|Country of origin||India|
|Headquarters location||169/92, Lake Gardens, Kolkata 700045, India|
|Nonfiction topics||Literary criticism|
|Fiction genres||Poetry, Drama, Novels, Translations|
Writers Workshop is a Calcutta-based literary publisher founded by the poet-professor Purushottama Lal in 1958. Over the next few decades it published many new authors of post-independence urban literature. Many of these authors later became important.
The Writers Workshop company was first founded as a group of eight writers (Lal, Deb Kumar Das, Anita Desai, Sasthibrata Chakravarti writing as Sasthi Brata, William Hull, Jail Ratan, Kewlian Sio, and Pradip Sen) in 1958. It was an initiative of Purushottama Lal (1929–2010), a professor of English at St. Xavier's College, Calcutta.
Although it mainly publishes Indian writing in English, it has also published books in other modern Indian languages. To date, the press has published over 3500 titles of poetry, novels, drama, and other literary works, with two focuses: experimental literature of the present day, and translations from Sanskrit and other classical Indian languages.
Writers Workshop of India has published the first books by many authors who have gone on to become famous, including A. K. Ramanujan, Asif Currimbhoy, Agha Shahid Ali, Adil Jussawalla, Arun Kolatkar, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Chandrakant Bakshi, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Gieve Patel, Hoshang Merchant, Jayanta Mahapatra, Joe Winter, Keki Daruwalla, Kamala Das, Meena Alexander, Mani Rao, Nissim Ezekiel, Pritish Nandy, Poile Sengupta, R. Parthasarathy, Ruskin Bond, Shiv Kumar, Saleem Peeradina, Vikram Seth, and William Hull among others.
As Writers Workshop enters its sixth decade of existence, it has become an extremely important part of the literary history of India. Its titles are printed as hand-loom[clarification needed] sari-bound[clarification needed] volumes with exquisite calligraphy on them. Throughout its history, this alternative publishing venture has published authors without a distribution system to back it.[clarification needed] Perhaps the most important publishing venture Writers Workshop has undertaken is Lal's translation of the entire Indian epic Mahabharata in 18 volumes (appearing 2005–2009).
After Purushottama Lal's death in 2010, his family members now run his publishing house. He has a son Ananda Lal who is a professor, and a daughter, Srimati Lal ( Artist, Author and Curator: published by her father as an original poet in 'The Window', pub. Writers Workshop, 1986; she is also the publisher and author of the definitive anthology of essays on P. Lal and Writers Workshop, 'FLOWERS FOR MY FATHER', pub. 2011, http://fullcirclebooks.in/node/59492 ; and is the illustrator of several Writers Workshop books of fiction and poetry in collaboration with her father, including: DRAGONS by Kewlian Sio, THE SAFFRON CAT, THE MAGIC MANGO TREE, THE MAHABHARATA and THE THREE RIDDLES by P. Lal, THE WINDOW and THE WARRIORS by Srimati Lal, and several other Writers Workshop publications where she worked in collaboration with her father P. Lal. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srimati_Lal / http://www.srimatilal.com )
- "Writers’ Workshop completed 50 years of literary glory". Indian Express. October 4, 2008.
- "P Lal and the Writer's Workshop story". Business Standard. November 9, 2010.
- "City remembers a great scholar & human". The Times of India (Kolkata, India). November 14, 2010.
- "I Remember An Idyll". Tehelka Magazine 8 (2). January 15, 2011.