The poetry residency this year has four mentors who will guide the poets through different sections of the residency; from writing to publishing/performance. 

Zeenia Kolah - Movement Facilitator

Zeenia Kolha is a leadership and conflict dialogue facilitator, dancer and performer from Mumbai. She is currently doing an Expressive Arts Therapy Masters at Lesley University in Boston, USA.

Zeenia has worked with youth to address issues on gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class etc at the international NGO Seeds of Peace in Mumbai and the United States. She has also facilitated the India Arts for Social Change JAM, a community gathering for artists and activists from around the country.

Zeenia started dancing at a young age and later began to seek ways to use movement and art as valuable tools for community connection and personal growth, that are reflected in most of her facilitation work.

Rochelle Dsilva - Spoken Word Artist

Rochelle is a performance poet based in Goa. She writes about her travels, cultural influences and personal experiences. Her poems give voice to feelings of displacement, love and loss. She started performing in 2011, and since then has performed on numerous stages across India, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Nepal.She has been a part of a multitude of literary festivals; Times Lit Fest 2018, Goa Art and Lit Fest 2018, Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival 2018, Kala Ghoda Art and Literature Festival 2018 to name a few. In 2016, she represented the Indian writing community during a poetry tour in Nepal called Words Express – Spoken Word Jatra, featuring international poets from Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and the universally proclaimed Sarah Kay. 

​In addition to her many accolades and achievements, Rochelle has worked hard to give back to the poetry community. She has created the very first residency solely designed for poets -  'The Poetry Retreat' is a 5-day residency in an Eco Stay in Goa. In 2015, she founded Words Tell Stories, a platform for poets and poetry lovers. She has conducted open mics, slams, workshops and collaborations with international and local artists. She has mentored many of the spoken word poets that have come out of Bombay and helped them hone their skills and/or learn about performance poetry.

Both her spoken word albums (A Thin Veneer of Coping and Best Apology Face) are available on Bandcamp/iTunes/Spotify.Her solo collection of poems, When Home Is An Idea, has been widely appreciated as a conduit to talk about identity and belonging.

Bhisaji Gadekar - Performance Artist

While Bhisaji works predominantly in the medium of sculpture, he simultaneously integrates other mediums like site specific installation and performance art into this work. He has won many accolades including the prestigious Emerging Artist Award 2020 by The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art, Catalyst Grands - Goa Open Arts Festival 2020, Junior Fellowship - Ministry of Culture, Govt of India in visual art 2017-18, to name a few. He has been an active member of Kolkata International Performance Art Festival for 7 years. He actively works with The HH: Art Spaces, Goa for the last 5 years.

Through his work, he is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is expected and uses his performances to create a dialogue with the audience. His practices are immersive and take years of work from conception to execution. He is presently engaged with the contemporary artists group: Goa Artists Collective.

He has participated in various performance art practices including: Goa Open Arts Festival 2020 and Theertha performers platform 2019 (Colombo, Sri Lanka), Between and Betwixt: special project by Goa Artists Collective in the Serendipity Art Festival, Goa 2018, The Invisible River of Konkani Surrealism, Serendipity Art Festival, Goa 2017, to name a few.

Andy Jackson - Published Poet

Andy Jackson’s first published book of poems, Among the Regulars, was shortlisted for the 2011 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and his collection, Music Our Bodies Can’t Hold, was shortlisted for the 2020 John Bray Poetry Award.

He has featured at literary events and arts festivals in Ireland, India, the USA and across Australia, including Melbourne Writers Festival, Castlemaine State Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival and on ABC RadioNational.

Andy has co-edited disability-themed issues of the literary journals Southerly and Australian Poetry Journal, and works as a creative writing teacher and tutor for community organisations and universities. His latest collection Human Looking is forthcoming in 2021.


*Sumana Roy - Poet & Teacher (Udaipur)

*Vinita Agrawal - Poet & Editor (Mumbai)

*Shaun Williams - Performance Coach (Mumbai)

*Ram Ganesh Kamatham - Playwright & Performance Artist (Bangalore)

*Menka Shivdasani - Poet & Editor (Mumbai)

*Mustansir Dalvi - Poet/Translator/Editor (Mumbai) 

*Manohar Shetty - Writer/Poet/Editor (Goa) 

*Rea Burman - Performing Artist (Goa)