The Children’s Literature Fest in Mumbai was spectacular, guys—I wish you all could have been there!
Huge shoutout to ORCHIDS The International School and the other sponsors, and Rupsa and her team for making it happen.
(They also made this rad video of me talking about how great it was—you can see they’re skilled by how they edited my barely-coherent flailing interview into something cool~)
Apparently this was not only the first Children’s Lit Fest in Mumbai, but the largest anywhere? I think 10,000 guests over the course of the festival were anticipated. (So happy I don’t get stage fright!)
The level of production was just unbelievable; they had this thing they called a “story street” that you can catch a glimpse of in that YouTube where they’d created like 10-foot high vinyl-printed illustrations and pop-up installations all along a corridor so you literally walked through stories to get to the festival.
All the storytellers (guest speakers) had these personalized introduction videos (also: we got to walk on stage to epic film soundtracks.) Total celebrity moment! Plus the festival had its own theme song (and later, music video!)
I was so busy connecting with everyone, I didn’t really get around to taking any decent pictures, but you can find some of the videos and images from the festival here.
The team worked so hard—just nonstop running around to make it all happen (one even broke her leg and kept going!! Badass, Taniya!) and it was cool to hear how the whole thing came about because they’re encouraged to come up with creative, ambitious projects.
Some sessions were standing-room only, but one of my favourites was near the end of the festival when only four kids showed up and we got to just circle up chairs and chat writing for a couple hours. Brilliant.
Speaking of brilliant, these kids—wow. I was speaking to mostly 11-14 year olds, with some sessions attended by older teens and adults, and I was worried if they would be too young at first, but even the youngest ones were totally engaged. I wish I’d been half as confident and able to communicate effectively at their age!
Another cool moment: because I mostly sell books online, I’ve only ever personalized books for friends, family, and reviewers. But one awesome dad who brought out his daughter to multiple days of the festival bought a copy as a surprise for her after her next exam. Such a cool moment for me (and I hope for her!)
If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, you’ll know that I almost didn’t go, but I’m so glad I did. It was amazing meeting all the brilliant guests, sharing stories, talking writing, and getting to spend time with so many great people.
(I’ll be working on a series to introduce you to some of them in the newsletters and on social in coming weeks.)
As a creative and business owner in the 21st century, I’ve really had a digital-first mentality. But now I’m absolutely going to be seeking out more chances to connect with readers and writers offline as well~
Thanks to everyone who helped put on the event, taught, or attended a session—I can’t wait to do more events like this!