Rebirth Your Book

A Journey To The Centre Of Your Writing Self


Fort Kochi   Apply Now

Namaste From Fort Kochi


When you started, your vision was clear. Now you're in the muddled middle, mired in the "current" draft, wondering why you ever began this crazy project in the first place.

You need a helping hand.

A guide, teacher and coach who can analyze what YOUR book needs.A startlingly new, imagination-stimulating, heart-freeing location to revive your creative self away from the familiar, the mundane, and the routine. Where every day your senses will encounter the unexpected.

A workshop for new discoveries and shared energy with fellow writers facing the same challenges.

One-on-one time to discuss your book, your challenges, your goals—whatever you most need to explore on this intimate journey within your writing. And a work plan tailored to your writing style and goals—to finish the draft and take the next step on the journey to publication.

For hundreds of years, the cycle of reincarnation and regeneration has played out in Fort Kochi, India. A meeting of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Jain faiths on the Malabar Coast. A safe harbor nestled on a breezy peninsula in the state of Kerala. An Old Town cradle of art galleries and heritage buildings, bustling waterfront and quiet backstreets.

Rediscover your memoir’s passion and your desire for the page. Renew your writer self as a stranger in a strange land. Transform your next draft from a dreaded chore to a driving vision.

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The Work


Make Your Time Count

This isn't chanting circles. This is roll up our sleeves, rip apart the manuscript, and reshape it into something new.

One to One Sessions

Each morning, we write. Warming up with personalized exercises designed to tease through the tangles in your draft.

Workshop Your Pages

In a supportive, frank environment. (We'll tell you what's working, but we know you're here to get better, and supportive, specific critique is what you need, not soft-soap.)

Chai and Coffee

Upscale cafes, laid-back coffee-shops and darling tuk-tuks for comfortable sightseeing at street level.

Drift through the sights

Bird-feeding at the Jain Temple; quiet time in the Synagogue, traditional kathakali dance, historic forts and contemporary galleries.

Retail Therapy

Luxuriate with Ayurvedic spas, massage and yoga. Barter with local artisans or delight in the history of Mattancherry Palace

After Sunset

Either on the beach or by the rooftop pool we’ll gather for writing talk and readings from our own work and work we admire.

Dinner on the roof

Or at one of the fabulous local seafood restaurants, enjoy the best fare Kerala has to offer.

Location, Location, Location

The elegant surroundings of the wine bar at the Malabar House heritage hotel. a perfect backdrop for readings.


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Meet Your Coach

Your Coach


Allison K Williams is the "I" in "I Do Words". Guerrilla memoirist, essayist, travel journalist, speaker and writing coach, whose diverse and colourful adventures have laid the foudations for her writings on race, culture and comedy for publications & institutions ranging from National Public Radio to The New York Times.
Her fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres, Smokelong Quarterly and Deep South; essays in Kenyon Review Online, The Drum and Brevity. Her humor writing was a Mark Twain Award winner; she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. As a storyteller, Allison has appeared onstage at London's Theatre Royal and Rich Mix, India's Filocafe, and is a two-time winner of The Moth StorySLAM.
She has been a Peter Taylor Fellow at the Kenyon Writers Workshop with Dinty W. Moore; an Associate Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts with Rick Moody; and has received grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.

Allison is the Social Media Editor at Brevity, and the host of the Brevity Podcast. Additional information can be found here.

Getting help with your writing is NOT ADMITTING FAILURE, it’s part of doing everything you can to succeed, a way of getting perspective on yourself and your work so you can see more clearly.

Every single writer gets advice, notes, feedback and perspective from someone – usually from several people – on every draft, or in mid-draft if they hit a snag, lose momentum, lose heart or lose perspective. It’s a natural part of the process because you inevitably get lost in the trees in the course of any long-form writing project and need an outside eye to help you see the forest.

A writing coach is some combination of producer, editor, therapist, cheerleader, strategist, market watcher and psychic advisor each with their own style and bag of tricks.

