Shoonya – Bangalore’s World-Famous Semi-Deluxe Writing Program Edition II

The writer Zac O’ Yeah with a team of skilled writers runs a creative writing workshop at the Shoonya Institute, located in Bangaluru, Karnataka, India. To learn more about Zac O’ Yeah and his work, read his interview with New Asian Writing here. Below is his view about the writing workshop and why you should be a part of it. The last date to apply is Jan 31st and the workshop is open to anybody (who applies and gets admission). The open talk series that runs parallel is open to all and free entry. To learn more about this exciting opportunity for writers, please click here. Image and text courtesy: Zac O’ Yeah.

The creative writing workshop is a quite exciting thing for us – we are nine writers who do the teaching – as from our first batch of students, already one fellow got a book offer from a publishing house. The workshop is located at at an arts institute called Shoonya which is near Lalbagh Botanical Gardens in the centre of Bengaluru town. It is a 9-weekend course open to anybody who wishes to explore writing as a career or just understand literature and reading better, and the next batch is starting now in February 2018.
It is also a space to which people can come for literary discussions, so we have an open talk series where we invite writers and other creative people from Bengaluru to speak about whatever they enjoy talking about – for example their creative engagement with their city – and these talks are free of charge and anybody can drop in, listen, have some tea or coffee, and join the discussions. So far we’ve had Ramachandra Guha, Vivek Shanbhag, Sugata Srinivasaraju and Lavanya Sankaran speaking, and upcoming speakers include Maya Jayapal, Anita Nair and a whole lot of others.


The reason why we started it was because I’ve noticed that lots of people want to write books nowadays – whether it be novels or autobiographies or other types of writing – and so I thought that they might be helped by having a place where they can go and learn the tricks of the trade. So at the institute, nine writers from the city teach everything from screenwriting to poetry as well as different forms of non-fiction, and I myself handle the workshops in thriller writing and travelogues.

We feel that to write is to experience the world anew, even as the world moulds you through writing. So there are many benefits to writing and also to learning how to write creatively. Writing sharpens your faculties, sensitizes you to language, and enables you to find a voice. As a writer you can tell your own story or those of others, create narratives or report on those unfolding around you, find new ways to communicate your ideas, and tune in to other styles of thinking. Writing could also bring you in contact with fellow writers, give you an income, enable you to travel, open out a career. Or it could just enhance your interest in literature. Bangalore’s World-Famous Semi-Deluxe Writing Course has been designed with all these possibilities in mind.

Over nine weeks, students spend their weekends in an airy classroom surrounded by coconut trees, learning skills, understanding craft, and trying their hand at a range of genres, while using their spare time to complete assignments that will be reviewed by the faculty on an individual basis. It is all very hands-on and interactive. By the end of the workshop they tend to be writing courageously and skilfully.

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