Published: 12th May 2021
How this 26-year-old pro went on to launch the most fun-filled creative writing courses ever!
The Wandering Raven is a platform for young and budding writers who want to deep dive into the waters of creative writing and emerge as a new person altogether. The courses are as fun as they come
Being marooned on an island far, far away, your choices are to set up a base, explore, befriend locals and then become a resident yourself. This is not a video game scenario we are playing out for you, these are different levels of creative writing courses that The Wandering Raven is offering, believe it or not. These game-based courses, with social and emotional learning (SEL) at the centre, are directed at all those young Shakespeares and Wordsworths in the making. The 26-year-old Founder-Director of this platform, who toils away at it relentlessly while pursuing her Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Mind, Brain and Teaching from John Hopkins University of Education, US, is Trishanya Raju who herself has been writing since she was in class III.
Ranger is their first course which builds the foundation, Seeker helps one in setting the tone and so on and Scholar is all about the nitty-gritty
Having taken summer programmes like the National Writer's Program in the US and minored in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan while pursuing her bachelor's, when in 2016 the opportunity came to conduct a creative writing workshop at her alma mater, CHIREC International School, Hyderabad, Trishanya felt fairly confident. What she did not expect was that aspiring student writers would sign up by the truckload. But when the pursuit of her Master's at George Washington University took her to the US again, she built an online platform to keep these courses going. What really enabled her to properly launch The Wandering Raven was winning the GW New Venture Competition in the year 2018 and along with it came $25,000 in cash and kind.
On stage | (Pic: The Wandering Raven)
Come 2020, The Wandering Raven was launched, but owing to the pandemic, they weren't able to set in motion their in-person after-school programmes. "We had to scale down a lot this year because COVID did not spare our staff either. From 200 kids last summer, we came down to 50 and from a team of nine, we are now down to a team of five," says Trishanya who was born in the US. Though they are in survival mode now, their curriculum, the sole credit of whose development goes to the youngsters alone, continues to be top class.
Trishanya has always had a clear-cut idea of what the needs of the curriculum would be and why SEL would play a huge role. "For me, SEL and creative writing go hand-in-hand. Especially when it comes to getting into the minds of the character we are writing about. It gives us an understanding of the world around them," explains the youngster who is also the Academic Innovation Coordinator at CHIREC International School.
Every module has a final assignment with an open-ended prompt on which teachers give detailed and comprehensive feedback
Then there is the role play with the teacher acting as narrator, or even a wizard, while the students are the participants. This includes tasks like writing a haiku to cajole a Sphinx or having the option to slay or fly with a dragon while writing about both experiences. By the end of every course, you would have built a solid portfolio of about 30 pieces of writing, their crash course Scout alone will give you 40, including short stories, poems and more. Each course has about 18 modules and with each and everyone, the literary stakes are higher.
Trishanya | (Pic: The Wandering Raven)
"Currently, the focus is also on developing a comprehensive teacher training programme because we have students from other cities so when the time is right, we will be ready to begin in-person programmes," says Trishanya who, in the meantime, is working on graphic novels, poems for music videos and a research fellowship with University College London.
For more on them check out thewanderingraven.com