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The HWR Wall of Fame

The HWR Wall of Fame  is a reminder for all of us to celebrate victories - big and small.

In the range of workshops we offer , it is but natural for us to come across many creative souls chasing varied goals. Some write books while some win contests and accolades marking many a milestones in their journey. Sharing some of those milestones here, with joy, gratitude & a little pride. They've done the work, and we are grateful they chose the Himalayan Writing Retreat to be part of their journey.

Contests

Lahari Mahalanabish (Short Story Writing Workshop , Oct '20)

Her short story Newly Weds was Long-listed for the Short Story Prize by the Grindstone Literary 

I have been writing for a long time, but it was in Himalayan Writing Retreat that I was introduced to the technicalities of writing like structural unity and degrees of dialogue. It was also an opportunity to connect with like-minded people who are passionate about writing. Himalayan Writing Retreat is a must for those who take their writing seriously, especially those like me who have not studied literature as a subject in college
Janani Janarthanan (Online Bootcamp, July 2020)
Winner of the September,2020 – Muse of the Month, Women’s Web.
I attended HWR late July this pandemic year and it has been one of the most revelatory creative experiences. There’s something alluring about sharing a virtual space with a small community of writers who are locked in on a mission to get the creative juices flowing. It brings out the writing vigour from its dormant corner which is exactly what the workshop did for me. Chetan’s warmth and the meticulous structure of the workshop helps break down the daunting task of writing a novel/short story into simple bites, all the while maintaining the individual’s writing goals in focus. I wholeheartedly encourage people to experience HWR and take away the renewed sense of direction I did. I would also like to thank the team for giving me an opportunity with the scholarship.
Matangi Jayaram (Bootcamp, Nov '19)
1st runner up, eShe Poetry Contest
Mohana Talapatra (Bootcamp, Nov '17)
Published one chapter in “Write with Chitra” contest by Harper Collins

In April 2020, Harper Collins India hosted a contest called #WritewithChitra - a crowdsourced novel where best-selling author Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee wrote the first chapter taking which as a prompt, participants were supposed to write the subsequent chapter. The winning chapter will be a part of a book which will be published by Harper Collins India. In total there will be 16 chapters, one from Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee and one from another guest writer (unannounced as of now). The rest 14 chapters will be selected from this contest and Mohana's winning entry will be Chapter 6 of that novel.

Books by HWR Alumni

Salini Vineeth (Short Story Writing Workshop, October'20)

Salini Vineeth’s short story Varayan has been published in Zia – Stories from India by Ukiyoto Publishing. Varayan is a mystery short story set in a village in Kottayam, Kerala. The villagers are plagued by intricate lines in their sandy front yard. They called the mysterious creature behind the lines, ‘Varayan’ (“The one who draws”). 

Yeshwant Marathe (Bootcamp, January'20)

I have been writing my blog since March 2018. When I decided to attend the Himalayan Writing Retreat in January 2020, I was skeptical as to whether it was really possible to learn “how to write”. But I must confess that my writing really improved after that workshop. Thanks to Chetan.

The title of the book is छपाई ते लेखणी which means from Printing to Writing (Pen). 
 
I come from a business family and we were pioneer manufactures of Offset Printing Machines in India. The cover may be little confusing for people not familiar with Printing process. CMYK are primary colours of multicolour printing. They stand for Cyan (Blue), Magenta (Red), Yellow and Black (Key). Just for your information, our computer screens are in RGB format (Red, Green & Blue). 
 
Since writing was like my second innings, the title indicates my travel from Printing to Pen. However the book is not about my life journey. 
 
The designer, using his creativity, turned the letter Y, which also happens to be first letter of my name, into a pen. The book was published at the hands of Jairaj Salgaokar, Mg Director of Kalanirnay (कालनिर्णय) Almanac. The Publishers are Granthali, who run their business more as a Writers Movement and they encourage new writers like me for last more than 45 years. 

