First Pages: 20 September 2017: Introducing the Panelists


Introducing the panelists:

Devika Rangachari is the author of several prize-winning books for children and young adults, including Queen of Ice, the most recent.

Paro Anand is the author of several prize-winning books for children and young adults, including No Guns at My Son’s Funeral and Weed. She works extensively with children. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2017.

Sayoni Basu is a platypus and an editor at Duckbill Books.

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First Pages: 20 September 2017

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Writing something? Not sure how it is going? Send it to First Pages!

Three experts will tell you whether your first page has piqued their interest enough to turn the page and read on. So send in the first page of the book you are working on, and our panel will give you live feedback on it on 20 September 5pm online.

1. You need to send in only the first page of your book to india@scbwi.org. Please send it in as a Word document, and remember to include the title of your book.

2. Each writer can send in only one piece. The first fifteen eligible entries will be read and commented on.

3. Please label your entry in one of the following categories:

Picture book
Chapter book
Middle-grade storybook
YA novel

4. The maximum word count should be no more than

Picture book: 50 words
Chapter book: 100 words
Middle-grade storybook: 200 words
YA novel: 200 words

5. Do not include the author’s name or title in the document.

All entries need to be sent by 18 September, noon IST.

SCBWI First Pages is usually for members only. However, this time we are also opening it to non-members.

The panel comprises of three experienced editors/writers, whose names will be announced shortly.

How do you edit yourself?

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So you have finished writing your first draft. Congratulations! You have come further than many people will ever do. But this is not it. There is more work to be done.

Find out from three well-known and seasoned writers how to transform that first draft into something that will have publishers making extravagant promises and make readers go wild with joy.

Paro Anand is the author of several prize-winning books for children and young adults, including No Guns at My Son’s Funeral and Weed. She works extensively with children.

Devika Rangachari is the author of several prize-winning books for children and young adults, including Queen of Ice, the most recent.

 

Rupa Gulab is the author of several novels for adults and teens, including Hot Chocolate is Thicker than Blood and Daddy Come Lately.

At Max Muller Bhavan, No.3, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Near Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, at 5.30 pm, 30 January 2017.

Call for Applications: Children Understand More … !

A workshop for illustrators, graphic artists and authors on creating new and different books for children
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
The Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan and Zubaan are organizing a workshop for illustrators/graphic artists and writers of books for children in December 2016 (from the 5 the 15th). The workshop will be conducted by a well-known writer from India and two illustrators from Germany and will be held near Kolkata.
INTRODUCTION:
Single parenthood, patchwork families, the relationship to one’s body, disabilities, sex education, sexuality, same-sex love, trans- and intersexuality, death, (religious) fanaticism, environmental issues – these are all realities we live with every day of our lives. And yet, there seems to be an unspoken pact among adults, no matter what class, region, country or religion they belong to, that children must be protected from these ‘difficult’ realities. Children prove themselves to be more resilient than adults give them credit for, and remain curious about everything. Whom does it serve, then, to shield them from these realities? Is it time to begin thinking of how we can address such issues in sensitive, accessible, responsible ways?
This workshop aims to make just such a start by bringing together illustrators, artists, writers and resource persons over a period of a week, to create stories, discuss and distill them with peers, and to begin the process of publishing a body of work that engages with difference, with the ‘othered’, and with the many difficulties of reality.
The Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, together with its partner Zubaan, New Delhi, would like to show, in a literature project with children’s books authors and illustrators, how children’s questions in these areas can be answered comprehensibly and engagedly in an Indian context.
PROJECT PROGRESSION:
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, in cooperation with the publishing house Zubaan in New Delhi and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), will organize a 10-day workshop in/near Kolkata with 10–16 Indian children’s book authors and illustrators in December 2016. The workshop will offer the opportunity to develop stories, and to discuss ideas and questions of how to create narratives for graphic stories/novels.
Three experts – a renowned children’s book author from India and illustrators from Germany – will conduct the workshop. Extensive discussions, hands-on exercises and detailed feedback will offer participants the possibility to work in a collaborative way and to expand
and deepen their knowledge about art, aesthetics, design and networking. Participants and workshop leaders will be located on-site.
The workshop will start with an introduction to the (social) situation of children in India and child psychology, as well as the position of children’s books in India. In the following days the authors and illustrators will decide which topics they would like to tackle and start developing the stories in illustrator/writer teams, in close collaboration with each other. The Indian and German workshop conductors will guide the discussions during this process and offer professional advice.
The project partners will present selected works produced during the workshop to publishing houses in India which might be interested to publish them. Selections will be made by a panel consisting of representatives from Zubaan, SCBWI and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, in consultation with the workshop leaders, on the basis of work submitted.
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan will provide accommodation, three meals/day and a travel subsidy.
WORKSHOP DATES: th th
The workshop will take place from 5 to 15 December 2016 (inclusive).
WHO CAN APPLY:
Only artists in their final year of study, or who have graduated, or are accomplished authors/ illustrators can apply. Ideally, a mix of all three groups would create an inspiring atmosphere for all participants. Participants are required to spend the full 10 days at the workshop and to live on-site, arriving the day before the workshop begins and departing the day after it ends. Accommodation can be on a twin-sharing basis. The workshop will be conducted in English.
HOW TO APPLY:
Up to 16 participants (5-8 authors, 5-8 illustrators) will be selected via this call for applications. Submissions should include a curated selection of their works and potential story ideas. All applications must be sent to applications@kolkata.goethe.org, containing:
– a brief CV;
– representative samples of your work (as .pdf or .jpg attachments);
– suggestions for relevant topics; and
– a brief idea for a story on one of these relevant topics presented in text or illustration, which you would like to work on during your stay
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 20 SEPTEMBER 2016
We look forward to hearing from you.
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Zubaan Books

