Umi Sinha - Writing and storytelling




I have known Umi since 1995-6 when we both entered the creative writing programme as part of the Sussex University MA in Language, The Arts and Education. And how lucky I was! I didn’t just find a true friend – I also found one of the best literary tutors in the country. She has a huge knowledge of all types of literature and a memory that never seems to fail. She is also an excellent writer with a real understanding of the novel and short story forms, so I have faith in her feedback. She has helped many times when I’ve been stuck or unsure, and she has never failed me. I could not want for a better tutor and advisor. In fact, I never enter any work without consulting her first. And her fees are much more reasonable than those preposterous ones in the Guardian!
Kevin Parry (Bridport prizewinner 1995, 2007 and 2011; Fish prizewinner 1998 and 2000, and articles and stories published in journals – Soundings 1999 and Kunapipi 2002 – and anthologies)

“Umi has read many thousands of words of my plays and two novels and has given consistently constructive criticism which has not only improved the quality of my work but also encouraged me to continue to write and – most importantly – to continue to enjoy the process. She has a real editor’s eye and is as likely to spot a missing word or comma as an inaccuracy or flaw in plot or characterisation.”

Sue Eckstein (Radio 4 playwright and author of ‘The Cloths of Heaven’, Myriad Editions, 2009)
I just wanted to thank you for all your input into my book. I’m getting some really good feedback now and feel very grateful for your insights and for everything I learned about writing in our tutorials. It was such an enjoyable process and you helped me to produce a book I now feel proud of. Sue Hallett-Martin

I´ve finally had the time – and the courage! – to go through your notes on The Unlikely and I just want to let you know how very useful I’ve found them. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from the process, things I would never have discovered on my own, and it is hopefully now much improved. Whether I’ll ever actually get it published I don’t know – maybe I’ll try the e-book route – but whatever happens it’s been a great experience, so thanks for your help. Tim Bowley

I wanted to tell you my news which is I’ve won the Bridport prize. It’s with a story I started in your class when we did a homework on writing a fairy story, and I started one about a girl who leaves the sea for the forest. Three years and much work later it had become The Woodcutter’s Wife and won first prize in the Bridport, judged by Zoe Heller. I did find that whole first term with you very inspirational. Alison Fisher (Winner of Bridport Prize 2011)

Umi Sinha is meticulous both in her reading and in her response to students’ work. Her feedback is always insightful and rigorous and she always sees the strengths of the fiction she is reading. She offers constructive suggestions and is always supportive and enthusiastic and wholly committed to her students. Her input is invaluable, balanced, honest and exactly what a writer needs. Henrietta Seredy / Soames, author of ‘Leaving Imprints‘, At the Hall, and ‘A Play of Light‘.


Umi is my sister. She is usually the first person to see anything I’ve written. Every book of mine has benefited from her keen ear and insight. She is an honest and tough critic. I’ve learned to trust her advice, however challenging, because she is always genuinely and passionately on the side of the work. In matters of good writing I can’t think of anyone whose judgement I trust more. Indra Sinha (Shortlisted for Booker Prize 2007)

Umi’s feedback is both sensitive and honest. She pays meticulous attention to detail, while paying attention to the work as a whole. Tuition sessions are both rewarding and enjoyable, and highly recommended. James Burt

Thank you for the words of encouragement and the kind remarks….not to mention the flattering ones as well. Your comments usually enlighten me, occasionally they enrage me as you rubbish a chunk of my purple prose of which I was inordinately proud. Quite often they make me laugh, which must be good. Bob Huston

Umi Sinha is a naturally gifted teacher, one blessed with the ability to inspire would be writers, not only by example, but also by positive criticism linked with her deep personal interest in their subject matter. She possesses that rare ability to unravel confused writing and return the writer to his desired path of thought without bruising his sensitivity. William Mount

Umi is a very gifted writing coach. She’s not an easy ride for a writer as she sets a very high bar on quality and will expect you to do the same. If you want someone who pats you on the back regardless of the quality of your work, choose someone else! I now have a clearer sense of when I write well, when I am lazy and a deeper understanding of what I am really writing about, as opposed to what I think I am writing about. Julia Noakes, Psychologist


Enjoyed every bit of it. A lot of learning… learning with emotions and strategies with a soul. I loved attending each day… and the biggest reason was to be with not only a beautiful person with a wonderful smile but with a woman of substance. Niyathi Radhakrishnan, Industrial Psychologist/Counsellor, Pune

Appreciated the willingness of everyone to share and accept each others’ stories. The marked difference that came about in the communication. Realised the impact a word can have and the sheer power that heartfelt sharing can bring to us. This course should be longer and should be incorporated into every high school curriculum. Maushmi Dutt, Ayushakti Ayurveda Pvt Ltd, Mumbai

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