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HT Kala Ghoda Arts Festival: What does it take to be a teen author?

All three teens gave credit to their parents for taking proactive roles in getting their books published.

cities Updated: Feb 07, 2017 10:25 IST
Teen authors Insiya Patanwala, Zuni Chopra and Anusha Subramanian during a literature session at  KGAF 2017 on Friday.
Teen authors Insiya Patanwala, Zuni Chopra and Anusha Subramanian during a literature session at KGAF 2017 on Friday.(Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

“Every book changes you as a person. It gives you more confidence,” said Zuni Chopra, 15, author of a collection of poems titled The House That Spoke, published by Penguin.

Chopra was speaking at a session with teen authors organised as part of the HDFC Home Loans literature section of the HT Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

Speaking alongside, on the struggles, anxiety and excitement of being a young writer, were fellow authors Anusha Subramaniam, 17, and Insiya Patanwala, 14, in conversation with moderator Lubina Bandukwala.

All three teens gave credit to their parents for taking proactive roles in getting their books published. “I hate publicising my own work, so it helps to have a dad who is extroverted enough to brag about the fact that his daughter has authored a book,” said Subramaniam, author of Heirs of Catriona and Never Gone, also published by Penguin. “Sometimes I literally have to ask him to stop it because it’s embarrassing,” she added, smiling.

For Patanwala, her book allowed her the confidence to understand herself better.

“I was never comfortable in my skin. I would sometimes look into the mirror and ask ‘Why this and not something else’. Writing the book helped me emote better,” said the young author of Esoterica.

The girls’ message to other budding writers out there? ‘Don’t worry about schedules and discipline. Write if you love writing.’

The audience loved the confidence of the three.

“The three of them had such different flavours. While Zuni was very confident and innocent, Anusha was extremely honest. Insiya, on the other hand, beautifully expressed her inner world,” said Parul Wagh, a freelance writer from Bhandup.

It was a very interesting session, added Akash Patel, 23, a mechanical engineer from Bharuch in Gujarat, who has been coming to Mumbai during the Kala Ghoda Art Festival for four years. “It’s so good to see young Indian girls overcoming orthodox thinking and stepping forward,” he added.

Also read: Padma Lakshmi, model and foodie, talks memories, food at HTKGAF