The British Council Chandigarh, on Thursday, organised a children’s workshop at Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, and Stepping Stone Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, Chandigarh. UK-based authors and novelists Iris Freindt — visiting lecturer at the Manchester Writing School — and Sherry Ashworth — visiting fellow at The Manchester Writing School took the workshop.
This being their first India visit, the duo seems visibly excited. Iris initiates the conversation by saying, “We have visited Dehradun, Haridwar, Delhi, and now Chandigarh. We are here to invite Indian students for the third Manchester Children’s Book Festival, which will be held towards the end of June 2014, in Britain. The book fest is a wonderful way for Manchester Metropolitan University to share the very best of what it has to offer to other communities. The fest would also include creative writing workshops for teachers.”
Authors Iris Freindt (L) and Sherry Ashworth in city. HT Photo
About their Chandigarh visit, Iris adds, “In both the schools that we visited today, we asked the children to imagine a character and build an imaginative story around it. After these stories are submitted to their teachers, the best ones would be short listed and sent to us. We would further give a feedback to every kid, select the best stories for the festival and invite those writers to Britain.”
Letting us in on their idea of creative writing, Sherry says, “Writing for self expression is creative writing. Any good writer is born out of lots of reading. So, I would like to advise kids to read as much as they can. Though the internet has replaced libraries and Google has replaced encyclopedias, the love for a book and turning its delicate pages remains unparalleled.”
“Any child can be a writer, it’s just a matter of expressing themselves. In fact, I believe children can be better writers for children’s books than adults; they are more imaginative and less,” says Iris, who herself is a short story writer for children’s books such as Turtle Don’t Tap and White Lion.
Sherry, the writer Paralysed (2005) and winner of South Lanarkshire Book Award and Leicester Book of The Year award believes Indian children have a lot of potential and adds, “According to the response and stories we receive, we would plan a special India event, as a part of the festival, in June 2014.”