Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
Interview with Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala, one of the organizers of Peek A Book this Nov15-Nov16 at Hyderabad, India.
tgbc: Why did you feel the need to start the lit fest for children in Hyderabad?
Lubaina: Actually I grew up in Hyderabad and still have good friends there. I think that a great big enthusiastic reading public resides in India’s smaller metros – other than Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai etc. I think smaller cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad have children who are as exposed but far more enthusiastic to new things than sometime in places like Mumbai where there is so much else happening and kids are quite indifferent to events, especially book events. So when I started exploring the idea for doing a lit fest for kids, I began to explore other cities than Mumbai where I live. In Hyderabad I have dear friends who connected me to someone in government. Incidentally the government was hosting an International film festival for children and gave us a venue as part of this. This was the start and one thing led to another and within a month and a half my friends Pranava Singhal, Zakir Alladin and I put together this festival.
tgbc: Do you think lit fests inculcate the love for reading in children?
Lubaina: Everyone wants kids to read. But where are the opportunities to engage with books – bookstores are few, public libraries even fewer and school-led reading programmes are so not cool! At lit fests, children are introduced to a wide variety of book. They get to meet authors, which is very exciting. During the sessions they actually sample a book they may not even have ever opened! Once they have read a bit of it, that and combined with the fact that they have met the book’s writer, is bound to get them curious about reading more. Peek A Book features such a wide variety of books and in such a way as to bring the books alive through craft, story-telling, puppets even food!
tgbc: What is on offer at Peek a Book this year?
Lubaina: From mythology to magic, from school adventures to contemporary mysteries, from stories about super heros to tribal princesses – almost all genres of children’s books are represented in this festival.
Hyderabad’s very own Dr Vithal Rajan presents his tale of Jungu the Tribal Princess and Nandini Nayar talks about her books Neelu’s Box and What Shall I Make? Story-teller Deepa Kiran and puppeteer Padmini bring books alive along with Richa Chadda of Easy Library.
We have a great number of out of towners as well –
– Anushka Ravishankar, known as India’s Dr Seuss will present three books – The Sherlock Holmes Connection, Moin and the Monster and Alphabets are Amazing Animals.
– Arundhati Venkatesh showcases Bookasura, the book eating monster.
– Roopa Pai – The Gita for Children.
– Senior journalist Shabnam Minwala is launching her new books Shy Supergirl and The Strange Haunting of Model High.
– Swati Sengupta also a journalist reads from her Young Adult books Half the Field is Mine and Guns on my Red Earth.
– Sonja Chandrachud takes us deep into a Mughal mystery with Trouble at the Taj
– Nature enthusiast Katie Bagli is joined by illustrator Zainab Tambawala with two books, Odyssey in the Ocean and Less Liked Lovables.