Monday, February 28, 2011

Organizing Your Bookcase

A few ideas on how to organize your bookcase:

Aksharit : An Indian Language Board Game

Via livemint.com

For 25-year-old Manuj Dhariwal, it started with a simple enough question—why were there so few word games in Hindi? English had complex crosswords, Scrabble, Boggle and a thousand variations thereof, but the world’s fourth-most spoken language had surprisingly little.

This was in 2005, when Dhariwal was a student at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, working on a design project to create a board game for Indian languages. Five years later, his pet project has morphed into a fully fleshed-out board game that’s easing the pain of language teachers around the country.

Called Aksharit, the game is an Indian language version of Scrabble. “Playing board and card games were a part of our growing up,” he says, looking at his older brother Rajat, 27, who co-founded their company MadRat Games Pvt. Ltd along with Madhumita Halder, Rajat’s wife and classmate from IIT Mumbai.

The rules of the game are similar to the English version, yet the peculiarities of the Indian languages forced them to innovate and create an entirely unique set of gameplay mechanisms. Players pick seven “akshars” and form a word with it, but the distribution of letters is different. If they had 12 tiles each of commonly used letters, like the English language Scrabble, they’d have enough tiles to cover a king-sized bed. To get the scoring and distribution right, the team analysed Hindi newspapers to understand which letters were used the most. “The ones that are used the least are assigned most points while those that are commonly used get fewer points,” explains Haldar, who handles the design.

The biggest complication came with the “matras” or vowel signs.

Like the English Scrabble, one player forms a word on the board and gets points based on the location. The next player attaches his word to an existing word. The catch lies in the fact that Indian languages have matras attached and even have half letters. “If the tile on the board has a matra or is used as a half letter, then it remains and the new word can only be made by including them in the existing context,” says Rajat.

“We spoke to bureaucrats, educationalists and went over several trial sessions in government schools,” says Haldar. The effort ended in an order for 6,000 game sets that would be distributed across the the state and in Manuj quitting his start-up job in Bangalore. “We travelled across the country to get less expensive raw material, sat at factories, spent hours on the design and within months, sent two truckloads of games to Chhattisgarh,” grins Rajat.

Since then, MadRat Games has sold 12,000 Aksharit sets to private and government schools across the country and estimates that over 120,000 students now play their game. In August, they clinched a deal with Nokia. An Aksharit app now comes bundled with Nokia’s N8 smartphone, and is available on the Ovi app store.
Read the entire article here. You can also read more articles about Aksharit here and here. The Aksharit team is also looking for language experts to help them. If you are interested, please email them at rajat@madratgames.com.

Visit the website

Sutradhar's Annual Sale

Via an email sent by Chintan Girish Modi

SUTRADHAR ANNUAL SALE!

2nd-5th March

Timings: 10.30am to 5.30pm

Up to 25% off on a range of …

* Educational toys and play materials—puppets, beads, flash cards and more…

* Handcrafted games in wood and cloth…

* Teaching aids for language, math and science—a variety of kits to make learning more meaningful…

* Children’s books

* Books for teachers and special educators

Store address: 59/1, 10 A Main, 3 Cross, Indiranagar, Stage 2.
Locate us: Off 100 Ft Rd, opp Wills Lifestyle, near CMH Rd jnctn
Contact 25215191/ 25288545 for details.

Visit www.sutradhar.com to know about our work.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Remembering Anant Pai : The Man Behind Amar Chitra Katha

Anant Pai, the creator of Amar Chitra Katha, passed away on Thursday evening. Krish Raghav talks about the man behind the comics.

Via livemint.com
In 1967, Anant Pai and his wife, who were visiting New Delhi, were at a bookstore in the city. The TV at the store was playing a quiz featuring some students from St Stephen’s College and Pai was disappointed when the participants couldn’t name the mother of Hindu god Ram. His disappointment only increased when one of them answered a toughie about a Greek god. And that was the moment Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) was born.

Some 100 million copies of Amar Chitra Katha comics have been sold to date.