Aruna Singh
The seed for writing was sown when I decided to go to Himalayan writing Reteat in December 2018. The place was so serene with such beautiful people as companions it really made me think to write as my belief says this is only what you are going to leave behind. The festivities of Christmas with lovely food and new friends let me forget my tragedy which I had gone through in the recent past. Thank you !
Renjith Jacob ( Online Creative Writing Workshop, May'20)
The HWR learning sessions were immaculately tailor made to bring out the writer within myself. Special thanks to Mr. Chetan Mahajan for the kind words he granted for encouraging and empowering me.
Rani Iyer (Online Writing Workshop , July '20)
The Himalayan Writing Retreat (online) course was an outstanding experience. We had a global classroom of twelve earnest students with remarkable talents and focus. The staff and instructors were responsive and communicated with all the requirements clearly and supported us well. Our instructor, Chetan Mahajan, covered many fundamental and advanced writing fiction topics and effortlessly led us through the curriculum. The activities were designed to provide a high degree of student engagement and the opportunity to workshop some of the learning using our work in progress. Thanks to the team for providing me with a scholarship for attending this retreat. I had an enriching experience learning to write fiction writing. Looking at the list of several fabulous classes announced for the future, I plan to sign up for opportunities to learn from the experts.
Manish Grampurohit (Poetry Workshop with Jonaki Ray, May '20)
Autumn Gales Cover
Mr. Chetan Mahajan’s Himalayan Writing Retreat is a great place to hone your writing skills. I attended their online workshop on Poetry Writing mentored by award winning poet, Jonaki Ray. In spite of being an online training, it was conducted extremely professionally, with absolutely no disturbances. The course was comprehensive and I am so happy that I could improve my skills. One of the poems that I created during the workshop is getting featured in The Alcove Publisher’s upcoming Anthology: Autumn Gales.

I look forward to attending more sessions from HWR in near future, and I can’t wait to visit their retreat.

Ten short story writers: (Custom Creative Writing Workshop, May '20)

Unsung Valour: Forgotten Warriors of the Kurukshetra War (Bloomsbury, 2020) is an anthology by ten writers to celebrate the lesser-known warriors of the Mahabharata. All the ten writers participants were a part of a workshop with HWR conducted for the Indic Academy.

To tell a story is a wonderful thing, to tell it well is magical. We learnt a little bit of the alchemy that gives a story it’s snap, it’s lure to dip your toes, it’s ballast to keep you afloat as you ride the current and it’s tug to keep you engrossed. 

Chetan Mahajan had us ruing the end of a session and eagerly anticipating the next one during the HWR online workshop in May 2020.
To transform muggle born hacks like us to aspiring wizards is, to put it mildly, a herculean task.
 
Indic Academy was our platform 9&3/4, Saiswaroopa Iyer our sorting hat and HWR our Hogwarts.
 
Thank you and we hope to be in Satkhol one day. Alohomora!
 
Amrita, Abhyudaya, Bharati, Deepak, Pranshu, Renjith, Roopal, Raksha, Siddharth, Shivakumar.
(The Anthology was curated and compiled by Saiswaroopa Iyer.)

Amit Maheshwari
“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.”
Anirudh Naveen
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“.
Elizabeth Decker
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. “

Kamalini Natesan

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!

Mehool Parekh
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.
Madhulika Mohta
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.
Vaishali Gauba
I went in wanting to learn about the process of writing, in general. I still clearly remember writing my first ever fiction piece at the retreat when that’s not even my genre at all. Beyond that, I learned about motivation. As writers, we often wait for motivation to come to us but Chetan taught us that writing, no matter how good or bad, must happen every day. I took that lesson home with me. Today, I write pretty much every day, and the motivation just kicks in!

Online Publications

Priya Kalpesh Astik (Online Bootcamp, May '20)
Published an article ‘Leadership Lessons from the Rava Dosa‘ in Economic Times (August 18th, 2020)
Namita Aavriti (Masterclass, Dec '19)
Published an interview with author Manjula Padmanabhan ‘How taking off for Europe on a risky trip gave Manjula Padmanabhan a book‘ in Scroll (August 16th, 2020)