukherjee, in 2011. Bhumika continues to be the Director of BWW. The workshop brings together aspiring writers who practice the art over a multi-week program. The course has a reputation for being quite demanding.
As part of the course, the participants learn to critique writing pieces from the BWW course book which contains contemporary and classical excerpts. You will share your own work for peer review and interact with known authors.
Courses Offered: The Classic course is the flagship programme. Additionally, they have courses on Fiction, Poetry, Non- Fiction and Workshops for young writers. The Classic course which is most comprehensive is for 8 weeks (classes every Saturday for 3 hours, 2.30-5.30 pm, i.e. a total of 24 hours over 8 weeks). The batch size is small, with 3-10 students per batch.
Cost: Rs. 17,000 including taxes.
Next Course Dates: check website (below). 2-3 course starts every year for the Classic Course.
Eligibility: Submit an original piece of writing and pray to the God of Wishful Thinking that you score between 7 and 10 so that you qualify. (Grading is from 1-10, based on language and creativity).
Our Take: We hear they’re awesome.
4. Bound Writer’s Retreat
Bound is a company based in Mumbai. The team consists of Tara Khandelwal, who is the founder of the company, and Michelle D’Costa, both editors and writers, besides other faculty.
Bound offers writers’ retreats, workshops, mentorship and supports writers with editorial services to put their book together for publishing. The Retreat caters to all forms of writing -fiction, poetry, screenwriting & non-fiction writing. The workshop will take you through creating, refining and firming up a piece of writing and strategies for attracting publishers and using social media. The group size is limited to 12 people.
Courses Offered: Short foundational workshops on fiction writing and Writer’s Retreat amongst others
Nature of Course: 5-day residential writers’ retreat usually in Goa, 2-day courses within Mumbai city;
Cost: Rs 40,999 for a private room and Rs 34,999 for a shared room for the Writer’s Retreat.
Place: Goa, Mumbai
Next Course Dates: Yet to be announced
Eligibility criteria and other details available at Website: https://www.boundindia.com/events/weekendwritersretreat/
Our Take: Heard good stuff
5. British Council
The British Council is a well-known institute for teaching English language. Until recently they had creative writing course that took you through fiction, poetry, short stories and screenplays to travel writing, feature article writing and news reports. The courses dont appear on their website anymore so you may want to call them and check. The Council has experienced faculty that will guide you to polish your craft as a writer.
Courses offered: Introduction to Creative Writing is a summer intensive course spread over 6 weeks or a term course of 8 weeks duration, both for 50 hours each
Nature of Course: Course timings are flexible and adjusted according to the student’s need. But the course is conducted within working hours on weekdays in Delhi (i.e. before 6pm), except on weekends. In Kolkata, the course is offered on weekends
Cost: Rs. 16,000 at the Delhi Centre. The course at the Kolkata Centre costs Rs. 13,500.
Places: New Delhi and Kolkata English Learning Centres.
Eligibility: You will have to undertake an assessment level check test at the centre which costs Rs. 600 in Delhi and Rs. 500 in Kolkata.
Next Course Dates: Rolling enrolments and starts in both Delhi and Kolkata.
Our Take: We hear the courses are good but they focus more on language than on creative writing.
6. Deer Park Institute, Janet Thomas
The Deer Park Institute is a centre for Buddhist Studies. Janet Thomas has been teaching and conducting creative writing workshops at the Deer Park since 2009. She is an author, poet, playwright and was the editor of a travel magazine.
Courses offered with next course dates: A writing workshop “Why Writing Matters” (2nd April 2020 – 5th April 2020); For those interested in penning down their life stories you can learn the “Art & Craft of Writing a Memoir” (8th April 2020 – 11th April 2020)
Cost: Free, with the option of a contribution to the institute
Place: Deer Park Institute, Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Our Take: No first hand experience, but we have heard of event cancellations.
7. Dum Pukht’s Fiction Writing Workshop
This is a two-week residential workshop for people who want to specialise in fiction writing. Anil Menon, Pervin Saket and Akshat Nigamare are three writers who came together in 2016 to start the Dum Pukht’s Writer’s Workshop. The ten-day workshop has individual segments which they lead while Ravi Shankar is the facilitator of the fourth segment.
You bring a story which you have written and on which you receive constructive inputs. The writing and critiquing process continues through the next week of the workshop. Besides which you will learn about style, technique and the importance of writing. Fourteen participants are selected for the workshop.
Nature of Courses: Residential (two weeks)
Cost: Rs. 30,000 on double occupancy rooms (all inclusive)
Place: Adishakti Theatre Complex, outside Puducherry, Tamil Nadu
Next Start Dates: The workshop will reopen for applications in June 2020.