On Thursday, Pai, 81, “Uncle Pai” to many, died in Mumbai after a heart attack, less than a week after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the organizers of India’s first comic book convention, Comic Con India.

Pai, a chemical engineer, joined Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd, the parent company of English daily The Times of India, in 1961 as a junior executive in the books division. It was there that he played a vital role in conceiving Indrajal Comics, the cult imprint that launched the superhero Bahadur.

In the late 1950s, Bennett Coleman had acquired a set of expensive sheet-fed presses that remained largely idle expect for sporadic calendar-printing orders Indrajal Comics was conceived as a way of keeping these presses occupied, and Pai’s bosses wished to reprint the popular Superman and Batman comics of the time.

Pai wasn’t convinced. He did a “largely unscientific” survey and thought that the location-neutral Phantom comics would work better with an Indian audience. He also suggested reserving half of a 32-page issue for original, locally produced comic strips. “Even here, Pai was big on Rs.infotainment’,” Sharma says. “The pages were filled with nuggets of general knowledge, quizzes, and strips that explained scientific phenomenon.”

“Pai thought it was a shame that the youth of the time had little knowledge of Indian stories and tales,” says Sharma. He mulled over the idea of using comic books to teach what he deemed “Indian values and themes”, and took the idea to H.G. Mirchandani, then the publishing director at publishing firm India Book House (IBH).

Pai was hired as the editor of this new series, which he called “Amar Chitra Katha”. The idea was simple. “Bharat ke bachche agar sapne dekhein to Bharat ke sapne dekhein (If the children of India dream, let them dream of India),” he told Sharma in a 2009 interview.

Oddly, the first ten issues of ACK weren’t Indian at all—they were Hindi translations of fairy tales such as Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Issue 11 marked the first significant shift in direction. It told the tale of Krishna, and Pai wrote it himself, adapting the story from multiple mythological texts. It was also the first ACK comic in English.

Sales were initially slow, with an estimated 20,000 copies sold in the first three years, but Pai stuck to the formula Krishna established. By the mid 1970s, ACK was India’s most popular comic series. The original Krishna has since been reprinted more than 60 times. For the next four decades, Pai remained editor of the imprint, directing the production of each issue and frequently intervening to modify and write the scripts for them.

“There’s a fascinating story about how Tinkle got its name,” says Sharma. “It came out of Pai’s exasperation at the sheer number of meetings he had to attend to decide on the perfect name.” The executives at these interminable meetings frequently excused themselves to answer supposedly important phone calls, which they referred to as “tinkles”.

ACK, whose fans include former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, published over 600 issues till 1991. It resumed in 2007 after the takeover of IBH by ACK Media. And Pai stayed on as “chief storyteller” .

Read the entire story here.

Also read : Anant 'Uncle' Pai popularised Indian culture through comics (Obituary)

Image Source : cool_cat3012

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Frankfurt Book Fair Fellowship 2011

Via an email received from the German Book Office

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Deadline : 30th April, 2011

Rare Manuscripts Go Digital


Via The Times of India

One of the most ambitious and exciting projects in recent years — digitization of India's ancient manuscripts — has moved a step ahead with the Delhi-based National Manuscript Mission (NMM) creating standards for digitization of close to 30 lakh manuscripts in its care. Old wisdom in a pdf or a jpeg? That's right. The Arthashastra on a DVD, that too no less a version than the palm leaf manuscript in the ancient Grantha script.

The standardization now, in consultation with four other agencies including the National Archives of India and National Informatics Center, lays down guidelines from image resolution to file format. This should also help when the plans for a library for the manuscripts is rolled out.

Digitizing manuscripts entails scanning, photographing of the often-frail manuscripts and storing the digital data. The project began in 2005 and to date has processed close to 71,000 manuscripts — that's nearly 93 lakh pages, palm leaves, tree bark folios.