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Location Fort Kochi


Fort Kochi, India is a town of many lives. Hindu, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Mysorean, British, and Indian again. A meeting of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Jain faiths on the Malabar Coast.
A safe harbor nestled on a breezy peninsula in the state of Kerala. Home of the first woman legislator in India (1925!). An Old Town cradle of art galleries and heritage buildings, bustling waterfront and quiet backstreets, St. Francis’ Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, and the oldest synagogue in India. For hundreds of years, the cycle of reincarnation and regeneration has played out here.

Fort Kochi is steeped in history, but decked out with all "mod cons" as they say, with a strong tourism industry used to introducing newcomers (even timid ones!) to the native food, customs, traditions and arts.

You will be welcome here.

With your shining ideas and messy draft, your eager tongue and fussy digestion, with your adventurous heart and your trepidation, Fort Kochi extends a warm and enthusiastic welcome.

Or as you will be accustomed to hearing during our time together, Namaste.

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Itinerary


Just Enough To See

You'll be delighted, amazed and surprised every day, excited to be out touring and glad to be in writing. There's always time for a nap (it's hot!). You'll be well-oriented the first few days, with knowledge of local customs, the best neighborhoods, and a working mobile phone.

Midweek

You'll have time to explore on your own (and with your new writer buddies). At the end of the week, we'll 4x4 off on a glorious overnight field trip, floating on fully-crewed houseboats through the fabled Backwaters of Kerala, including a visit to a traditional village.

The Program

Limited to six participants, in order to give each writer the pre-workshop evaluation, in-class attention, and post-workshop planning they need. Workshops convene from 9 am to 12 pm or from 1 pm to 4pm, with lunch shared by the whole group from noon to 1pm.

Private Consultations

During your private consultation, we can talk about goals, publication, review your query letter, etc. Including a follow-up call two weeks after you return home.

Arrivals

Participants may come a day or two early so they are refreshed for morning class. If you wish to arrive early, let us know and we can extend your lodging for a small additional cost; we can also arrange your included airport pickup on the day you arrive.

Extended Visits

If you wish to spend additional time sightseeing in India, we’re happy to provide personal recommendations and can connect you with a local travel agency for in-country arrangements.

First Timers

If this is your first visit to India, we recommend you extend your tourism after Fort Kochi rather than coming to us later in your trip. India can be a little overwhelming to first-time visitors, and your time in Cochin will help you acclimate to the food, weather, customs and time zone

Dress Code

Fort Kochi is more liberal than most areas of India; we recommend ankle-length bottoms and covered shoulders for all genders in other parts of the country.

No Barriers

All classes and activities are in English. Our fun introductory lesson to the local area and customs will include some useful Malayalam phrases.


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Lodging & Meals


Even though your retreat is designed to be a challenging work away from home experience, we've decided not to pursue the Spartan Agoge model of accomodation.

The Xandari Harbour is a stylish, upscale hotel overlooking the harbor and a convenient 4-minute walk from Fort Kochi Ferry Station. Only a kilometre (two thirds of a mile) from the 16th century Mattancherry Palace and 13 km from shopping on Marine Drive.

Airy rooms without TVs feature free Wi-Fi, minifridges, and tea and coffeemaking facilities; some are along the water, others offer private gardens or picture windows. Upgraded suites add living areas. Room service is available.

Indian or continental breakfast is served in an exotic restaurant, which serves Mediterranean cuisine. There's also an infinity pool offering views over the harbor.

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Need Answers?


