Kiranjeet Chaturvedi a sociologist and a social worker by educational training. She has worked in consumer insights for corporates for years. She then went on to build a home in the Himalayas, got into advocacy and activism in the community, in areas of women empowerment, working with diversity and inclusion, and sustainability. Always interested in literature and writing she finally started the writing workshops and support group around 4 years ago. Her House in the Himalayas is Birdsong and Beyond and the writing group is called Write and Beyond.
Here is knowing Kiran better , RAPID FIRE!!!!!
a. Where did you spend your childhood? All across India, with a lot of years in Calcutta.
b. What do your parents do? Father was an army officer, Mother was a teacher.
c. When did your love for books begin? Earliest memories are – Mummy would get us books from libraries and we also had a few at home.
d. Where do you stay? And who all are in your family? I live in Gurgaon mainly, and often go away to a little village in Garhwal where I have another home.
e. What are your hobbies other than books? Farming, birding, hiking, all sorts of nature friendly things, Music.
f. Who is your twin personality, if you had to choose one, from the characters of the literary world? Elizabeth Bennet, probably.
g. A book you swear by – the bedside book that remains there forever? No one book, I always have three four different books I am reading at all times.
h. Do you prefer Kidnle or Hardcoverbooks? Real paper books!
i. Library or buying books? Both, though given how little of a library system we have here, and my desire to have the books stay with me, I end up with more books bought than borrowed.
j. What is the time of the day that you love when it comes to reading? Any time really. I spend most of my reading anyway
k. What is your way of reading? 2 pages a night? Or 3 books simultaneously? Or something else? Reading is my main occupation, so everything goes, depending on what else is happening in my life at that time. But mainly I read quite a few books together. If a book is absorbing my interest I can read it through the day and night.
Write and Beyond regularly hosts Writing workshops and you can find them on FB here -https://www.facebook.com/groups/writeNbeyond/
On the group you will find generous doses of creative writing. Unabashed, free, away from judgement, being written for the Joy of writing, and when she calls it a Support Group – you will feel the same there.
Q1. What was the idea behind Write and Beyond Group? The USP? What made you get people together in a group on writing?
It started as an idea I was sharing with the author Kanchana Banerjee to run residencies and retreats in my mountain home, for people to come and relax and do a bit of creative ideation and some art, including writing. Kanchana loved the idea and suggested making it mainly about writing as she had been teaching people creative writing online for a while, and she had trained specifically to do that. I had always been into reading and was a closet writer so far. She came in to help in the first year, and we got connected with so many supportive writers who came and spoke at our sessions. We learnt as we went along.
“Many (in the group) have felt supported in the very act of starting to write, of feeling confident and encouraged. Many have been inspired and guided to make their own first book, second book happen”
People love the kind of conversations and engagement they get at our sessions, which are not usually accessible in other forums , be it book clubs or lit fests or open mic sessions .Many have felt supported in the very act of starting to write, of feeling confident and encouraged. Many have been inspired and guided to make their own first book, second book happen. Many have been blogging with more focus and writing for other publications and so on. It has widened everyone’s horizon and given us a community of like-mindedness, which is the biggest USP, in my view.
It has been four years now, and I have come a long way as a writer and as a writing facilitator in this journey.
Q2. Creative writing is a skill a lot of us crave for? What would you say to people who want to start?
Read, read and read! Really. That is the first commandment. Read across genres and authors. Learn to pick what you don’t want to write, what you want to write. Learn to discern other’s voice, and discover your own. Write daily, write with discipline. Pay attention to what you like when you like something written by someone else. Write without fear and without the voices in your head telling you what you can or cannot do. Then read your work aloud. Then leave it aside. Go back to it after a few days. Read and re-write it. Then edit ruthlessly but only after you have written unabashedly. Read about writing as a craft. Got to writing and reading events. Find a writing and reading community and stay engaged with them
Q3. What do you do to keep yourself updated about creative writing? Or keep yourself in shape for it?
I subscribe to a whole lot of newsletters from across the world, and I follow a lot of writer blogs. I read on writing, and I talk and learn from my writer friends. There are so many resources and so accessible on the internet. I also regularly join courses and workshops in India and abroad for keeping myself in shape and motivated and to feel supported. And of course I keep writing for myself even though I am not a big one for sending out my work in the public.
“I subscribe to a whole lot of newsletters from across the world, and I follow a lot of writer blogs.”
Q4. What kind of books do you read? Who all would you say are your Favorite Authors?
I read all sorts. But non-fiction is my all time favorite overall. Things with a socio-psychological bent. And a lot of nature writing, and things more esoteric. I love James Herriot, Gerald Durrel, Bill Bryson, Nan Shepard, PG Wodehouse, Jane Austen, Jerry Pinto, Anjum Hassan, Saikat Mazumdar, Anne Patchett, Santosh Desai, Muriel Burbery, Agatha Christie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin…so many actually it is hard to mention even most of them. I have listed those that came to mind immediately and those that I have been reading or referring to recently and some are eternal favorites.
“I love James Herriot, Gerald Durrel, Bill Bryson, Nan Shepard, PG Wodehouse, Jane Austen, Jerry Pinto, Anjum Hassan, Saikat Mazumdar, Anne Patchett, Santosh Desai, Muriel Burbery, Agatha Christie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin”
We had loads of fun getting to know Kiranjeet better, hope you guys liked this month's feature. You can follow them @ Write andBeyond and become a member on Facebook. The Group is based in Gurgaon.
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