It's not been easy. Collecting manuscripts in the first place is a task, with little idea of the sources. "It's like groping in the dark. Surveyors are required to go door-to-door," says Dipti S. Tripathi, director NMM, on hunting down of manuscripts. The NMM approaches repositories, institutes and individuals. In a survey in Mizoram, the NMM was tipped off about a lady in Tripura who reportedly possesses 200 tribal Mizo manuscripts in the old Bengali script. The search for the lady is still on. "Prior to Christianity coming to Mizoram, tribes used the old Bengali script. We're just keeping our fingers crossed that we find this treasure," says Tripathi.

One of the challenges is also to find people ready to part with their manuscripts, even if it is only for cataloguing purposes. "At times, it's practically impossible to get people to show them to us. It takes a lot of cajoling, sometimes we take the help of local elders, or the panchayat," says Tripathi.

he list of manuscripts was recently made available as a catalogue on their website www.namami.org.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source

Monday, February 21, 2011

Opportunities

1. BECOME A DISNEY CHILDREN'S AUTHOR

Via Disney (via Indu Harikumar)

Here's your chance to create some magic. Disney invites writers to pitch an original idea for children's stories.

Storytellers are required to submit their original local storyline along any of the following themes:

Grandma's story retold in today's times: Take a story, legend, folklore, mythological tale or anything that fascinated you as a child and retell it in a way that captures everyone's imagination.

Escapades of a gang of kids in the historical period of your choice: Capture a time in history that fascinates you and create the ultimate fantasy adventure with you as the central character (a king, princess, potter, weaver, etc).

School stories: Every school day brings joy, challenges and drama, known only to those who live it. So whether it's a crotchety teacher, an exchange student or an elusive sports team, there are tales that can take readers through guffaws, intrigue and tears.

Cricket capers: Cricket unites and inspires everyone in India. Place yourself on the pitch and tell your cricket story - your personal story with cricket, how have our cricket stars inspired you, motivated you and got you to the top!

Pirates of the Arabian Sea: The wild winds from the seas carry stories only a few can hear. If you're one of them, this is the time and place to divulge all.

Indian Princess Stories: Princesses - exquisite and dazzling or feisty and furious; born with a ruby-studded spoon in her mouth or with unlikely beginnings; a figment of your fantasy or a heroine of history. Tell us the story of a princess who inspires independence, kindness, giving, caring, adventure, friendship, love and happiness.

PRIZE: Rs. 50,000 and a once-in-a lifetime chance to get your stories published by Disney.

Closing date: March 31, 2011
Click here for more details.

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2. KATHA CHITRAKALA AWARD : DEADLINE EXTENDED

Via an email sent by Indu Harikumar


(Please click on the image above for a larger view)

Last date for submission of entries : 31st March, 2011

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3. CALLING CARTOONISTS : THE MAYA KAMATH MEMORIAL AWARDS

Via The Hindu
The Indian Institute of Cartoonists conducts the third edition of The Maya Kamath Memorial Awards. Instituted in memory of the late Maya Kamath the competition covers two categories – The Best Political Cartoon Awards – 2010 and The Best Budding Cartoonist Awards – 2010.

The awards are open to all English and regional language cartoonists. For the best political cartoon award, participants can send a maximum of three published political cartoons. These cartoons should have appeared between January 1 and December 31, 2010. The entries for best budding cartoonist is open to those who are not more than 25 years and can send in a maximum of six of their published/unpublished cartoons and caricatures.

For more details participants can contact info@cartoonistsindia.com or cartoonistsindia@gmail.com last date for sending the entries is March 31.
Read the entire article here.

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4. CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR A BILINGUAL MAGAZINE

Via Abroo (via Chintan Girish Modi)
Deadline: 28th February, 2011

Abroo (ਆਬਰੂ) is a soon-to-be-launched bilingual (English and Punjabi) print magazine which will cover the state of social, political, economic and religious affairs in Punjab, while also acting as the voice of weaker and oppressed sections of society. It aims to provide a scholastic, scientific and nonpartisan critique, free from superficiality or rhetoric.

We are seeking articles for the inaugural edition on varied themes like current affairs, politics, economics, sociology, theology, literature, art and poetry. Being a non-profit venture, remuneration should best not be expected. The submissions, ranging from 1000-6000 words, should be in English or Punjabi (eventually published in both).

