If you have a hankering to write your own book, you can now hire someone to do it for you.
--BY MANISHA BALAMI
Situated in the bustling area of Thapa Gaon, New Baneshwor is the Lekhan Kunja, which one may understand a ‘literary writing workshop,’ also known as Ghost Writing Nepal (P) Ltd.
Ghost Writing Nepal, as its name suggests, offers ghost writing services to individuals, organisations and businesses. It is probably the first private corporate institution in Nepal to provide such services. It Nepal consists of a group of professional writers who produce quality write-ups as demanded by clients, either fresh or thorough re-writing. And they also provide editing services. Those who are not proficient enough to write on their own, or who have hectic schedules and cannot turn their stories and ideas into a readable book can avail the company’s services. This means, if you have a story but lack time to write or lack the skill to describe it in words, then Ghost Writing Nepal can help put those stories into words.
Concept and Services
Prior to the establishment of the organisation, Kamal Dhakal, founder and Chairman of Ghost Writing Nepal, had worked with Nepal Samacharpatra daily as a journalist. After leaving the field of journalism, he entered into the world of literature.
He got the concept of Ghost Writing after working with the veteran hospitality entrepreneur Karna Sakya who also has a deep interest in literature and creative writing. Realising that the concept was viable as there are many people who wish to write a book but are not proficient enough or have no time, Dhakal decided to work in the field of ghost writing.‘Besides, ghost writers are also able to earn significant amounts of money as people are happy that their stories get published’, he says. He also felt that writing other people’s stories could actually be interesting.
Ghost Writing Nepal was registered in 2009, though it started operation only from 2014.
Dhakal believes that ‘pain can be moved out through the pen’ as there’s a saying that sharing ones sorrows with others can bring relief. “Actually, writing a book is a campaign. Inscribing one’s stories and letting people read them can help protect a culture, a history and much more that might be lost with the death of an individual,” he expresses, adding that sharing the stories of today’s generation can bring change in tomorrow’s generation.
The premises of the Ghost Writing Nepal comprise of separate bamboo cottages called Ghost Writing, Kunja Theatre, Kautuhal Kunja, Basana Kunja and Modern Library. There is also the Kunja Organic Café where organic food items are served. Overall, the institution aims to provide a peaceful and creative environment which is considered essential for writing.
Till date, Ghost Writing Nepal has published about 45 autobiographies. Bahart Mohan Adhikari’s Samsad Dekhi Sambidhan Samma, Usha Nepal's Pahilo Mahilaa CDO, Nepaljit Lama's Manthan, Sunita Danuwar's Aasu ko Shakti, Indra Bahadur Basnet's Hidiyeko Goreto, Dharmaraj Regmi's Mahaprasthan, etc are some of the notable books published by the institution.
Not only writing, Ghost Writing Nepal arranges the books to be printed and published in a professional manner. According to Dhakal, it costs Rs 400,000 to 500,000 to write, edit, and publish a book. Besides, the institution also runs a creative writing class everyday in order to help people enhance their writing skills. Those interested in literature is the target group of the creative writing class. The duration of the course is three months and the total fee is Rs 16,000.
So far, 12 batches or a total of 230 students have been trained at Ghost Writing Nepal. “Each one of our students can be considered as a tree. Tomorrow, they will be a forest to create greater impact in the society,” says Dhakal.
Apart from ghost and creative writing, Ghost Writing Nepal also aims to develop theatre writing and giving life to stories through drama. The institution is planning to start the Theatre Kunjasoon to realise this aim.
According to Dhakal, he invested about 1.5 million to start the organisation. On new structures and interior design he has invested a total of Rs10.5 million.
Dhakal opened the organisation on his own without support from the government, any other organisation or individual. Before establishing Ghost Writing Nepal, he used to operate a travel agency. He says that he used his own business to set up the institution. He has been managing all the operation costs on his own.
He faced economic, physical as well as mental challenges during the initial phase. “We are still facing such challenges. Nevertheless, I hope that someday it will work,” says Dhakal. He says he will not stop because of this aspiration and the supportive people around him.
The concept of ghost writing started in London about 250 years ago and has developed into a major profession in creative writing over the years. In Nepal, ghost writing is in its nascent stage. “Even though it has already been a decade for me, it is difficult to convince people to let professional writers write their story,” shares Dhakal. Besides, he has also faced problems during the process of publishing books. He has found some publishers not ready to publish the books of ordinary people. “In one instance, I approached a publisher but he was only ready to publish Bhuwan KC's autobiography which I was working on. But I wanted him to publish books of ordinary people as well,” he recalls. He adds that due to circumstances, he has not been able to receive stories from ordinary people. “Currently, mostly high profile people who are interested in literature and creative writing are our customers,” says Dhakal.
Ghost Writing Nepal is planning to expand Lekhan Kunja to Lekhan Gram within the next couple of years. Dhakal believes that the organisation carries a big scope as writing the stories of people means saving culture and history. Moreover, according to him, there will be more people who will want to publish their stories.
‘It is encouraging for us that at least some people are convinced and are satisfied with our services. Along with the frustrations, positive feedback from our customers motivates us to keep going,” he says.
Ghost Writing Nepal is also planning to open a book shop within its premises soon. In the meantime, Dhakal aspires to write 10,000 books in the next couple of years. He observes a gradual change in the perception of people towards ghost writing. “In the past, we had to go door-to-door asking people to let us write books about them. Today, we are working on around 200 books that are in our pipeline which also indicates a positive change,” concludes Dhakal.