I am a novelist and short story writer. My debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian, Wales) was published in 2015. My short stories have appeared in several journals and magazines in the UK and internationally, including Litro, Wasafiri, Tears in the Fence, The Bangalore Review, Structo, Eleven Eleven Journal. They have also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and been broadcast on the BBC Radio 4. I recently won first prize for memoir writing at the Winchester Writers' Festival, 2016.
I offer creative writing workshops in schools, university settings and in the lifelong learning sector as well. I have facilitated workshops for Macmillan Cancer Centre, the library and at the Plymouth Museum and Art Galleries. In December 2015, I travelled to India and worked with the British Council Libraries in Mumbai and Pune to facilitate workshops to several schools across the cities. I have been invited by writers groups to give talks and conduct writing sessions with them. I do author visits to schools as well.
With my first degree in design and applied art and music, I like to integrate all three to create workshops that incorporate all these disciplines.
As I was born and educated in India, I like to introduce the multi-cultural aspect of literature and art into my workshops. I also go into schools to talk about diversity, art and creativity.
I have appeared in literary festivals such as The Plymouth International Book Festival, The Penzance Literary Festival, Whitleigh Words Festival, Tagore Festival (Dartington, Devon)and New Under The Sun, Cardiff.
I am also an English tutor, teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English to Speaker of other languages (ESOL) at Plymouth University and other language schools. I conduct courses for further learning organisations.
I have an MA with distinction in the Practice and teaching of Creative Writing from Cardiff University, and I won a mentoring bursary from Literature Wales to work on my novel in 2008. I also have a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) and A Diploma in Applied Art.
Susmita Bhattacharya: List of Publications
Novel: A Normal State of Mind (Parthian), March 2015
Radio:The Summer of Learning – BBC Radio 4, The Time Being
Aleppo Dreams (Reprinted): Flash Flood NFFD Journal, June 2016
Good Golly Miss Molly: Commuterlit, April 2016 (Highly commended at Frome Festival short Story Prize 2014)
Mind Games: Spelk Fiction, March 2016
Pizza Night – 101 words.org, January 2016
The Romance of the Lunch Hour – Refugees Welcome anthology
Spider – The Lonely Crowd, July 2015
Letters Home (reprinted) – Secondary Character and other stories, Wales Short Story Network, July 2015
Table Manners – Beyond the Border anthology, Dahlia Publishing, October 2014
The Romance of the Mountain Railway: Railonama, Good Times Books, India, August 2014
The Perceptiveness of Parrots: Aerogramme, July 2014
Flowers for the Lady (reprinted): Flash Flood NFFD Journal, June 2014
Aleppo Dreams: The Lampeter Review, May 2014
Steady On: Flash, The International Short-Short Story Magazine, University of Chichester, 2014
Letters Home: Rarebit: New Welsh Writing anthology, Parthian Books, January 2014
Where Do Dreams Disappear? – Eleven Eleven Journal, California College of the Arts, January 2014
Comfort Food: Structo Magazine, January 2014 (Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2014)
Marked: Published in Penguin Unplugged in October 2013
Study of a Boy with an Aeroplane: Stories for Pictures, October 2013
Flowers for the Lady: Far Flung and Foreign Anthology, October 2013
The Luxury of Quiet Contemplation: Lakeview International Journal, India, August 2013
My Tigress Wife: Tears in the Fence magazine, August 2013
Going Home: Stories for Homes Anthology for the Shelter Charity, August 2013
Gold Dusted Fingertips: Running out of Ink Webzine, published July 2013
Redemption: Thick Jam Flash Fiction Journal, May 2013
God at your doorstep: Litro Online, Friday Flash Fiction, February 2013
Skin: The View From Here Literary Ezine: December (2012)
Growing Tomatoes: Planet – The Welsh Internationalist Magazine, Wales, 2012
Mango Season, A Holiday to Remember, Moving On, www.commuterlit.com, Canada, 2012
Waiting: Blue Tattoo, Wales 2012
Crossing Over: Winner of short story competition, Me magazine (India), 2010
Beasts of Eden: Litro magazine, London, 2009
The Child Goddess: 25th anniversary issue, Wasafiri, Journal for International Writing, 2009
The Lunchbox: The Statesman Festival Anthology, India, 2008
Dusk Over Atlantic Wharf: Tell Tales Anthology Volume 3 Edited by Julia Bell and Nii Ayikwei Parkes, UK 2006
Meeting Munni: BBC website 2006
The Prophecy: BBC website 2006
Rain: Roundyhouse Poetry magazine, Wales, 2009
Playing with fire: Roundyhouse Poetry magazine, Wales, 2009
Dusk in Delaware, Cardiff memories: ‘Anterliwt’, a broadsheet produced by The Cardiff University Centre of Lifelong Learning, 2007
Touchstone- A Cancer Diary, Winner of Memoir Writing at Winchester Writers' Festival
My Chemo Brain: Mslexia, June 2016
The 6:13 Ladies Local: Riptide Journal, University of Exeter, June 2014
At Home, At Sea: Memoir of a Life at Sea: Commonwealth Writers ‘Correspondents Project’ March, 2016
Reviews and Features
Thoughts of Home – Thresholds, Home of the international short story forum, October 2014
Book Review of Fragments of Riversong by Farah Ghaznavi – Jaggery, A Desilit Arts and Literature Journal, November 2014