The articles can be emailed to pukhraj@abroo.in, along with a brief profile of the author, no later than 28th February, 2011.
Click here for more information.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Talk : How Communities Help Children Learn and Keep Schools Honest

Via Ashoka India

The Power of Many: How Communities Help Children Learn and Keep Schools Honest

The discussion will hinge on the strength of communities in helping organizations and individuals overcome challenges of scale and achieve goals that are otherwise difficult. Gautam John works on creating online and offline communities that are helping realise twin missions of “A Book in Every Child's Hand” and “Every Child in School and Learning Well”... He will share his experiences and learnings from these community models and why he thinks communities ought to be central to any organization's theory of change, their organizational model and their delivery methods.

About Gautam John

Gautam John used to be a lawyer with a an interest in Intellectual Property Rights. Recently, he has been an entrepreneur and since 2007 has worked with the Akshara Foundation, where he manages the Karnataka Learning Partnership and at Pratham Books building a new, social,publishing model. He is a founder member of Wikimedia Chapter (India), was a TED India Fellow in 2009 and is an advisor to Inclusive Planet.

He is passionate about education, equality and equity and focuses on 'access' as a way to achieve these.

Date : On Tuesday February 22nd , 7:00PM to 8:30PM

Venue
Ashoka, 54, 1st cross
Domlur Layout, Bangalore

Seats are limited
RSVP : sparker@ashoka.org or call 42745777/41480496

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Smile Inducing Illustrations

Today's dose of smiles came from the cute illustrations I found on Lim Heng Swee's (ilovedoodle) Flickr stream. He even had these two book-related illustrations :

Day 19: Read for Joy
Read for Joy



Day 44: Born to be a librarian
Born to be a librarian


If you have time, please go see all the illustrations on the photostream. Smiles guaranteed! Don't believe me? Here's another one from him:


Day 69: When I grow up
When I grow up

Hop over to see all the illustrations here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reminder : 1st Annual Indian Comic Con

The first Annual Indian Comic Convention is being held in Delhi on 19th and 20th February, 2011.


Via Comic Con India's Facebook page
Why a Comic Convention?

Because of our love of comics! The straightforwardness of the illustrated medium, the way it is approachable to almost anyone. The many different styles and techniques there are to this art form, and the fact that it takes the readers experience to a whole new level, be it fantasy or even non-fiction.

• Add to that, India has had a very long history of picture stories and illustrated books. That rich history has evolved into a burgeoning comics industry, which we want to celebrate and help grow, in every way possible.

• An event such as this very much required, in order for it to survive and flourish, fans of Comic books and graphic art in general need a place to show their support, discover new endeavors in the industry.

• Despite the long distinguished history mentioned above, readership still remains low in India due to various factors. Thus, another major motivator for us is to get more prospective readers as well as publishers involved to give this industry it’s due credit and help it grow.

• Other than the reasons listed above, one of the our major motivations to bring this event to life, was to bring to light and honor, the laureates of this field and industry. To come together and celebrate and award their achievements, to do it at the convention annually.

• Most importantly, in order to achieve a lot many of our goals of promoting comic books and graphic art. We have dedicated PR & Media Teams for the event. They will be putting together a tremendous effort for the widest possible coverage in all mediums for this event. This will also help participating brands, publishers, artists and writers be showcased nationally and internationally.
Learn more about the comic convention (or register) by visiting the website or their facebook page.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

WE HAVE A BRAND NEW LOOK!

A while ago you may recall that we had announced a contest to replace our imprint, 'Read India Books'. After wonderful contributions from the community, we decided to fly with one of the internal recommendations - “Patang”, as announced here. As we progressed ahead, somewhere along the line we went back to the drawing board and felt that “Read India” captured our mission perfectly, and that brand “Pratham Books” had significant equity in the market. So while Pratham Books gets retained as the flagship brand, we hope to continue doing the good work with the guiding philosophy of making India a reading nation. This exercise was combined with re-visiting the grading of our books, all leading to giving our book covers a brand new look! – Read on to see all the changes, why we made them and do give us your feedback.

