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…).

Residency conditions

  • The resident will be provided with on-site accommodation, which includes an en suite bathroom and toilets, a private balcony, workstation with writing table and stable internet. The resident will be provided with a collective working place at the bookshop and at the Café in the same building. The resident will have access to a common kitchen.
  • The resident’ travel costs to and from his home address will be covered by the French Institute in India.
  • The Residency will provide the resident with three meals a day, with tea/coffee available upon request.
  • The resident will receive a fixed stipend of INR. 30,000 to cover other living expenses.
  • The resident should be willing to devote up to 20% of his residency time to participate in lectures, workshops, conferences in local schools/ universities, or any other cultural activities organised by IFI or the Alliance Française network. The resident is expected to participate in a public event at the end of the residency.
  • At the end of the residency, the resident is expected to produce a short written piece about his experience, in a free format, that could be published in France or India and that will testify of his experience of the residency.

Eligibility criteria

  • The resident must have a working knowledge of English.
  • The residency itself is on the second floor of a building and can only be accessed by stairs.
  • The resident must have one book or album (minimum) published by a French publishing house.