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Master Class in Karjat, India

January 19th – January 27th 

Please explore the details of this class below, and sign up for our newsletter to be notified of future opportunities.

Our India master class in Karjat offers the possibility to immerse yourself in Hedgebrook’s unique retreat experience amidst the beauty and wonderment of India. Like Hedgebrook’s master classes at our retreat on Whidbey Island, this is a rare opportunity to study with a renowned writer in a small-group workshop. Here writers will receive a taste of Hedgebrook’s “radical hospitality,” along with devoted time and space within a new landscape and culture that will amaze, inspire & energize your writing.

Beloved writer and teacher Sonora Jha will lead a multi-genre workshop open to women writers of all backgrounds and all levels of experience. Participation is limited to 6/7 writers to ensure individual attention and create an intimate, supportive writing community.

Crafting Unforgettable Characters in Fiction and Non-Fiction

with Sonora Jha

Who are the people in our stories, what are their deepest wounds and wildest desires, and what makes even the loathsome among them sympathetic for your reader? How are your characters’ choices driving the plot forward? We will dig deep and interrogate the characters in your story, subject them to a loving scrutiny, and make them unforgettable on your page. We will draw inspiration from memorable characters in fiction and non-fiction (memoir, essay) and use craft lectures and writing exercises to generate compelling new writing or bring layers to your revisions in your stories. This class is for multi-genre, short or long-form writing – sometimes, the techniques from one genre, when applied to another, can make your writing soar. You will leave with a deeper engagement with your characters, a map of their character arc, and a plan for your writing life in the months to come. 

Sonora Jha is a novelist, essayist, and Professor of Journalism at Seattle University. She was born in India, where she had a successful career as a journalist in Mumbai and Bangalore before moving to Singapore and then the United States. Her debut novel, Foreign (Penguin Random House India, 2013), based on the suicide epidemic among farmers in contemporary India, won critical acclaim and was a finalist for the Hindu Prize for Literary Fiction and the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award. Her recent Op-Eds and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly and The Establishment.  Sonora is the 2016-18 Prose Writer in Residence at the Richard Hugo House, Seattle. She was recently awarded the Barry Lopez Residency at Playa Summer Lake, Oregon. She is an alumna and recent Board President of Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington. She was the 2016 Writer in Residence at Residency L’Ancienne Auberge, France. 

Sonora teaches fiction and essay writing for The Richard Hugo House and for Hedgebrook. She has recently served on the jury for Washington state awards for the Artist Trust and for residency awards for Hedgebrook and Hugo House. 

Dates and Prices

Dates: January 19th * – January 27th, 2019 
Location: Karjat, India
Fee: $3000 to $4400, depending on accommodation preference.

* We will arrange for you to stay at a local Mumbai hotel to shake off your flight before we depart late morning for Karjat in time for lunch on January 19th. 

Application Schedule

Thursday, November 8th, 2018: Priority deadline
November 23rd, 2018: Deposits due
December 7th, 2018: Full payment due


Nestled in the midst of the Sayadhri range on a hillock overlooking the gray-blue waters of the Morbe dam across the stately serpent hill sits Tara. Legend has it that when Lord Vishnu reclined in the position of the sleeping snake, uncoiled, creation took place and Time moved forward. 

In the year 2015, Time moved forward and Tara opened its doors to new stories, amazing conversations and new forms of expression.  

Located in the village of Vavarle in the municipality of Karjat, the property is situated approximately 80 km from Bombay. Karjat is a primarily rural settlement. Its lush valley is punctuated with rivers and waterfalls, dotted with hiking trails and temples. Some of its ancient caves date back to the 1st century BC. 

Tara is a two-storied structure with high ceilings and tall glass windows. It is wrapped with many verandas and terraces and crowned with a rooftop jacuzzi that offers a panoramic view of the hills and valley below. The rooms are large with attached bathrooms and space to read and write. The swimming pool in the front garden is ideal for serious swimming or for splashing and sunbathing! Additionally, there are many cozy and private spaces for reading, writing, and contemplation scattered throughout the property.  

Tara promises to support Hedgebrook’s ‘radical hospitality’ with its own personal touch and indigenous flavors. Food will be local and served fresh and most of the ingredients used will be found growing in the surrounding vegetable patch. Internet will be made available in the common hall. 

A fun fact: Tara and Karjat have been used as settings in the owner’s debut novel ‘Moon Goddess’ published in the US in June 2017. 


If selected, you will be required to send a non-refundable deposit of $1500 to Hedgebrook by November 23rd, 2018 to hold your spot. The balance must be paid in full by December 7th, 2018. Not included – airfare, optional field trips, liquor, wine, and meals outside the retreat.


Class participants are responsible for their own travel. The closest airport is Mumbai, India. Arrange your flight into Mumbai for a January 18/19th arrival (most likely very late at night on the 18th or in the wee early hours of the 19th). Most international flights arrive in Mumbai just after midnight.

We will arrange for you to stay at a local Mumbai hotel to shake off the flight before we all depart as a group together in the late morning for Karjat where we will get you settled into your lodgings and then gather for lunch on January 19th.

The Retreat Experience 

There are both private rooms and double-occupancy rooms available for this class. Each writer will be housed at the private home of our India host with delicious meals and amenities provided. During their stay, writers will enjoy the retreat aspect of this private property with a pool amidst a tropical garden, free time for writing and/or explore nearby sites and an intimate workshop limited to 6/7 students led by Sonora Jha.  

Refund Policy 



Please note: The application is accessible via SlideRoom. Each Master Class has a priority deadline listed below, and classes often fill with a waitlist. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Hedgebrook staff and teachers, so we strongly recommend interested writers apply as soon as possible. We anticipate decisions will be finalized within one week of the priority deadline. 

If you have questions about whether this Master Class is appropriate for you or your project, or any other question about the Series, please be in touch with us at 360-321-4786. 


The priority deadline is Thursday, November 8th, 2018.
The Master Class begins January 19th and ends January 27th, 2019.
The morning of January 27th is the departure day (by 12 noon).