Why Reading Levels?

Until now Pratham Books, categorized books as suitable for age group 3-6 years, 7-10 years, and 11-14 years.

Our interaction with children told us that there were some problems with this method of grading books, especially for a multi-lingual publisher. For instance, a reluctant reader, aged 11 years, could not read the book in English marked for her age-group but very competently read a book in Kannada marked for the 11-14 age-group. The factor that decided what she could read was not her age but her reading ability in various languages.

The aim of putting in Levels on the back of every book is to help adults select a book for their children, and for children to gauge their own level of comfort, in a manner that is non-judgemental. Since Pratham Books is engaged in bringing out enrichment books rather than pedagogy –driven books, the levels are just an indicator of the reading ability. We hope young readers, as well as the people who buy these books for children will benefit from this change.

Interpretation on the books:

Cover page: The relevant colour band gets flagged off on the cover and our logo gets highlighted on the top. So you always know you are picking up a book from the Pratham Books' family.




Back Cover: The jigsaw puts an interesting visual spin and is an off-beat way of depicting levels. The background colour aligns itself to the level colour – reinforcing both the level as well as colour. So that over a period of time, in a library environment children instinctively know which book to pick up.



Inside Cover:
Here we touch upon who we are, our mission and the Read India Movement.

E-Readers Catch Younger Eyes

Schulknabe mit iPad, after Albert Anker

Via The New York Times
Something extraordinary happened after Eliana Litos received an e-reader for a Hanukkah gift in December.

“Some weeks I completely forgot about TV,” said Eliana, 11. “I went two weeks with only watching one show, or no shows at all. I was just reading every day.”

Ever since the holidays, publishers have noticed that some unusual titles have spiked in e-book sales. The “Chronicles of Narnia” series. “Hush, Hush.” The “Dork Diaries” series.

At HarperCollins, for example, e-books made up 25 percent of all young-adult sales in January, up from about 6 percent a year before — a boom in sales that quickly got the attention of publishers there.

“Adult fiction is hot, hot, hot, in e-books,” said Susan Katz, the president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “And now it seems that teen fiction is getting to be hot, hot, hot.”

But now that e-readers are cheaper and more plentiful, they have gone mass market, reaching consumers across age and demographic groups, and enticing some members of the younger generation to pick them up for the first time.

It is too soon to tell if younger people who have just picked up e-readers will stick to them in the long run, or grow bored and move on.

“Kids are drawn to the devices, and there’s a definite desire by parents to move books into this format,” Ms. Vila said. “Now you’re finding people who are saying: ‘Let’s use the platform. Let’s use it as a way for kids to learn.’ ”

After receiving a light gray Sony Reader from her grandparents for Christmas, Mia Garcia, a 12-year-old from Touchet, Wash., downloaded “Little Women,” a book she had not read before.

“It made me cry,” Mia said. “Then I read ‘Hunger Games,’ ” the best-selling dystopian novel, “and it also made me cry.”

Her 8-year-old brother, Tommy, was given an e-reader, too. “I like it because I have so many different books on it already,” he said, including “The Trouble Begins at 8,” a fast-paced biography of Mark Twain written for children in the middle grades.

Eryn Garcia, their mother, said the family used the local library — already stocked with more than 3,000 e-books — to download titles free, sparing her the usual chore of “lugging around 40 pounds of books.”
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Other Children


As professionals engaged in bringing out children's books, most of our days are spent in the innocent world of prankster kids, lost bats, happy holidays, exciting things to learn, wonderful phrases, pretty drawings, gloriously cheerful illustrations and so on. And then we see the other world....where children are made to pick up a gun rather than a pencil, a magazine of ammunition rather than a storybook. Our friend Ryan Lobo told us about the child soldiers in Liberia. He was in Liberia recently filming Joshua Milton Blahyii, also known as General Butt Naked, warlord turned preacher and crusader. Ryan has worked as a producer, cameraman and sound recordist on more than 60 film projects for National Geographic, Discovery Channel and other networks, including shooting undercover for the Emmy-nominated film Child Slaves of India.

