When I first reached out to Read and Rejoice Library, they told me they had never done such a session before, where an author visits the library, narrates a few chapters from their book and discusses the context of their writing.
Of course, the library had invited various guests in the past, but my session was to be the first of its kind concerning a discussion on eco-fiction. Nonetheless, the library was open-minded and ready to accommodate me.
To our amazement, we got a significant number of registrations. I was impressed that the children were excited to listen to a story on environmental conservation. But for me, what made this session truly different and memorable was the presence of my former colleague and friend Ms Preetha and her son Abhinav. They gave me immense support and encouragement.
After a beautiful narration peppered with many questions from the children, I turned my attention to creative writing. Most of the children wanted to know how to be better at creative writing. I told them that language was only a tool and that what mattered more was their unique experiences. One can only be an excellent creative writer if they deeply connect with the subject matter and write something profound, original and relevant. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “How can my book reflect my experiences and make the readers think more about life and society?”
The discussion then steered in the direction of writing non-fiction vs fiction. Some of the children wanted to know if writing fiction was more straightforward. I replied that fiction novels which are rooted in facts, information, and social realities are all the more challenging. For instance, although The Myth of the Wild Gaur is a thrilling adventure story, it is based on real-life environmental issues.
Overall, having such profound discussions with the kids was wonderful, and I look forward to revisiting Read and Rejoice for my upcoming book, The Guardians of the Forest.