By Monideepa Sahu
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?
This is a deceptively difficult question. I’ve thought about it for days, wondering how to answer it without sounding hackneyed. (And does the fact that I don’t have a deep, clever answer mean I have no good reason to be writing?!) The main reason is I write, I suppose, is because I like it. There are the beginnings of all these stories inside my head and the only to find out what happens next is to write them down and see where they go. This process of a story unfolding and then coming together is very exciting. It’s almost as much fun as reading a book.
Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
I have a few works in progress at the moment. One of them is a fantasy novel I’ve been stuck on for more than half a decade. Some people say I should abandon it, but I feel it has a life still. Another falls somewhere between a school story and mystery story, and also between MG and YA. The third is a standalone YA fantasy where we find out that a deja vu is actually a time jump (!); and the fourth is a secret!
Describe your writing aesthetic.
I like to keep it simple. The best writing advice I got was from a journalism teacher who told us that the kind of writing we should be aiming for was “Famous Five” (of Enid Blyton fame). At that time I thought that was ridiculous — why should you write like you’re writing for ten-year-olds? Only later I realized the wisdom behind that thought. That rather than showing off how many big words you know, write so that even a child could understand it. And it is harder than it looks, even when you *are* writing for children.
It is disappointing that Punjabi is ‘zero’ in children literature with nothing available for them in the language, said noted poet, lyricist and film-maker Gulzar on Wednesday.
During his first interaction at Punjab University with students, faculty members and staff after he assumed the Tagore Chair professorship, Gulzar said, “It is a matter of grave concern that we don’t have children literature and we are making no effort to write for them. Writing for children is very difficult. The language used for writing for an eight-year-old will be different from what you use for a 12-year-old.”
A manuscript of 1000 plus pages with a couple dinosaur drawings sits among several piles of other children’s books at the Kathalaya office. Shanta Dahal, production manager at the publication house, has recently been going through it and it is apparent that this is a project she is particularly excited about.
“Perhaps for the very first time, we have a fictional story in Nepali with elements of paleontology. The characters here are all dinosaurs. These are basics that senior school students have to learn about in their science classes. We thought a book like this would make it more interesting for them to study,” explains Dahal.
Despite the prevalence of adult titles and themes in bookshelves across China, children’s books remain a dominant force in the country’s publishing industry. The rising demand in such literature has paved the way for children’s books to become key players in book fairs throughout China. Read more
Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) has invited entries for science literature awards from writers in science literature in Malayalam whose works were published during 2013.
The awards are in the following categories: Science literature Award for Science book (children’s literature), Science Literature Award for Science book (Popular Science), Science Literature Award for Science book (in-depth science) and science journalism award.
From among a group of schoolgirls, Ramsha Zafar admitted bashfully that she was fond of the stories of Amar Ayyar, popularly mispronounced as Umro Ayyar, the legendary trickster from the Dastaan-e Amir Hamza: The Express Tribune
Ramsha, an eighth grader from Al-Farabi Islamic School in Nilore, was visiting the two-day Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) with her classmates and teachers on Friday.
But she was the only one in the group who said she reads children’s storybooks and could recall a favourite character. Read more
China is at the forefront of the children’s book market for its “proactive way of approaching literature,” an expert has said.
Ahmad Redza Khairuddin, president of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), made the remarks Wednesday on the sidelines of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy.
India’s President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called upon authors, publishers and the Government to do their utmost to promote children’s literature: The Hindu Businessline
He was speaking at the inauguration of the New Delhi World Book Fair 2014.
The theme of this year’s fair is ‘Kathasagara: Celebrating Children’s Literature’. The President said that children are the best readers of literature because they have no patience for pretence. “India has had a long and rich tradition of literature written for children as manifest in our folk and oral storytelling traditions, panchatantras, mythologies, puranas, jataka tales etc. Literary giants such as Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand, Abanindranth Tagore and Sukumar Roy have written for children.”
Tultul Biswas of Eklavya, the well-known Bhopal-based NGO working for social change through meaningful education, says, “There have been unsubstantiated claims that the children’s segment of the Indian publishing industry is growing at a rate of about 20% per year.” She informs that in July 2012, the German Book Office brought out a document for the Frankfurt Book Fair which pegged the growth rate of the Indian publishing industry at 15% whereas FICCI estimates put the industry CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) at 30%. Unfortunately, there is no industry report on the dynamics of children’s books market. Read more
Australia’s relationship with Asia has always been a focus for heated debate and, often, misunderstanding. What role do books play in moulding this relationship?
A research project underway at the Queensland University of Technology seeks to answer that question by investigating the role of children’s literature in shaping young readers’ attitudes to Australia’s past, present and future relations with Asia. Read more