These Seven (Review) - Thresholds, Home of the international short story forum, December 2015
Rainsong (Review) – Jaggery, A Desilit Arts and Literature Journal, January, 2016
Awards and Commendations:
Touchstone - A Cancer Diary: First prize for Memoir Writing, Winchester Writers' Festival, 2016
Big Girls Don't Cry: Shortlisted for the WOW Worthing Children's Writing Competition, 2016
Boats On Land - Stories of the Magical and the Real: Shortlisted for the Thresholds Feature Writing competition, 2016
Runner up at Plymouth International Book Festival Flash Fiction Slam, 2015
From one’s own perspective – Shortlisted for the Thresholds Feature Writing competition, 2015
Comfort Food: Nominated for Pushcart Prize, 2014
Good Golly Miss Molly: Frome Festival Writing prize 2014
Crossing Over: Sulekha Short Story prize (India) 2010
Poetry prize from Plymouth City Council for ‘The Gorilla’, 2010
Poetry prize from Plymouth City Council for ‘The Story of Diwali’, 2009
Mentoring scheme of Academi, the Welsh National Literature Promotion Agency and Society for Authors (Literature Wales), for the novel, The Normal State of Mind, 2008-09
Susmita was invited to the 2015 Penzance Literary Festival to talk about her novel The Normal State of Mind. Her session was well attended and much enjoyed. Susmita is a very engaging and thought-provoking speaker, who draws a warm response from her audience. It was a pleasure to welcome her to our festival, and we very much hope she will come again! I unhesitatingly recommend her to other literary events.
Organiser, Penzance Literary Festival
Susmita has worked in two roles at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. Her latest was delivering a talk about her new book as part of our lunch time lecture series. The talk was very well received and gave the audience a mouth-watering insight into some of the food styles enjoyed in India. The other was as our resident tutor for a weekly creative writing group. This took place some years ago, but I know from group feedback that the participants all warmed to Susmita, enjoyed her classes and felt that they were well structured and achievable. I would have no hesitation in recommending Susmita for other similar positions and have her firmly in mind for anything that crops up here in the future!
Learning Development Officer
Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery
During 2015 I ran The Whitleigh Words Festival. Susmita ran several word workshops during the year which were very popular with the local residents. Susmita's skills are very high with the added flavour of fun, in fact, it was sad when the workshops came to an end.
Susmita is very highly regarded by our residents who attended her workshops and I would always recommend this talented lady to others who have plans to run similar events.
Founder of Whitleigh Arts, Plymouth
Susmita Bhattacharya published her first novel in 2015 and offered to host a series of workshops for patients who attend the Mustard Tree Cancer Support Centre at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. The idea was initially presented to the Centre Manager and me. Susmita suggested a creative writing workshop whereby participants could develop skills in expressing their thoughts and emotions, or keep a diary of their personal journey. Many patients find this activity cathartic but will sometimes struggle to get started.
The workshops were greeted enthusiastically and proved popular with patients. Patients were invited to offer comments about their views and experiences of the workshop. I have included a selection of the very positive feedback the centre team received from those who attended.
• This was a wonderful opportunity to make my creative energy come to the fore. I really enjoyed it – thank you very much Susmita. Aside from being interesting it was also fun, enjoyable and relaxed. I’m already looking forward to coming again next week!
• This was a lovely opportunity to voice that “unknown” lying within. Fabulously stimulating and would very much value exploring this further. Thank you Susmita. Thank you Mustard Tree for providing the space to make this possible. Searching for meaningful ways to live my “new normal” life it was good to have this taster.
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Susmita has worked on the annual Plymouth University Summer School since it started in 2011 and has had two main roles – EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Tutor and facilitating Creative Writing workshops.
She has been a part of this summer school each year which invites overseas students from partnership institutions to live, study and explore with Plymouth University for 4 weeks each summer.
Her sessions (be it EFL or Creative Writing) are always well structured, inventive, fun and engaging which proves very popular with the visiting students. Susmita is well liked by both staff and students and her personable nature means she excels at interacting with people from different countries and backgrounds.
These sessions are always well received with student feedback being consistently positive. Her contributions to our summer school blog and social media presence also show how much fun students have when engaging with her.
Susmita is a pleasure to work with and I recommend her without reservation. I am confident that she would excel in similar events and I just hope she’s free to work on our next summer school!
Senior Event Organiser, Plymouth University
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