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Bagchi, Sinha and Berry at the IBBY conference in Greece

Culture cameos

Author: admin

I am 78 years old and write stories for kids along with my two writer friends Neelima Sinha, 79, and Neeta Berry, 65. These stories are illustrated and published under the aegis of AWIC (Artists, Writers and Illustrators for Children), the Indian section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), an international organisation committed to bringing books and children together.

As part of AWIC, we have been travelling across the globe over the past eight years in support of IBBY’s conferences. This year’s edition, the 36th IBBY conference, was held from 30 August to 1 September in Greece with the enticing, and culturally relevant, theme: ‘East Meets West around Children’s Books and Fairytales.’

Thus, we left for our sojourn to every literary dreamer’s ultimate destination. We were excited to see this ancient land of Socrates and Homer with its ancient history and civilisation; the monuments, museums and temples depicting Greek mythology. It was a surreal experience to imbibe their culture and, at the same time, present our own culture to the world. Nilima Sinha’s paper, Presenting Ancient South Asian Literature to the West – Helping Promote Better Cultural Understanding Globally, compared different cultures and their influences over the world. And Nita Berry presented India’s Panchatantra – An Intrepid Globetrotter, tracing the eventful journey of Sanskrit literature’s oldest collection of fables and the world’s oldest collection of stories for children.

While the trip fuelled our passion for the written word even further, the tranquil blue of the Aegean and the ancient marvels of mythological Greece offered us great respite from the fast pace of the world.

—Indira Bagchi, Delhi

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
November 2018