“We observe that the reading habit of children has tripled during the pandemic years, as parents consciously encouraged their kids to read in order to reduce screen time,” says Ahiraj Prathap of Notion Press, a Chennai-based self-published literature platform.
He says that the trend is reflected in the increased sale of books for children. “We want to gather creative young minds and encourage them to write stories, help them publish their book and make dreams come true,” says Ahiraj.
This vision has now taken the form of Rough Note - Literally Yours, a children’s literature festival organised by Droplets Creations, Quriosity and Notion Press in association with DakshinaChitra.
“This is a month-long event, beginning on August 3, with talks, panel discussions, workshops, theatre and music. We plan to make this an annual event,” says S Sunanda founder of Droplets Creations, a media production company based in Chennai.
The festival calls for young writers, poets, and emerging storytellers in the age group of seven to 16, to showcase their talent. “Students from both Government and private institutions across Chennai can submit their work, with no restrictions across genre or language. Submissions of fiction or non-fiction short stories, poems, in Tamil and English is encouraged, says Arjun Madhavan, founder, Quriosity, a company specialising in event management and music production.
“All the submissions will be judged by a panel of two renowned authors, one for Tamil and one for English. Yuma Vasuki (Sahitya Akademi awardee for translation), will be shortlisting entries in Tamil. A hand-picked selection will be published in an anthology,” says Sunanda. The festival will exhibit the literary work of young children, followed by a series of talks and activities. “We are expecting over 800 children to participate in the event. We are in touch with heads of educational institutions to identify candidates who can send in their work,” says Arjun.
“Children are naturally bestowed with creativity and poetic sense. I am expecting multi-genre submissions for the festival from kids in the specified age groups and I am sure the work by these kids would generate interest and curiosity,” says Vasuki, adding, “Though there was a renaissance in Tamil children’s literature during the 1950s, currently audio-visual media has reduced the reading habit in young children. Such a festival will go a long way in inculcating reading and writing, and most importantly provide an opportunity for them to meet writers.”
The last date for submission of literary work by children aged between 7 and 16 is August 1. The festival will be held from August 6 to September 3 at DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu. Call 9962973880.