Online First Pages, 17 June, 2016: Introducing the Panelists

Shobha Viswanath

Shobha Viswanath is the Publishing Director, Karadi Tales, a publishing house based in Chennai who publish audio books, picture books and illustrated books for children. She has also written several illustrated and picture books for children including Little Vinayak, The Lizard’s Tail and Insect Boy.

Shilpa

Shilpa Ranade is an animator and illustrator. She teaches Animation Design and Theory at IDC School of Design, IIT Mumbai. She has made several animated films, including an animated feature film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, and has illustrated numerous books for children.

 

Bena Sareen

Bena Sareen did an M.Phil in Sociology, to eventually become a book designer at a time when book designers were a rare species in India. She has worked at Penguin Books India for twelve years, overseeing the birth of Puffin and Ladybird India books. Currently she consults with Aleph Book Company and runs her own design studio.

Online Portfolio Review, June 17 2016

Want to illustrate children’s books and don’t know where to begin? Send your portfolio to the SCBWI India Online Portfolio Review!

A panel of experts will tell you whether your style will work for children’s books, and give you tips to help you hone your craft. So send in your portfolio and our panel will give you live feedback on 17 June 2016 at 5 pm, IST, online in a closed Facebook group: SCBWI India Portfolio Review.

The panel comprises of Shobha Viswanath, Publishing Director, Karadi Tales; Bena Sareen, Consulting Creative Director, Aleph Book Company and Shilpa Ranade, Illustrator & Professor, IDC-IIT Powaii.

Please send:

  1. An online link (behance, wordpress site, tumblr or any other platform) to your work (strictly) in children’s books, with a selection of what you consider your best work. It could include picture books, work for children’s. Any unpublished, hypothetical children’s book projects you have worked on can also be included.

Or
A PDF of a selection of your best work, not more than 5 MB. Please make sure the images are not too small. (If you’d like your entry to be anonymous, you should choose this option).

 

  1. An A5 size, 72 dpi, RGB, horizontal collage image of a few of your ilustrations, which preferably includes one black and white image (see the example below). We will need a jpg, as it has to be uploaded on the Facebook page.SCBWI collage for portfolio review

 

  1. The first fifteen eligible entries will be displayed and commented on. If there is time, more might be commented on.
  2. All entries need to be sent by 10 June, noon IST to india@scbwi.org

Note: SCBWI online events are usually for members only. This is a one-off opportunity for non-members to participate.

Online First Pages, 13 May 2016: The Panelists

Introducing the panelists:

Anita Roy set up and ran the Young Zubaan list for 12 years. She now lives in Somerset in order to spend more time with her wellington boots. She writes and muses at http://www.anitaroy.net

Ken Spillman has written more than 60 books, published in many languages and more than a dozen countries. Around 40 of his books are for children or young adults.

Sayoni Basu is a platypus and publisher at Duckbill Books.

Online First Pages, 13 May 2016

Writing something? Not sure how it is going? Send it to the SCBWI India First Pages!

Three experts will tell you whether your first page has piqued their interest enough to turn the page and read on. So send in the first page of the book you are working on, and our panel will give you live feedback on it on 13 May 2016 at 5.00 pm online in a closed Facebook group.

1. You need to send in only the first page of your book to india@scbwi.org. Please send it in as a Word document, and remember to include the title of your book.

2. SCBWI India members can send in up to three pieces. Non-members can send only one. The first fifteen eligible entries will be read and commented on. If there is time, more might be commented on.

3. Please label your entry in one of the following categories:

Picture book
Chapter book
Middle-grade storybook
YA novel

4. The maximum word count should be no more than

Picture book: 50 words
Chapter book: 100 words
Middle-grade storybook: 200 words
YA novel: 200 words

5. Do not include the author’s name or title in the document.

All entries need to be sent by 8 May, noon IST.

