Thursday, July 9, 2015

Announcing the Results of the Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest

The results of the Retell, Remix and Rejoice contest are finally here! The judging this year took a long, long time because of the number of entries. This year we received a total of 99 entries! Yes, 99 - the largest number of entries we've ever received. We also added  new category - the collaborative category - to allow 2 or more people to join hands and create a story. This category saw many parents and kids team up to send in stories. The illustrations for this year's contest were chosen from the Adikahaani series of books and seemed to a big hit among the participants. We were a little sad to see that most of the entries sent in were in English (we were hoping for multilingual stories), but were delighted when we spotted some Hindi and Marathi stories being submitted.

Choosing winners from the 99 diverse set of stories was a hard task. Thankfully, our main judges came to the rescue! The three judges for this year's contest were :

Bijal Vachharajani 

When Bijal is not reading Harry Potter, she can be found looking for tigers in the jungles of India. In her spare time, she works so as to fund the trips and those expensive Potter books. She did this by working as the Editor at Time Out Bengaluru. She is now a consultant with Fairtrade India.

As a journalist, Bijal has worked with Time Out Mumbai, where she handled the Around Town city section and the Kids section. She was the South Asia Co-ordinator for 350.org, an international movement that’s working on the climate crisis. She pursued her masters in Environment Security and Peace with a specialization in Climate Change and Security at the University for Peace in Costa Rica.



Arundhati Venkatesh is a children’s writer based in Bangalore. Arundhati was also the winner of last year's Retell, Remix and Rejoice contest.

Arundhati has published picture books and chapter books with leading publishing houses in India. Her books have won several awards, including the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2015 for India, Middle East and Asia for Petu Pumpkin Tooth Troubles, the Comic Con India 2015 Best Publication for Children award for Bookasura - The Adventures of Bala and the Book-eating Monster and the RivoKids Hindustan Times Parents and Kids Choice Award for Petu Pumpkin TiffinThief and Junior Kumbhakarna. You can find her work at arundhativenkatesh.wordpress.com.



Rajesh Khar is an editor at Pratham Books. Through these years, he has not only edited and translated books but also coordinated lit fests like Bookaroo, JLF, Samanvay, New Delhi World Book Fairs and joined hands with organisations like Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, CBSE, NEOR by NCERT and a host of non-profits. He has been supervising books in many Northern & Eastern Indian languages and also have had opportunity to be a part of the Adikahaani Series and the Urdu programme. His interests are music, classical performing arts, casual writing, theater and film making. He loves spending time with children and young people and basically has a lot of fun in whatever he does.

Here's what they had to say about the judging process:

Bijal
It wasn't an easy task, and I spent many happy hours going through the entries. The below-16 category was exceptionally enchanting, with their quirky, imaginative story lines. For me, that was the hardest to choose. What gave me a lot of hope was seeing the many narratives that brought together these mosaic of pictures, to talk about issues of farming, conservation, biodiversity and environment protection. Imaginative and thought-provoking, these few pictures were stitched together to tell the story of unpredictable weather and climate change, issues that farmers face in an insightful way. Words together with pictures can be powerful, and RRR reaffirms that fact.

Rajesh : 
It was a pleasant surprise to see how many different stories people can weave around the same images and more or less the same situations. Even more surprises waited me till I read some of the stories under different categories - a number of stories began with the same image! A good number of stories began with a same scenario e.g. about a drought! Quite a few stories had a folklore type of approach.  
For me the process of evaluation was simple - open the entries one by one, read them carefully and see if the images chosen match the story. I put remarks against each story and then after reading through the entire set, gave a ranking. I had to re-read all of them again to give a ranking because by the time you reached the tenth story, the first one wasn't so clear in your mind. Some stories appeared like their authors had a conference call before writing them! I smiled, read on and wondered how similar we are.  
So a few questions arose in my mind: Do similar images propel us to think more or less on the similar lines? Have our brains learnt to interpret similar images in broadly similar ways? If all of us wish to co-exist with the nature around us, then what stops us from living a life of harmony? I don't know the answers yet, may be after reading many, many more stories, things might get clearer in my mind...or who knows?
Arundhati : 
There were so many interesting stories to choose from! A good story idea that was both imaginative and coherent, or a fresh approach stood out and made it to the final list.  
Congratulations to all the participants. It was a pleasure reading the entries in the under-16 category; the young participants deserve applause. Have fun reading and keep writing!

And now, on to the results ...

Below 16 category winner : Sneha Ganesh for 'The Quest of the Flower Which Died at Sunset'

Arundhati though that the story was an unusual interpretation of the visuals.  "Interesting that a story set in contemporary times has the hero going on a journey with people helping him along in his quest - much like a folk tale. Are we making kids jump through hoops in pursuit of the "special flower" - an A+ ?Thoughtprovoking!", says Arundhati. Bijal loved the story because of the super match between visuals and storytelling. The interesting title hooked Rajesh and he found that the story had interesting turns and suspense.




Collaborative category winner : N. Chokkan, N. Nangai, N. Mangai for 'Friend Detector'

While Arundhati loved the wicked humour of the story, Bijal thought that it was 'super storytelling with photos'. Rajesh loved the title and the active use of remixed illustrations. Arundhati also liked the story because of the folktale-ish feel.



Above 16 category winner : Nalini Ramachandran for 'Jambook and Big, Brown Round'
"An imaginative tale, delightfully written. Plenty of dialogue and action to move the story forward. Love the joyful tone of the story. Must be served with some bangaladumpa on the side!", said Arundhati. Rajesh went on to say, "Very good title, interesting folk style story retold neatly and good use of images".



Congratulations to all the winners. Your stories will be laid out by our designers and you will receive the hard copies of your stories soon.

Thank you participants for adding colour and vigour to the stories and for making this contest a big success.

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