Applications for this mentorship are accepted year round. Submit an application when you're ready to begin.
*Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive a formal acceptance notification via email.
Click HERE to Apply Now
Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
The Ideal Applicant for this mentorship program is someone who is either getting their feet wet or has already jumped into the world of Food & Travel writing. Participants will work directly with Varud on understanding this genre and the various flavors it can take (from Bourdain to Lonely Planet), they will be pushed to find their voice and personality in writing, understand the basics of storytelling and structure to craft their own pieces, and how to weave personal narratives to take readers along for the ride. Participants are advised to already have themes and ideas to explore, so that by the end of the three months they will have a finished and polished article or essay with a strategy for getting it out into the world!
But, the truth of being an author is a lot more than just writing itself. Together with Varud, writers will explore the realities of Food & Travel writing, how to plan and budget research trips, and even work towards getting their first (or one of many) pieces submitted to publications.
The goal of the three months is to have a finished and polished work, a pitch, and a strategy of getting your essays published in their right home. Varud cannot promise your essay will get published, of course, but if you stick with the program, it’s very likely!
Students should be enthusiastic, prepared, and ready to pursue the most of this opportunity. They will dig deep together to unearth a creative process that works best for participants and polish the work to be the truest reflection of the craft.
This mentorship is meant to encourage, motivate, and inspire, and push you out of your comfort zone. Writers accepted into the program will already have a basic knowledge of the tools and craft of creative writing and are looking for an intensive experience without the cost of a graduate program. Interested applicants will understand that growth in craft requires critique, consistent work, and an eagerness to learn.
Varud will guide writers, though many writers revise their work dozens of times, and often the finished product can be drastically different than a first draft. Entire narrative threads might be added; others may be cut. Participants in this workshop will be challenged to develop the ability to see their own essays with fresh eyes and ask crucial questions about what is working and what isn’t.
This mentorship will consist of Varud giving extensive feedback and advice from his personal experience as a bestselling author. Critique will focus on strengths, but also on weaknesses. Varud will recommend craft books and/or articles, or recommend essays and essay collections tailored to each unique writer’s needs.
You will be able to send Varud questions and talk through any roadblocks you run into at any time over the three months, but scheduled meetings will occur every two weeks. You will be expected to submit TWENTY pages or less of your essay(s) every two weeks for direct feedback, and then discuss it at the bi-weekly meetings.
You will also be given new resources from the instructor every two weeks such as: writing tips, structuring the essay, how to get an agent, realities of the publishing world, and the hardships that come with.
Writers will submit/share a process-letter (1-2 pages) detailing the work they’ve accomplished and their areas of concern and success for the month.
Since the course is online, these resources will be in the form of readings, assigned videos, handouts, etc., rather than lecture. Varud will be available to expand on any of these resources and help you on your writing journey so you can get your essay ready for publication.
Mentor’s Monthly Input:
- One-on-one meeting between mentor and mentee
- In-line comments and critique letter on submitted essay(s)
- A monthly reading list tailored to your areas of need and interest
- Monthly suggestions of outlets to send your work
- Based on each month’s accomplishments, mentor will assign new readings, podcasts, books, films, or exercises to aid in personal writing growth
- Availability over email and phone to answer questions and provide encouragement.
The 3 Month Personal Essay Revision Entails:
- One-on-one mentoring
- Bi-weekly meetings
- Personalized roadmap for achieving your project goals
- Goals and benchmarks to ensure accountability
- Access to mentor via email for questions for three months
- Monthly critique of pages, including line notes and a specific feedback for improvement and revisions
- Personalized readings and assignments based on your specific development needs
- Writing and revision exercises
- Learn how to read like a writer
- Resources and ideas for contests, residencies, and grants to apply for/submit to.
Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:
- Participate in one-on-one meeting.
- Send pages to mentor based on individual project goals negotiated with mentor
- Create a process-reflection letter discussing achievements and areas of growth and challenge for the month.
- Read articles or craft books/podcasts/videos mentor assigns to aid growth in specific areas
- Participate in a monthly one-on-one session with mentor to review individual progress and areas of growth and challenge.
Full Tuition for the 3-month program is $1,900. Accepted writers must commit to the full three months and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Affirm at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Additional Program Information:
Tuition is $1,900
Applications accepted year round. Apply now.
The Mentorship is fully online and students may participate from anywhere.
NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this program.
Mentor Varud Gupta is the award-winning writer of the travelogue Food of the Gods, published by Penguin, which won Gourmands Award for “Peace” and “First Cookbook” and is currently in development as a TV documentary series. Varud's work also frequently appear in National Geographic Traveller and other online publications usually exploring topics from road trips through Italy to deep dives into the histories of beverages. He is currently working on a memoir, a quirky collection of stories about a ‘millennial existential crises’ which propelled him to quit a short-lived stint as a management consultant to travel and eat his way across the globe. Before this life, he received his bachelors in Finance from New York University.
Praise for Food of the Gods:
- An ideal read for today’s divisive times. - Scroll.in
- Deft, poignant and stirring. - The Hindu
- Guaranteed to make an impact in the world of Indian cuisine. - Outlook Traveller
About Food of the Gods:
The rice beer bellies of a Christian village in Meghalaya; food fed to departed Zoroastrian souls; a Kolkata-based Jewish community in decline; Tibetan monks who first serve Preta, the hungry ghost; and fifty-six-course feasts of the Jagannath temple. These are the stories in Bhagwan Ke Pakwaan (or, food of the gods), a cookbook-cum-travelogue exploring the connection between food and faith through the communities of India. There are legends and lore, angsty perspectives, tangential anecdotes, a couple of life lessons and a whole lot of food.