Chatura Rao, festival director of the Chandigarh Children’s Literature Festival, stumbled into writing books for children when Penguin publishers told her, her book (which she wrote for herself, when she was in her 30’s) was meant for children.
Slightly surprised she accepted she had the knack of writing for kids and went on to write a number of short stories for kids, including ‘The Case of Disappearing Colour’.
On the first day of the three-day literature festival, organised at Dikshant Global School in Zirakpur on Friday, Rao spoke to school students about creative writing and shared her experience as well. The perceptive kids asked her intelligent questions which included, how do you come up with the title of your book? What is your inspiration behind writing? Why do you write fiction for kids when you are a journalist?
She had the kids’ attention as she answered each question with utmost sincerity.
Ask her why she started writing and she says, “I think I was an escapist as a child. As I grew older, I grew complacent with fiction through my writing. However somehow I always seemed to find a way back, stronger.”
She continues to be a freelance journalist and regularly conducts workshops with kids over the country in Bombay, Bangalore and Delhi amidst others to hone their creative writing skills.
A mother of two, she says children are the most intriguing audience to have. “Children have fresh ideas, they aren’t grilled by the same day- today vagaries of life like us. They’re unpredictable with their thoughts and reactions. It is great fun and a challenge to perform for them.”
Rao says children open her mind and help her think originally. Nature plays a very important role in her narration. “I have always had a soft corner for nature and through my writing in various instances I’ve put forth emotion through nature.” She recalls how children gave a great response to passages where she described nature.
She continues to hold workshops and aid children who want to give the pen a shot.