“Umi has mentored me for two years & is helping me write the third draft of my novel. Despite doing an MA in Creative Writing & many workshops & courses over the years, I have to say that I have learnt more with Umi over 2 years of mentoring than I did on my MA in Creative Writing. The ‘on the job’ coaching she offers has been invaluable for me. I have learnt so much about the craft, become aware of my strengths & weaknesses & learnt how to edit myself.
I have been writing for 20 years and I can honestly say that this ‘on the job’ training has been the most effective & enjoyable.”
“I learnt so much in your classes - point of view, tone of voice, brevity, trusting instinct. But most of all the importance of story telling. Thank you for all your help, your curiosity and your wisdom. You teach writers how to be free.”
"Umi, thanks so much for meeting with me on Tuesday. I came away so encouraged with my writing and my ability to go for it and complete this novel. I’ve never felt this before. I am so very pleased to say I have written 2000 words since Wednesday and really broken through that total paralysis, plot wise. There is much still to do of course, but I have been following your advice to trust my instinct and believe my story is there in my subconscious. I have been quite surprised by what has come out so far!"
"You can write alone, but to 'be a writer' you need other people. Umi in person was just as I hoped she'd be from the website: a thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent reader who gave me the perspective I needed on some tough pages. I would call on her again in an instant. Better than a friend or even an agent or other interested party, Umi offers an impartial and insightful reading on behalf of what's best for the manuscript, and with kindness and attention for the writer."
"Umi Sinha is a kind of writerly daimon, a sharp-eyed angel scanning the text before the print has dried. She has shown a special ability to enter the world of my story, bringing her gifts of understanding to the structure, point-of-view, pacing, plot, language and characterisation of my novel, not to mention a keen editorial regard for spelling, layout and punctuation. But all with the lightest of touches. Invaluable."
Jamie Crawford, Professional Storyteller and writer
"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)
"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."
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.”
"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."
"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 (Author of 'The Cybergypsies', 'The Death of Mr Love' and 'Animal's People' which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2007)
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
“I studied with you at Sussex University on the CCE program. With a lot of hard work and thanks to you I am getting my first book published and am including you in the acknowledgments. The novel is called Killer Tease and I would dearly like to send you a copy.”
"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