WHO doesn’t love a good story— one that transports you to another world, makes you go on an adventure, meet new people, feel some magic and unravel a mystery? Many such stories were told on the first day of the third edition of Chandigarh Children’s Literature Festival 2016 (CCLF-16), which began Friday at Dikshant Global School, Zirakpur.
Some of the best children’s authors of India are conducting workshops and other activities at the festival. CCLF is an initiative of Dikshant Global School in association with Adab Foundation.
In an interactive session, Chatura Rao, the festival director, talked about her new book, ‘The Case of Disappearing Colour’, which is a tale of imaginary landscapes and magical adventures, in the tradition of The Little Prince and Haroun and the Sea of Stories. “It’s such a delight to be with the children, who are enthusiastic, curious and read a lot, too. I love their energy,’’ smiled Rao.
In the next session, national award-winning writer Ramendra Kumar, who has 30 books to his credit, had the children dance, sing and listen to his experiences as a writer. The session was replete with humour and wit, as Kumar connected with the children on various aspects of writing and story-telling, and livened up the afternoon with anecdotes and excerpts from his books, one being ‘Paplu The Giant’, which is the story of a strange giant who did not like to fight with anyone. But when his beloved villagers were in danger, he rose to great heights to solve the problem and displayed the unique art of fighting without fighting. “Feel, think, observe, experience and you will write a good story. Follow your dreams and heart and never give up on your dream.’’
An engineer by education, Kumar began writing political satire, and now writes stories for children, a world he describes as fascinating, honest and fantastic. “I feel story-telling can transport children to another world, and take them back to books. I connect with children through stories and humour. Children’s literature in India is in a wonderful space at the moment, and I hope publishers focus on books which have an Indian context,’’ added Kumar, who also conducted a workshop on creative writing for schoolchildren.
Magic ruled the next session, as author Asha Nehemiah had the children speak, think and talk about magic. Nehemiah, who is known for her books with wonderfully funny characters, had the children in splits, as she talked about some incidents from her book ‘Trouble with Magic’, which is about ‘What happens when you add magic to simple objects’.
“Writing is about spotting magic, and my two favourite words are magic and trouble. We look for magic in the mundane and so write,’’ said Nehemiah.
The last session was by Deepa Agarwal, author, poet and translator, who spoke on the process of writing the book, ‘Caravan to Tibet’. She also conducted a workshop, ‘Create Me’, which focused on creating a character and building a story around her/him/it.