Eligibility: Send a short story (between 2,000–5,000 words) you are happy with and a bio note about yourself and what compels you to be a writer. This is specifically for career writers, and hobby writers are not expected to participate. Applicants, if not published, need to have a significant body of work to show.
Our Take: No opinion, but sounds brilliant.
8. Himalayan Writing Retreat
This is my favourite, as I’ve been fortunate to experience and enjoy it. The Himalayan Writing Retreat (HWR) is the only residential facility dedicated to writing in Asia. The HWR runs a busy calender of events throughout the year which attracts teachers and students from all over the world.
The retreat is an orchard on a ridge with brilliant dawns, dusks and views of the big white peaks. Located in Nainital District, the retreat was set up in 2016 by two published authors – Chetan Mahajan & Dr. Vandita Dubey. Vandita is a US trained clinical psychologist and published author who works in the area of mental health and wellbeing. Chetan is a Penguin published author and writing coach. He also writes an award-winning blog about leaving city life for a Himalayan village. (http://www.uncity.blog/).
Courses: Dr. Vandita Dubey conducts a “Self-Growth through Writing Workshop,” a workshop on emotional well-being. This workshop uses writing as a tool for reflection and growth.
There are Master Classes with distinguished authors. The next one is led by Manjula Padmanabhan on 18-22 December 2019. The Himalayan Blogging Workshop is led by Sumit Bansal, a master blogger and a fabulous teacher.
The Himalayan Writing Bootcamp (which I attended back in 2017), is their most popular workshop led by Chetan Mahajan. The workshop will help you build your story idea and learn the importance of tight editing. You will learn the nuts and bolts of translating ideas into a book. The workshop also takes a deep dive into the world of publishing. Chetan has a strong understanding of the space, and you can read his blog about Self Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing here. Here you find that working hard is easy when you are treated to generous doses of humour and a non-stop supply of chai. Classes move from inside to the outdoors depending on the weather and the views. Evenings end with walks in the mountains and powwows around the bonfire. And the loudest sound is birdsong.
With a maximum group size of 10 you get one on one feedback and support. I left the place with a heightened understanding of the writing process and a motivation to write regularly. The encouragement of a circle of writing friends – whom I met there and continue to be in touch with – certainly helped. One of our fellow participants, Kamalini Natesan, has recently published her book “Naked Beneath the Midnight Sun”.
Several authors have been able to complete and publish their books post the boot camp. Details about the authors and their books are available at https://www.himalayanwritingretreat.com/books-by-hwr-participants/.
Nature of Courses: Residential
Cost: Course fees range from Rs. 28000-46000 which includes four nights stay on a twin-sharing basis, all food, sessions and taxes. (HWR also hosts Retreats which are different from workshops. These retreats are 10 days long and are priced at USD 2800).
The stay is twin-shared. Single occupancy is possible at a cost of Rs. 8000 but is subject to availability.
Place: Village Satkhol, District Nainital, Uttarakhand
Next Start Dates:
Self-Growth through writing: Apr29 – May 3, 2020. And every two-three months thereafter.
Master Class with Manjula Padmanabhan: Aug 12-16, 2020
Poetry Masterclass with Arundhathi Subramaniam: Dates to be confirmed.
Kids Writing Workshop: May 20-24, 2020
Teens Writing Workshop : June 3-7, 2020
Eligibility: Some events are free sign-on. For others, fill in the application form, send a writing sample in English or a translated piece of work and you are good to go.
9. Jawaharlal Nehru Academy of Languages
A part of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, JNA was formed to encourage people to learn foreign languages and creative writing.
Courses Offered: Advanced English and creative writing.
Eligibility: High school.
Nature of Course: Evening classes of 90 minutes each four days a week.
Cost: 16,500 INR
Place: New Delhi
Next Course Dates: To be announced (Sessions start in January and August).
Our Take: No opinion
10. Panchgani Writers’ Retreat
The Panchgani Writers’ Retreat is an annual event organised by Social Lite House LLC, a literary and publishing company, based out of Panchgani.
Shabnam Samuel, a US based writer, business coach and social media expert is the founder of the retreat. Sweta Srivastava Vikram, speaker, author and life skills coach, is the visiting faculty.
You can look forward to yoga, meditation and a state of relaxed calm by the beach at the retreat, with the peace of mind to attend to your own writing or participate in workshops.
Courses Offered: Workshops on poetry, creative and memoir writing.
Nature of Course: 5-day residential writers’ retreat
Cost:1200 USD (single accommodation for 6 nights)
Place: Puri, Orissa
Next Course Dates:20-25 Oct 2019 (closed for this year – 2020 dates not yet announced)
Our Take: No opinion