SCBWI First Pages is usually for members only. This is a one-off opportunity for non-members to participate.

The panel comprises of three experienced editors/writers, whose names will be announced shortly.

How to Win Readers and Influence Schools

Richa Jha tells us about the session by Paro Anand on April 7, 2016.

In an engaging and entertaining session at the Goethe Institute Library, New Delhi, author Paro Anand, a great favourite with schools and literary festivals in India and internationally, showed us exactly why schools love to have her talk to students.

And while, alas, we cannot reproduce the magic or fun of her enactments, here are some of the useful points she discussed.

It is crucial to do school sessions, Paro emphasized. It is not enough to publish a book and hope it will sell. Especially in the case of children’s books, the author has to engage with prospective readers by being out and about with your books at sessions at schools or at literary festivals.

A successful session requires a lot of planning and work. These are some of Paro’s tips for preparing for a session.

The first stage in planning is to find out about the audience, especially in a school session. At a literary festival, you can expect the audience to be more mixed, and perhaps also include adults.
• Find out about your audience beforehand—age group and level of fluency in the language of the book. And choose the story or book accordingly.
• Inform the school beforehand if you want the students placed in a certain way—for example, in a semicircle at the same level, rather than a proscenium arrangement where there is automatically greater distance between the speaker and the listener.
• See if a collar mike can be arranged. Your hands are then free during the presentation. Also, if you need any other equipment, make sure you inform the school in advance.
• The sessions are more enriching for the children if they have read the story/book before the interaction with the author. Ask the school if that might be possible.

The second stage in planning is to decide what you are going to be doing. There are several things you need to keep in mind when planning the session:
• Age group of the students: You need to pick the book you are presenting depending on the age group of the students. The kind of presentation depends on the audience. Generally speaking, it needs to be more animated for a younger group and quieter for older students.
• Not all stories can be read out. If your book is one that does not lend itself to being read out, you can try a character-focussed approach. Engage the audience by talking (or asking) about the characters and use that to drive session forward.
• Never tell the entire story. Instead, get the audience under the skin of the character and have them hankering for more. You are creating readers; you want them to step out and buy the book.
• Picture books can be read out from beginning to end in an interesting way.
• Decide if you want to use props. If you are using props, keep them as simple as possible, objects from our everyday life. Since you want the teachers to be able to conduct a similar session with your book in the years to come, this will make it less intimidating for them to take it forward with their classes later.

As with any other performance, Paro emphasizes the importance of preparation and rehearsal.
• Rehearse thoroughly.
• Read the text several times before the session. Knowing the text means that you do not have to read every word from the book, which gives you the freedom to focus on movements, voice modulations and eye contact with the audience.
• However, your presentation should look spontaneous, not rehearsed.
• Time yourself.
• Have a designated reading copy of your book. Select the passages carefully—and leave out sentences and paragraphs that would not work when reading aloud. Mark the text in your reading copy so that you don’t have to fumble for the passages during the session.

At the start of the session:
• As your audience files in, chat with them informally about their interests, reading habits, books they like and so on. Get a sense of their language comprehension levels. And be ready to make adjustments in your presentation accordingly.
• Make the audience sit in the way you want them to sit, and in such a manner that allows you to ‘get down and dirty’ with them; it’ll keep them engaged and lively.

During the session:
• Be prepared to improvise and think on your feet.
• Make good use of voice modulation, pauses and silence to keep the audience engaged.
• Try variations in tone and modulation to keep the audience tuned in. Speaking in the same pitch can make you lose their attention.
• If the students get fidgety, use your voice to draw them back in – not by getting louder, but by lowering your voice and going softer and softer until they HAVE to become quiet to listen to you.
• Make use of the physical space available to you: move about, go close to the audience, be free with your hands and body movements.
• Draw the audience in by making them a part of the presentation. For example, if the story is set in a jungle, divide the audience into groups and make each group make the sounds of one animal. With the different groups making different animal sounds, the classroom can be converted into a jungle.
• Keep throwing questions at the audience.
• Use a few words from local languages to draw your audience in –eg., ‘shaadi jewellery’ instead of ‘wedding jewellery’.
• Be authentic, not fake. The more you believe in what you’ll be presenting, the more authentic you will be.
• There is often disruptive child in the group. You need to deal with this. Don’t let him/her distract you. Try to tune him out. Or pin him with your stare. Or block him out by turning your back at him.

Paro believes that it is important for authors to charge for school sessions. (One can always make an exception for schools where one believes that there may be a financial constraint.) For authors, writing is their profession and it is important that their time and work is taken seriously.

You should charge even for Skype sessions. Paro charges 5K per hour. Or, the school needs to buy 150 to 200 copies of her books. Be upfront and firm and transparent about your charges; do not negotiate. For daylong workshops or those over a longer duration, propose a package deal.