Booking Enquiries
We recommend travel & trip cancellation insurance. If you are unable to attend, and we are able to fill your place from the waiting list, we will refund your tuition minus the initial deposit. If we can’t fill your place, we’ll provide you with documentation to support a claim to your travel insurance provider.
Places are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. Your deposit secures your acceptance, final payment secures your place. Once all 6 places are filled, your details will go onto the waiting list in the event of a cancellation.
Companion fees are available (For a travel partner or family members not taking part in the workshop and sharing your room. This includes lodging, group meals, group activities, tours and airport transfers. It does not include workshops, one-on-one coaching, or manuscript/portfolio evaluation).
Payment through PayPal, American Express, WorldPay, Visa etc. A Credit Card handling charge of 5% is applied.
Travel
eVisa for citizens of most countries (US$75 for US and UK citizens, $50 for most other citizenships).
Airport transfers provided in and out of Cochin International Airport (COK). If you’re arriving or departing by train, pick-ups will also be arranged at the Ernakulam station. The Cochin bus station is a short ferry ride from Fort Kochi.
Most of Fort Kochi is walkable. For excursions to nearby Mattancherry and our in-town sightseeing tour, we'll have tuk-tuks at our disposal. For personal trips afield, we have a list of recommended tuk-tuk drivers. We'll also give you a list of appropriate fares for local destinations so you're on a good footing for negotiating your own trips with outside drivers.
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Refer to the CDC Website for India for travel specifics.
Malaria is a risk in any country with high mosquito populations. Take professional advice if required.
Once you arrive at the Cochin International Airport, we've got you. You'll be met by one of our staff and ushered to a minibus or private car for the 90-minute trip to Fort Kochi. The ride passes through central Kochi, giving a wonderful view of everyday life. You'll arrive at the doorstep of your lodging with time to unpack and freshen up before the welcome dinner.
Workshops
We're not a big organization, so right now we're unable to offer scholarships. We do encourage interested participants to take advantage of either our early bird discount or our payment plan, whichever best suits your budget. And if you're interested in offering a scholarship to another writer in 2019, please let us know!
Allison will review each writer's manuscript prior to arrival in Fort Kochi. During the Rebirth week, you'll have a scheduled one-on-one meeting to discuss your manuscript and your writing challenges. Feel free to bring questions or specific concerns about your book, your writing, and your writing career. Throughout the week, we'll also have casual-chat time, and you're welcome to start/participate in writing-related discussions just about anywhere.
Yes. Really! In order to give each writer the individual and specific attention their manuscript needs, the class size is limited to six.
  • Airport transfers in and out of Cochin International Airport (COK).
  • Complimentary local phone SIM.
  • Transport and guide.
  • Train, pick-ups will also be arranged at the Ernakulam station.
  • Transport and guides for all group outings
  • Houseboat tour of Kerala backwaters, including dinner, breakfast & lunch.
  • A visit to elephant sanctuary.
  • Train, pick-ups will also be arranged at the Ernakulam station.
  • Excursions, activities, entry fees and shows on group outings.
  • Daily breakfast with Western and Indian options.
  • Water, coffee and chai throughout breakfast and workshops.
  • Most lunches as indicated on itinerary, including water/non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Welcome snacks and drinks.
  • Farewell snacks and drinks.
  • Tips for guides and drivers on group outings.
  • Cost of flights.
  • Cost of eVisa.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Hotel incidentals such as laundry, mini-bar, calls, room service etc.
  • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) at evening events and on tours and excursions.
  • Personal expenses/shopping/souvenirs.
  • Transport on non-group exploration (we will orient you with normal costs for tuk-tuks and the hotel can call drivers respectful of the agreed-upon fare).
Safety
The vast majority of Indians are friendly, warm, hospitable and helpful. English is widely spoken, most navigation apps work with a local SIM, and Uber is available across Kerala.

Sexual harassment is much less common in Fort Kochi than in the big cities or rural areas, and the tourism industry here employs a lot of people who are invested in you having a pleasant time. You are unlikely to be hassled for wearing clothing that reveals your legs.
In many developing nations, begging is a career path of sorts, and we encourage you to avoid giving to child beggars. While it's hard to turn them down, giving money teaches the adult controlling that kid that child-begging pays. Part of your tuition goes to CHARITY, which BENEFITS, and if you'd like to make more donations or become involved as a short-term volunteer, we can connect you with other local charities. In the case of adult beggars, it's truly up to you. If you think you're likely to want to give, keep some small notes in a handy pocket so you don't have to open up your purse--it's faster and less awkward.

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