We're delighted that the film “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” made by Eric Strauss, Danielle Anastasion, Ryan Hill and Ryan Lobo has just won the Best Cinematography prize at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, USA. Our congratulations to Ryan, and more power to his camera....we do hope more children will be inspired by photographers like Ryan to shoot with a camera, and never with a gun.

Some of the photographs here may be disturbing to the weak-hearted.

Image: Copyright Ryan Lobo, used with his permission in this post.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'गड किल्ल्यांची भटकंंती' प्रकाशित

(Please click on the image to read the article)

Prahaar, a Marathi newspaper, carried an article (Feb 8, Main issue, page 11) about the launch of our book 'My Unforgettable Trip' at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Events

WRITERS, ETC. - DISCUSSION WITH VIKRAM SETH

Via Delhi Events

Date : 3rd February, 2011
Time : 6.30 pm
Venue : M.L. Bhartia Auditorium, Alliance Francaise De Delhi, 72, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi
'Writers, Etc.' Vikram Seth in discussion with Sam Miller.

It is with great enthusiasm that we bring you a new forum at Alliance française de Delhi! On 3rd February we look forward to welcoming you to the inaugural evening of Writers, Etc.

Writers, Etc is our literary platform: a space where the written word gets primacy, where written ideas and their practitioners can interact with each other and the general public, coming together to ask pertinent questions and seek their answers: what role does literature play in contemporary societies? How do writers see their responsibilities vis-à-vis the public and, turning that over, how do we see writers? How has the written word adapted to its place among the growing pantheon of varied and addictive forms of cultural transmission? The aim is to encourage a discovery, unencumbered by genre, of all the written oeuvres, ranging from living legends to new and emerging talent.

Our inaugural event will begin with one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Indian writing: Vikram Seth. He needs little by way of introduction; his second novel A Suitable Boy (1993) literally reconfigured the rules of Indian writing. His subsequent works revealed the sheer power of meticulous prose with a poetic lyricism; firmly establishing his reputation as one of the most original writers of a generation.


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KOLKATA BOOK FAIR

Kolkata Book Fair, India's largest and most attended book fair, is on till the 6th of February. The 'Theme Country' for this year is the United States of America.

Click here for more details.


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MAIN KAUN HOON ... IN SEARCH OF IDENTITY THROUGH 'GHAZAL, NAZM AND GEETS'

Via India International Centre (via Kriti Budhiraja)
Date: 4th February 2011
Time: 18:30pm
Venue: C. D. Deshmukh Auditorium

Focus On The Work Of Women Poets Of India And Pakistan - The Feminine Experience. The Presentations Will Include Musical And Terannum Renditiions And Dramatized Recitations Of Works By Noted Poets Like Amrita Pritam, Mahadevi Verma, Kishwar Naheed, Zehra Nigah, Parveen Shakir, Naseem Nakhat, Noorjahan Sarwat, Indira Varma And Others

Vocal Artists – Shobhana Rao, Shaila Hattangadi And Nirmala Jaishankar

Dramatised Presentation By Salima Raza

Music Composed By Santosh Kumar


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BOOK LAUNCH - THE STORYTELLER : TALES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

Via Chintan Girish Modi

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Date : 4th February, 2011
Venue : Landmark , Nungambakkam, Chennai


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BOOK LAUNCH : WHITEWASH, RED STONE : A HISTORY OF CHURCH ARCHITECTURE IN GOA


(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Date : 6th February, 2011
Time : 6.30 pm
Venue: Yodakin, Delhi


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METAMORPHOSIS 2011 : A MONTESSORI MELA

Via theima (via Chintan Girish Modi)

Date : 6th February, 2011

Venue : Yavanika, State Youth Centre, Nrupathanga Road Next to Reserve Bank of Indial) , Bangalore.

