I’ve been to India many times before. You’re right, I was born and brought up here in Chennai, the city with the second longest urban beach in the world. I grew up knowing nothing else but Chennai for most of my adult life.
When I left the country, initially I didn’t return much. My first picture book Where is Gola’s Home with Tulika Books came out in 2006. It was one of my life-long dreams of being published by them as they were part of my Chennai fabric. Since 2006, I’ve visited many times the last 8 years, but this time is different.
This time I come home as a proud author. With a book launch in India with Karadi Tales, with two books out from Tulika Books and of course three author events. I once attended a convention where one of the authors said – DON’T SAY NO. JUMP IN.
And that’s what I have been doing the past few months. I’ve been offering school visits, going to libraries to do events and now a book tour of sorts. What fun!
Chennai is home. But Chennai is also the epicentre of children’s book publishing in India. Chennai is also the centre of the revival of storytelling in India, especially for children. And while living in London, watching all this unfold, I felt I was missing out.
This trip has given me an opportunity to dip into this marvellous world of storytelling, meeting with kids in Chennai and getting another book out in India. I should make myself an “I am a Chennai Author” badge – because I’m so proud to have been born here.
I don’t think my love for books was anything related to Chennai – although I do think the reading and literature scene is big in Chennai. With Tulika Books, Tara Books, Karadi Tales and even Duckbill is now based in Chennai, it is the happening place for children’s books in India and I’m ever so proud to be wearing the Chennai badge.
I’ll be telling stories from Balu’s Basket and Where is Gola’s Home? in the famous Hippo Campus on the 19th April. A world book-day event and of course an Easter event of sorts. Then I am at Just Books, Anna Nagar on the 27th April. Come and listen to another book As I Watch, published by Guardian Angel Books as well.
The book launch is on the 27th April too, in the afternoon and I am at Kids Holiday Camp on the 2nd May telling more stories.
Come and say Hello, if you too are in Chennai and love listening to stories.