A legendary author, columnist and journalist, Shobha Rajadhyaksha, popularly known as Shobhaa Dé, is one of the foremost pioneers among Indian writers.
A graduate of St Xavier's College, Mumbai with a degree in psychology, De started out as a model before beginning a career in journalism in 1970, during the course of which she founded and edited three magazines – 'Stardust', 'Society' and 'Celebrity'. At present, she is a freelance writer and columnist for several newspapers and magazines and her latest work ‘Lockdown Liaisons’, an anthology of short stories revolving around different aspects of the pandemic, has been highly popular in India and abroad.
“At the time, the world was going through a cataclysmic and unprecedented disaster. It had flattened us all towards becoming equally vulnerable. For me, as a creative person, a writer and a chronicler of our times, it was important for me to record what was going on, not just on a personal level but also how the world was coping and the mechanisms we were employing to stay alive,” she told Connected to India, speaking about what inspired her to write Lockdown Liaisons.
She is married to Dilip De, her second husband and they have six children from their first marriage. She lives in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai.
Shobhaa, through her long and extensive participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival over the years, has mentored and helped out a whole generation of budding writers and enthusiastic readers, and her latest project highlights her teaching and mentoring prowess.
Creative Mentor, an online education platform for the arts that focuses on a diverse range of artistic practices, is set to launch its first recorded Masterclass ‘Shobhaa De Teaches Creative Writing’, in partnership with Knorish. In this course, one can learn the exact steps to writing and publishing a book with Shobhaa De.
The workshop and platform are designed to support and encourage learning, skill enhancement, and maximisation of individual creative potential.
“It is my debut as a recorded artist doing a masterclass although I have been a part of many creative workshops over the years,” Shobhaa said. “A lot of the students at these workshops have gone on to become novelists and writers. That is the most gratifying part of mentorship.”
She also said that while there is no set formula for creating a bestseller, the exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge can help neophyte writers through what can be a very lonely and uphill process.
“There are hundreds of hungry writers out there who want to write as a form of self-expression, not necessarily as a career choice. The first step towards signing up for a class like this is to have a passion to write and to share your writing; to learn from other writers who know what the pitfalls may be and can guide you through the writing process,” she said.
Shobhaa pointed out that a writing workshop cannot be a conventional class; rather its main purpose is to stimulate budding writers and fan their enthusiasm.
Creative Mentor was founded in May 2021 by the locally recognised event company Teamwork Productions, initially focusing on the performing arts and then expanding into other areas.
The firm has successfully completed many online courses till date. Like ‘Art of Acting with Lilette Dubey’ in June 2021, followed by ‘Song Writing with Victoria Horn’, ‘Raga Harmony with Dr L Subramaniam’, ‘Script Writing with Rajat Kapoor’, ‘Raag Rageshree with Kaushiki Chakraborty’ and ‘Find the Sparkle in your voice with Corinne Gibbons’. Designed for unprecedented intensive interaction with mentors, these courses offer an enriching perspective and experience.
Recently, the first live session ‘Masterclass on Bollywood Music by Sheykhar Ravjiani’ was held at Arts House, Singapore.
Shobhaa’s latest session provides the participant the flexibility to view or review the course at their own pace.