(Please click on the image for a larger view)


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MUMBAI WRITERS RETREAT

Via Paris Writers Retreat
Join our week-long conference in Mumbai, Feb. 14th-18th 2011. Do your most authentic work with New York Times bestselling author and literary agent. Writers of nonfiction, fiction, plays, and screenplays gather to develop their stories and fine tune their craft.

Develop your book, fine tune your manuscript, and perfect your writing in progress. Writers of all levels attend to generate new material, develop ideas, or perfect works in progress.
Click here for more details.

Cute Cardboard Owl Bookends


Today's dose of whimsy comes from 'bookshelves of doom'. Aren't these bookends super cute? You can see more of Claude Jeantet's cardboard animals here.

6000 Books for Kids Attending TEDx Shekhavati

We've been following the TEDxShekhavati journey since last year and we've known Masarat Daud (the TEDxShekhavati organizer) through Twitter. If last year's event seemed exciting (Read about the event here), then we have no words to describe how excited we are about this year's event. Why are we excited?

Here's why....

Last year, Masarat mailed us and told us about the event she is organizing this year and how this year's event would include a special session for kids! When Masarat asked if we could help in some way, we decided that we would help in the way we know best - by giving away some of our books!

And in January 2011, 6000 books were packed and transported and sent to Jaipur. We received a call from Masarat today and she mentioned how she is expecting more than 1000 kids at the event. If there are any books which couldn't be distributed at the event, Masarat will distribute them to schools she will visit in Rajasthan.

TEDxShekhavati 2011 will take place on February 5, 2011 in Kishan Paathshaala, Fatehpur Shekhavati (Rajasthan, India). You can view the schedule for the event here.

We leave you with Masarat's latest blog post about the event :
Let’s come to the point now. I visited the TEDxShekhavati 2011 venue yesterday. I think we couldn’t have been gifted with a better venue. The school was in ruins and it was so hard to believe that it is a functioning school! KIshan Paathshaala was built in the 1920s as a school for Harijans (‘untouchables’) and since then it has evolved into a school for less-fortunate children. These are children whose fathers are donkey cart pullers, or children who are orphans or whose fathers have left them and re-married, leaving them with their grandparents who can barely take care of them. 200 such children go to school here. There are eight teachers in the school.

Yesterday, I went to the school and they did an impromptu dance performance for me. I was so touched by the sincereity of those children and teachers. Then, one of the teachers told me that their school is considered the lowest grade in Fatehpur and because of us (our family), this school and the entire area around us has received a ‘lift’. The school—almost 80 years old—does not have toilets! But because of TEDxShekhavati, toilets are now being built in the school and will be completed before the event on February 5, 2011. The school is finally being painted too!
Read the entire blog post here. You can also follow @TEDxShekhavati and @Masarat on Twitter.

Meet Us at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival


The Kala Ghoda Art Festival is being conducted from 5th-13th February, 2011 in Mumbai.

Pratham Books is also participating and you can find us at Stall no. 94 from 5th-9th February, 2011. The timing of the festival is from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm on all the five days.

And don't forget to join us for the book launch and reading of our book 'My Unforgettable Trip' on 6th February, 2011 :
If you thought history was only about the dead and gone, think again! Join us, as the author, Milind Gunaji--- and his very spirited friend--- bring history alive by taking us through a memorable journey of Maharashtra's most famous forts.

"My Unforgettable Trip" is a children's book with stunning photographs. The author will read from his book and be available for a special tete-a-tete with children.

Date: 6th Feb
Time: 4.00 pm
Venue: Museum Garden, Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai
Open to all, especially children.
Visit the festival page to view the schedule of events. Find a list of all the children-related events here and all the literature-related events here.

Image Source

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"My Unforgettable Trip" - Book Release and Reading

(Please click on the image for a larger view)


If you thought history was only about the dead and gone, think again! Join us, as the author, Milind Gunaji--- and his very spirited friend--- bring history alive by taking us through a memorable journey of Maharashtra's most famous forts.

