Our Team


The Himalayan Writing Retreat is a first of it's kind in this part of the world. It was founded in 2016 by two published authors - Chetan Mahajan & Vandita Dubey. They have since brought together many more skilled teachers and members into the HWR fold in various roles. 


Site Crew

Anand, Kapil, Munni and Vicky

Anand, Kapil, Munni and Vicky are our "Fantastic four". Nothing would work here without them. Vicky rustles up the awesome food that your taste-buds will thank you for. Kapil and Anand serve the food, and also manage the grounds, the water, and everything else. This team physically carries the delicious spring water everyday for you to drink. Whether it is setting up a bonfire, or carrying bags up and down the walking path, they are there to help. Last but not the least, Munni - with a ready smile, keeps our rooms neat and clean.

Site Crew





Faculty

(In alphabetical order by first name)

Alex Lemon

Memoir Retreat Leader

Alex Lemon (born in 1978) is an American poet and memoirist. He leads the Himalayan Writers Retreat with a special focus on Memoir.

Lemon is the author of five books: The poetry collections Mosquito (Tin House Books 2006), Hallelujah Blackout (Milkweed Editions 2008), Fancy Beasts (Milkweed Editions 2010), and The Wish Book (Milkweed Editions 2014) and Happy: A Memoir (Scribner 2010).

Lemon is an editor-at-large for Saturnalia Books; poetry editor of descant, TCU's literary journal, sits on the editorial board of TCU Press and The Southern Review's advisory board. His awards and honors include a 2005 Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2006 Minnesota Arts Board Grant, and inclusion in the Best American Poetry 2008 anthology. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas and teaches at Texas Christian University.

Lemon's works are in 544 libraries, according to World Cat.


Alex Lemon


​Bijay Gautam

​Founder and Host - The Inspiring Talk

Bijay Gautam is Founder and Host of one of the top podcasts in India- The Inspiring Talk. On this podcast, he chats with top entrepreneurs, best-selling Authors, Thought leaders and celebrities about their journey. His podcast has gained wider accolade from his listeners and media.

 He also hosts another podcast about podcasting called Podcast Unfiltered where he chats with podcasters about their podcasting journey.

As India’s leading Podcast Coach and Consultant, has coached over 100 people and helped over 5 organizations launch their podcasts. He has conducted podcast workshops and training across the country reaching over 2000 participants.


Bijay has been featured by national media like The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, The Sunday Guardian Live among others. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and events. In the past he has spoken in conferences like BlogX, Professional Speakers Summit, etc.


Before all this began, Bijay was working as a Research Scientist in a leading Pharmaceutical Company. He was clearly losing motivation and drive in his life and that's when he started The Inspiring Talk. Within 15 months of starting his podcast he quit his job to follow his passion on podcasting and inspiring people through his podcast.

​Bijay Gautam


Chetan Mahajan

Co-Founder & Program Director

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 and blogger over four 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 on a memoir "The rat who wouldn't race".  

Chetan Mahajan

Erika Krouse

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 AtlanticThe New Yorker, Esquire.com, The Kenyon ReviewStory, PloughsharesOne StoryThe 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.


Erika Krouse

Geeta Ramanujan

Storytelling Faculty

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. 

Geeta Ramanujan


Paula Younger

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 StoriesThe Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, The Rattling WallThe 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 . 


Paula Younger


Sumit Bansal

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 podcastIndieHackerIdeamenschSide 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”. 

Sumit Bansal


Vandita Dubey

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 Self-Growth 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.  Dr. Dubey is currently developing a workshop to help couples make their relationships more harmonious and joyful.

Vandita Dubey

Outreach

(In alphabetical order by first name)

Savita Narayan

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


Savita Narayan

Sohaib Ilyas

Virtual Marketer

Sohaib is an architect by training and is passionate about social media. He shoots and edits videos of HWR events. He also manages the social media activity and Digital Marketing for the Himalayan Writing Retreat. You can see some of his work at  www.studiosohaib.com.


Sohaib Ilyas




© himalayanwritingretreat 2018