Writer in Residence

Literary Secrets

By Manahil Bandukwala

And this is my last post as Writer-in-Residence with Open Book, and I’m grateful to you for reading and revelling in poetry-world with me. I didn’t know how to start this, or how to quantify the month’s worth of posts in writing, so I did what every poet does and I went for a walk in the rain.

I feel like I owe so much to where I am as a poet to the wealth of information that other poets and writers shared with me. Those who offered advice and feedback on grant applications and gave invaluable tips. Those who recommended checking a grant out in the first place. All the writers who are so forthcoming with opportunities that make a community flourish.

So in my time as Writer-in-Residence, I wanted to try to bring some of those conversations into a place where writers I don’t know can stumble upon them. To share the less creative parts of creative work and peel back some of the “secrets” of the industry. I barely feel like I scratched the surface of what there is to know.

But I can leave off with this. There is always so much to learn. A lot of this information comes from conversations that happen at poetry readings in the intermissions and afterwards. Sometimes it’s something shared on social media. Sometimes it’s a matter of reaching out to someone to ask for help, or a short conversation. I know I’m always happy to pay it forward.  

I’ll leave this post short and sweet. To close off, I’m so grateful to Grace and the Open Book team for creating this space for me (and other writers). Also, lots of gratitude to Brenda, Alayna, and Rayzel from Brick Books who connected me with Open Book and have generally been wonderful publishers! In a small industry, this can make all the difference in how we get through the work we’re doing.

See you in summer!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Manahil Bandukwala is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. She is the author of Women Wide Awake (Mawenzi House, 2023) and Monument (Brick Books, 2022; shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award), and numerous chapbooks. In 2023, she was selected as a Writer's Trust Rising Star. See her work at manahilbandukwala.com.