"My Unforgettable Trip" is a children's book with stunning photographs. The author will read from his book and be available for a special tete-a-tete with children.


Date: 6th Feb
Time: 4.00 pm
Venue: Museum Garden, Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai
Open to all, especially children.

Pratham Books is also participating in the Kala Ghoda Festival and you can visit us at stall no. 94.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Decade in Literature

Via livemint.com

The book business encompasses three universes that overlap substantially but have distinct identities and histories. These are: publishing (the book as a physical object, the mechanics of book editing, design and printing, the size of the market and the quality and diversity of the publishing houses within it), book selling (the bookshop as a site for browsing and buying, and as a cultural space, the distribution networks of publishers, book launches and other publicity methods), and, less tangible than the other two, but the thread running through it all—the idea of literature, of a reading culture.

We might think of this decade as one in which Indian literature went forward and expanded outward at the same time, bringing into its embrace many of the literary riches of its past and present that were hitherto restricted to specialists or speakers of a particular regional language.

The birth of many new publishing houses and imprints in the last decade, the explosion in the number of books published, the increase in the number of bookshops (particularly the big chains such as Crossword, Landmark and Odyssey), and the growth of the online book trade all point to one thing. The book business is growing rapidly.

Online book selling, almost negligible in 2000, now accounts for about Rs100 crore worth of business every year, divided up between players such as Flipkart (where I do most of my shopping), Rediff and Indiaplaza.

Indian literature itself occupies a much larger place in world literary consciousness than it did at the beginning of the decade, with a small raft of big Indian names giving way to a whole schooner of exciting voices. Indian novels in English no longer exhibit the self-consciousness of most earlier works in the language, and good new novels appear now not in their ones and twos, but at the rate of a couple of dozen a year.

Another pointer to the maturation of Indian literature in English this decade was the emergence of genre fiction of various kinds, from thrillers to chicklit to campus novels to pulp fiction in translation, thereby opening out the market for Indian fiction dramatically and bringing in readers hitherto deterred by or unsympathetic to novels.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Kirk Siang

Virtual Mentoring Program from The Patchwork Collective for Writers of Color

Via Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich's blog (via PaperTigers)

The Patchwork Collective for Writers of Color is accepting applications for its Virtual Mentoring Program! If you are a writer of children’s literature looking to improve your craft and get a better understanding of the children’s publishing industry, read on.

Participants will be invited to join an online group and receive personalized advice from mentors on manuscripts and technique (no more than one critique of 10 pages of a long-form work, or 1 PB over the 8 week period), industry- and craft-related information (books, conferences, helpful organizations, Web sites, etc.), and more. Mentors will not be offering referrals to any agents or editors. If you are a writer of color in the “intermediate” stage of your pursuit of a career in children’s literature, this is an opportunity for one-on-one online communication with a published children’s book author (PB-YA).

This is for writers of CHILDREN’S LITERATURE ONLY, defined as picture book (PB)-young adult (YA).

There are at least 10 spots available, and matching will be first-come first-served, according to genre. The Spring 2011 submission process is open from Feb 1-Feb 4.


Click here for more details.

Pothi's Write Your Love Contest

Heart paper bunting

Via Pothi
Beyond the fast updating time-lines of Twitter and FaceBook, the constantly tingling IM messages and the ever ringing cell phones, there exists a world far slower. A world where time moves slowly and emotions don’t need to be compressed in 140 characters. This is the world of letters!

Even among letters, love letters hold a special place. Writing a love letter is not for the faint of the heart. The intimacy, the secrecy, the barrage of emotions and most of all the anticipation of the response make it an unforgettable experience. Alas! our busy lives hardly leave us time for such luxuries!

But take a break this Valentine’s day and celebrate the lost art of letter writing with us! Task is simple. Pick up any fictional character whom you have had a crush over and write him/her a passionate love letter! The character could be from a book/movie/TV series etc.

Up to two winning entries get a cash prize of Rs. 1000 each from Pothi.com.

All the entries received until February 10, 2011 will be considered for the competition.
Click here to for more details.

Image Source : the green gal