Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How Priya Narayanan's Story Travelled After Winning the RRR Contest

One year, we skipped hosting our annual Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest. We found out about the popularity of the contest only when people mailed us to ask why we weren't hosting it. Another way we knew that people liked participating is when we see familiar names popping up on our inbox with new stories. Priya Narayanan is one of those people. Priya's story 'The Jungle Cinema' was also one of the winning stories of the RRR Contest held in 2012. Priya tells us more about the life of her story : 

Being a children’s author, writing stories for children is always a pleasure. I love the way kids react to my stories and add their own nuances to make each story their own. While I encourage my own children to look at stories in a different perspective and try to take them forward with a new interpretation, I too try to push my own imagination by trying to take a story beyond what the original author conceived it to be. And the Retell, Remix, Rejoice contest lets me do just this, adding to it greatly with an assortment of wonderful illustrations that call out to you!

I first took part in the contest in 2012 on a whim, mainly as an exercise to deal with a stubborn writer’s block. I had recently embarked on my journey as a children’s author and was not prepared for such a mind-numbing situation. Once I looked at the illustrations on the Pratham Books blog, hundreds of stories started forming in my mind, and I was truly overwhelmed with what a few great illustrations could do to the constitution of one’s brain! And just imagine my surprise when I found that my story ‘The Jungle Cinema’ actually won the first place!!

It was truly humbling when I received a printed copy of my book soon after. My first reaction was to print out as many copies of the book and distribute it amongst children in my society, kids’ schools and the neighbourhood library – all for free, much inspired by Pratham Books' conviction to offer children cheap and easy access to books. I have since included the book in most of my school visits as an author and have received memorable reactions from the children in return.

My success with The Jungle Cinema also inspired my daughter to participate in the 2014 edition of the Retell, Remix, Rejoice contest. She wrote the story ‘Naman and the Dinosaur Eggs’ that received a shout out for the unique take on the illustrations. And that is precisely what I love about this contest. It opens up your mind to the immense amount of possibilities that just a few illustrations can offer and while you feel like a juggler, playing around with 8 to 10 illustrations, whether you put up a great show or not depends upon how well you balance them.

Participate in the 2015 edition of the Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest.

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