‘Writing is your profession, and it is out of respect for literature that you’re charging. Stop apologizing about it,’ she says.

A Practical Guide to Nonsense

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SCBWI member Tanushree Singh writes about the event held on May 21, 2015, in the lovely library of the Max Mueller Bhavan.

Nonsense can be intimidating. Because it defies logic, it has nothing to do with the conventional story arc, and it is disturbing since it challenges all norms known to mankind. I shied away from nonsense literature for the longest time till my younger one dragged me to Michael Heyman’s session on ‘This book Makes no Sense,’ a few years back. ‘He is utterly nonsensical!’ He squealed in delight and I froze. I quickly checked to see if he had been overheard.

Years later, a few days back, I had the opportunity to meet the nonsensical man again at the SCBWI event – A Guide to Practical Nonsense. Any talk that starts with ‘your mother called me to tell you all about nonsense,’ is bound to captivate the audience. And if Michael Heyman is at the helm of things, they turn up in large numbers too. Michael is a professor in English at Berklee College of Music, Boston. He has edited and contributed to two books for children, The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense and This Book Makes No Sense: Nonsense Poems and Worse. His poems and stories have been published inThe Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories, The Moustache Maharishi and Other Unlikely Stories, as well as in This Book Makes No Sense.

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Michael Heyman tells us what nonsense is not.

 

We started off with an interesting anecdote about Vinda Karandikar offence at his work being called nonsense! That is the curse nonsense literature drags with it – sometimes its creators, unlike Michael, have trouble accepting the nomenclature. Before we got to rules, we were shown an object that was to be central to the prose/poetry that we’d write during the course of the workshop – a grandmother’s spoon. The next minute saw everyone furiously scribbling about the ever so important spoon.

One hour is nowhere near enough to even get a brief glimpse into the world of nonsense. However, Michael being Michael not only took us through the basics but also got us to write some nonsense of our own. So I’ll try to present Michael’s words as briefly as possible – some made sense and some were utter nonsense!

A great way to define something that evades a comprehensive definition is to explain by way of negatives. And that is exactly what Michael did. A joke or a riddle is not nonsense. Nonsense is not a fantasy though it can very well live within a world of fantasy, one of the best examples, as quoted by Michael, is Alice in Wonderland. Gibberish is definitely not nonsense. So Michael’s composition (xpttwwbuu rrptwiypo dillydilldyilly) that he shared with us to make a point definitely doesn’t qualify as nonsense!

Then what exactly is nonsense? It can be thought of as a parasite of sorts. It can appear anywhere – in a song, a piece of poetry, a prose, and even recipes. This was interesting, because most of us saw nonsense as something that can exist only independently and not sneak in other forms of literature. The examples that we discussed demystified it further. Glimpses of nonsense can be seen a large chunk of literature out there – effortlessly woven in.

To wrap our heads around nonsense, it was essential to explore some of the characteristics that set it apart from the rest. We started with ‘sound over sense.’ In nonsense, sound is as important as the meaning of the word. So ‘glad glusician’ sounds just right in Sukumar Ray’s Glibberish Gibberish. The words have to feel right while they roll in our mouth and sound perfect as they are said out aloud. They need to sound purposeful. There also has to be a balance between sense and nonsense which is seen in Anushka Ravishankar’s Uncle Tettra Hedran as he lists the points he wants make. Nonsense does not ride solely on outraging sense. A good piece is a balancing act between the two.

Among other characteristics are sense implication, game, and strict partial formalism. Good nonsense makes the reader look for traditional sense only to be frustrated by the attempt. It can be seen as a game with certain rules that are intentionally broken.

There are numerous nonsense techniques out there, and Michael introduced quite a few of them to the audience, starting with Neologism. We saw some wonderful examples of neologism being used by the participants in the second part of the writing exercise where we gave our story a nonsensical twist. Michael walked us through other techniques like portmanteau words, simultaneity and arbitrariness among others.

Illustrations play an important role in nonsense literature. One look at Edward Gorey’s work and we know why. Michael elaborated on how being in black and white, and having a Victorian feel to them, Gorey’s illustrations tempt the reader to find some sense in them. However, a closer look defeats all conventional sense of logic.

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The audience try their hand at writing nonsense.

 

The session was rounded off with the final writing exercise of giving sense to the nonsense written around the legendary spoon. The audience bravely read out their pieces of prose and poetry about spiders, grandmas and of course the protagonist. To quote a participant, Michael’s introduction to Nonsense was absolutely ‘globdonkulous.’

How many of us actually end up writing some nonsense remains to be seen. The number of spoons that see the silvery night in a book of their own is also somewhat debatable. But what remains unquestionable is the fact that we all took a bit of nonsense away from the session, and came out a bit braver in our attempts to pen some sensible nonsense. And we thank Michael Heyman for showing us the light!