All Good Things…

All good things must start with a story. And the National Storytelling Week must of course start with a brilliant one.

This story I’m going to tell you, has stayed with me from when I was six or seven. I was a very fussy eater and one of the vegetables I didn’t like to eat was the purple brinjals (or the white ones for that matter).

Many of the stories in my Prince Veera series are reimagined versions of such stories about Emperor Akbar and Birbal, King Krishnadeva Raya and his trusted friend Tenali Rama.

Prince Veera series

Listen to the story and enjoy! If you like it, do pass it along. Because a hand-me-down story is the best kind there is!

Happy New Year everyone!

2019 was an eventful year. It started in Chennai, India with my parents and took me on a journey to festivals and conferences across the world.

I was in Houston to participate in Texas Book Festival, then at SCBWI Europolitan Conference as a keynote speaker and had a quick stopover in Dubai for the Emirates Festival. Each festival gave me different perspectives on reading, stories and more. I met children from many different backgrounds, writers with aspirations and passion to tell new stories and although journeys are tiring and routine-breaking, they bring new energy into the writing.

I had six new books come out in 2019, that I’ve been working since 2017 and 2018. They were all different and challenged me in new ways.

I took on new challenges like writing a theatre show that I performed with a wonderful friend. I was part of a theatre devising group and we performed to an audience of five. I was briefly on BBC talking about diversity in children’s books.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-48225791/bame-the-children-s-bookshop-selling-diversity

I visited many schools, met with teachers and librarians across the world, told stories, inspired new tales with young people of all ages.

2020 is gearing up to be a busy year too. I can already reveal the cover of two new books that I wrote which will be published. Here is a quick glimpse – I’ll be posting more info soon. Watch this space.

While fake news, nationalism and climate crisis threatens goodwill and existence of our planet, this is a time for stories – to imagine a better life, to mine for wisdom from lessons learnt in the past and sculpt a new world for our future generations.

I wish you all a wonderful 2020 in which hope reigns despair and acceptance wins over hatred.

British South Asian KidLit Creators

I got tagged today by a friend for a question about who is writing books for South Asians in the UK. And we all tagged people we knew and then I realised, it was good to create a list we can all share.

As the aunt of mixed-raced kids whose cultures are meshed in and we feed them quite a lot of both Indian and British stories, it’s important for our children to see stories that are about them too.

So I’ve started a list here. If you have more people to add to this, please first check if they’re part of South Asian heritage and if they are British either by residency or by nationality. If so, do message me on twitter at @csoundar and I’ll add them to this list.

Also I’ve indicated ages the authors have books in. If you’re one of the listed authors and you want to change it, do let me know. This is just an indication for parents and teachers/ librarians. Authors are always experimenting and writing new things.

British South Asian KidLit Authors

Name Age-range of books written Twitter
Handle
Website
Chitra
Soundar
3 plus @csoundar www.chitrasoundar.com
Nizrana
Farook
9 plus @NizRite  
Nadia
Shireen
3 plus @NadiaShireen etsy.me/2E8Fo5h  
Smriti
Prasadam-Halls
0 plus @smritiPH Smirti.co.uk
Yasmin
Rahman
YA @YasminwithanE  
Swapna
Haddow
7 plus @swapnahaddow Swapnahaddow.co.uk
Sita Brahmachari 13 plus @sitabrahmachari Sitabrahmachari.com
Savita Kalhan YA @savitakalhan Savitakalhan.com
Bali Rai 9 plus @balirai Balirai.co.uk
Nikesh Shukla YA @nikeshshukla Nikesh-shukla.com
Ranjith Singh 3 plus @ranjiththeauthor  
Rashmi
Sirdeshpande  
  @rashmiwriting rashmisirdeshpande.com
Sufiya
Ahmed
YA @sufiyaahmed https://mbalit.co.uk/client/sufiya-ahmed/  
Jasbinde
Bilan
9 plus @jasinbath  
Sarwat
Chadda
9 plus @sarwatchadda  
Narinder Dhami 9 plus @narinderd  
Jamila
Gavin
3 plus @jamilaji http://www.jamilagavin.co.uk
Irfan
Master
9 plus @irfan_master http://irfanmaster.com  
Taran
Matharu
9 plus @TaranMatharu1 http://authortaranmatharu.com  
Zanim
Mian
9 plus@Zendibble http://www.sweetapplebooks.com  
Serena
Patel
9 plus@SerenaKPatel    
Leila
Rasheed
7 plus@LeilaR https://leilarasheeddotcom.wordpress.com  

British South Asian KidLit Illustrators

Name Twitter Instagram Website
Poonam Mistry @pmistryartist https://www.poonam-mistry.com/  
Rikin Parekh @r1k1n https://www.rikinparekh.com/  
Lucy Banaji @Lucy_Banaji lucybanaji.com
Baljinder Kaur@Ballyjinderbaljinderkaur.com
Jen KhatunJen Khatunhttps://www.jenkhatun.com/

Also check out http://www.speaking-volumes.org.uk/projects/breaking-new-ground/ for over 100 BAME creators in the UK.

Story Starter – Workshop Resources

Are you a teacher or a writer or a storyteller? Then you would definitely enjoy this post on StoryStarters that started as a simple question on Twitter. And then the thread unravelled into a yarn of wonderful possibilities.

Based on the story starters, here are some storytelling / creative writing / imagination activities. They are not for anyone specific – from classrooms to lecture halls, from a studio to a lonely cafe, they can be used anywhere.

Click here to download.