Rachna Books Writers Residency

Residency brief

Rachna Books is a bookshop and publishing house opened in 1979 in the capital of the Himalayan State of Sikkim in Northeast India. In the last two decades, the bookshop expanded to include a Café and a B&B on multiple floors. It regularly hosts author interactions and readings, as well as cultural events. Since its expansion, it has hosted writers, poets, artistes, musicians and researchers from the state, the rest of the country, and internationally. It has played – and continues to play – an important role in shaping the contemporary cultural landscape of Gangtok, nurturing new readers and writers within the state – especially among the youth – as well as drawing visitors, writers and institutions to the city. “Northeast Journeys” is a cross-cultural exchange and dialogue platform that includes the eight north-eastern states of India, with yearlong engagements and programmes planned in the context of the place and the people.

Rachna Books Writers Residency is co-founded by Mary Therese Kurkalang and Raman Shresta. The residency aims to provide an engaging and stimulating yet peaceful place for writers to live and write. The French writers from Villa Swagatam will be surrounded by the company of books, living just above a bookshop and opposite the city’s library. In a tailor-made programme, the host will facilitate interactions with the local community and other resident writers and relevant practitioners.

  • Thematic focus Literature / Graphic novels
  • Location Gangtok (Sikkim)
  • Dates June, July, August 2024
  • Length of stay 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the scope of the project

Our Space

Gangtok (Sikkim)

Gangtok is located at an altitude of 1650m. The city’s roads are narrow and steep and some areas are accessible only with steps. Like most mountain towns, it is not disability friendly. Pedestrian friendly barricaded footpaths exist in the most traffic-heavy roads in the city. To get to the city, from the nearest Airport takes about 5-6 hours on road transport. For the above reasons we would recommend that the resident be reasonably fit and comfortable with road transport. The city and state is safe for all genders.

The Rachna Books Writers Residency is on the second floor of a 5 storey building. Café Fiction is on the ground floor and the Rachna Bookstore is located on the first Floor. The residency is being hosted at Bookman’s Bed & Breakfast, comprising of 4 rooms, the resident will stay in one of these rooms. There is also a small, custom library in the residency space. The building is located opposite the Manan Bhawan which houses the State’s library amongst other things (auditorium etc…).

Our Laureates

Simon Lamouret Graphic Novelist

The fragile ecological balance of the Himalayan regions, including Sikkim, is already strongly impacted by the effects of climate change, and this will be a focus point of the stories I’m hoping to curate.

Simon Lamouret is a graphic novelist and illustrator from Toulouse, in the South of France. He studied at the prestigious Beaux-Arts d’Angoulême and Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg. In 2013, he moved to Bangalore where he taught at a design school until 2018. From his experience were born two albums Bangalore (Warum, 2017) and L’Alcazar (Sarbacane, 2020) that capture the bustling city with its construction sites and workers on every corner. L’Alcazar has been published in English by Bharat Murthy. Simon Lamouret regularly works for the comic magazine La Revue dessinée and teaches drawing workshops when he is not traveling for work.