Thursday, April 24, 2008

A book for all, by Kids

How do you start writing? What is the easiest topic to write on? From where do you get ideas? The wannabe writers had plenty of questions to ask when they got a chance to chat with Children’s writers Sreekumar Verma, Anshumani Ruddra and Aysha Rau during the launch and reading of the book For Kids By Kids, a collection of the best entries received in the Scholastic Writing Awards 2008.

Write about anything that interests you, said Shreekumar Verma, well-known author, publisher and entrepreneur.

Think of a story you haven’t read, said Anshumani, a city-based children’s writer. How do you plan a story? Do you plan every aspect of the story in the beginning itself? “The moment I get a point, I start writing. The ideas and the rest come automatically,” replied Anshumani.

“If you plan everything first, it may not work out well. We should have a seed and then proceed,” said Verma.

Do you write to please your readers or yourself? “Of course, myself, as I can’t please everyone,” pointed out Verma. “Write for yourself and see how many like it,” opined Anshumani.

“Don’t read critiques, and ignore critics,” joked Anshumani when quizzed about critics and criticism. “Everybody will have different opinions. Criticism is alright only if they are meaningful.” Sreekumar Verma launched the book at the Citi Centre Landmark recently.

“Last night I started flipping through this book, and ended up reading half of it. I couldn’t find a single mistake in this book. Instead of the title, For Kids, By Kids it should be For All, By Kids,” quipped the author.

“This is a combination of fiction and non-fiction stories written by children of classes IV -IX, is a collection of the best entries we received in the Scholastic Writing Awards. This is the second edition and will be an annual feature,” said Tahsin Chacko, Branch Manager, Tamil Nadu, Scholastic India Pvt Ltd.

At the Scholastic Awards 2007-08, young writers had two options, a short story on a subject of their choice or a non-fiction piece on a Hero for Today’s India. The book contains 10 short stories and eight non-fiction pieces.

The young authors K Shilpa of Vairam Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Pudukottai, Vasudyha Mishra of Padma Seshadri Balabhavan, KK Nagar and Janis Maria Frederick of St Patrick’s School, Pondicherry, also read out excepts from their stories and shared their experiences.

- Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Wednesday June 25 2008

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