The Art of the Memoir: How to tell your Story

An Online Weekend Course


Sonia Faleiro

Course Dates

19th, 20th and 26th March 2022


INR 4,000


3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Course Faculty

Sonia Faleiro

Sonia Faleiro is the author of The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing, which was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars, which was named a book of the year by The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and The Economist. She is the founder of South Asia Speaks, a literary mentorship, and the philanthropic initiative Artists for India, as well as the co-founder of Deca, a global journalism cooperative. Her writing has been supported by the Pulitzer Centre, The Investigative Fund, and The Society of Authors. She is a Royal Literary Fellow based in London.

Guest Speaker

Day 1 – March 19

Ruchika Soi

Born and raised in New Delhi, Ruchika did her undergraduate studies in History at Lady Shri Ram college and obtained her Bachelors of Law at Delhi University. She worked at the news magazine India Today before getting enticed into the world of art. Ruchika gained her qualifications in Art History at the British Museum, UK and the National Museum, New Delhi. After working at Bowring’s Fine Art Auctioneers, New Delhi, she went on to curate exhibitions in India and abroad to promote emerging artists. Over the years she contributed articles pertaining to art and culture in many travel magazines.
An avid reader, who also enjoys long walks on the beach, Ruchika is most in her element exploring rock-cut architecture in places that are off the beaten track. Presently she can be found conducting tours at various museums in Delhi, happy to be sharing knowledge and ensuring her audience leaves with a piece of “Incredible India” etched in their minds.

Day 2 – March 20

Pragya Agarwal

Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist, visiting professor of Social Inequities at Loughborough University in the UK, and founder of research think-tank ‘The 50 Percent Project’ that examines gender and racial inequities around the world. Pragya is the author of a number of scholarly articles, and three non-fiction books. ‘Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias’ was published in 2020 with Bloomsbury and was nominated one of best popular science books of 2020, Guardian Book of the Week and shortlisted for the Transmission Prize. ‘Wish We Knew What To Say: Talking With Children about Race’ was also published in 2020 and ‘(M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman’ was published in June 2021. Her next book HYSTERICAL is out in September 2022.

Besides non-fiction books for adults, Pragya has also recently written her first book for children titled Stand up to Racism published by Hachette. Her writing has appeared in Guardian, Prospect, Forbes, BBC Science Focus, Scientific American and New Scientist amongst others, and her creative non-fiction writing also appears in several literary magazines. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and has appeared on BBC Woman’s Hour. NPR, Radio 5 live, BBC Breakfast, ABC and many other international media platforms.

Vivek Tejuja

Besides wanting to swim in a sea of books, Vivek loves food and cats. An accidental writer, he indulges in solitude and wishes there was more time to write and read. Vivek believes in the complete providence of fate. His memoir,  So Now You Know: Growing Up Gay  in India was published in 2019, and the second memoir, Strange Bedfellows  is out in December 2022.

Day 3 – March 26

Kushanava Chaudhury

Kushanava Choudhury grew up in Calcutta and New Jersey. After graduating from Princeton University he worked as a reporter at the Statesman in Calcutta. He went on to receive a PhD in Political Theory from Yale University before returning to Calcutta to write a book about the city. The Epic City is his first book.

Faiza Khan

More information soon..

About The Course

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably taken a photograph. Either of the things around you, or if you’re feeling vain, of yourself. As selfies and social media  become an ubiquitous feature of today’s digital age, we are constantly reminded of the human desire for self-documentation. William Zinsser described a memoir as “a window into a life, very much like a photograph.”  Today, as we document the self, we are asking the questions at the heart of memoir writing–what do we keep in, and what do we keep out? What makes a story interesting without appearing self-absorbed? What light do we frame ourselves, and our memories in?

This course will explore these questions through a mixture of readings, author interactions, as well as reflective writing exercises. Students will be introduced to South Asian memoirs across a range of styles and genres; from Baby Haldar’s memoir of caste to Kushnava Chaudhury’s memoir of a city; from a memoir of motherhood to the celebrity memoir that captures the public imagination. 

Apart from reading, students will also hone their writing skills and receive editorial feedback. They will get exposure to the publishing industry through interactions with recently published memoirists and connect with other writers. By the end of the course, they will have a broader understanding of the possibilities of the memoir, as well as the hands-on experience of trying to write their own. Whether you are a total novice or a seasoned storyteller, this course will help you tap into the potential of your unique experience, and empower you with the right tools to tell the story that only you can tell.

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    Course Objectives

    Experience New Learning & Mental Models on Important Topics

    Gain Exposure to Diverse Readings, Research and Resources

    Learn to Engage in Critical Debate & Discussion

    Expand your Perspective across Disciplinary Boundaries

    Develop Analytical & Critical Thinking Faculties

    Madhavi Menon

    Professor of English, Ashoka University

    Director, Centre for Studies in Gender & Sexuality

    Director of the PhD Programme in English

    Ph.D. Tufts University

    Madhavi Menon is an eminent theorist and scholar of gender, sexuality, politics, and identity. 

    She joined Ashoka University in 2013 as one of its founding faculty members. She went on to establish the university’s Centre for Gender & Sexuality Studies (CSGS), which is the first of its kind in India. Previously, she was a professor at Ithaca College and American University

    Most prominently known for her work on queer theory and Shakespeare, she has also edited the collection Shakesqueer and written three books on Shakespeare and sexuality. She is also most recently the author of Infinite Varieties: A History of Desire in India and Law of Desire: Rulings on Sex & Sexuality in India. 

    In addition to being Director of CSGS, she is the Director of the Ph.D. programme in English and Professor of English at Ashoka University.