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Ranjit Lal

Ranjit Lal

Ranjit Lal

Please tell us a bit about your room where you write and spend most of your time.

The room I write in is my bedroom too, and it overlooks the historical Nicholson Cemetery – so I have quiet neighbours! It’s quite green. To make sure I’m not distracted while writing my computer faces the wall – and not the view outside. Also, commuting from the bed to the writing table takes about 5 seconds!

You have been prolific in writing for children.Do you feel that now publishers and readers are taking more interest in children’s literature?

Hopefully they are. Certainly things appear better than they used to be, with bookshops exclusively for children. But we have a long, long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world.

Your book ‘The Little Ninja Sparrows’ has been nominated for the Valley of Words Book Awards 2018. Are literary awards important for authors to establish credibility around the literary circuit?

Anything that draws attention to children’s writing is good – and that would include awards to writers! Ask anyone what the most important thing in their life is, and most will unhesitatingly say, ‘my children’.

Did having interest in nature help in you while writing the book?

Well of course!

Do you feel that the quickly diminishing habit of reading could make a comeback and become a part of our culture in the future?

Hopefully it will. Hopefully kids will get tired of pressing buttons and gazing glassily at screens – and go back to sneaking books under their bed-sheets and reading surreptitiously  by torchlight! Reading develops imagination – and that’s what makes us different from all other living things. If we are unable to imagine (which, will happen if we stop reading and writing) we may as well all be cabbages!



About the Interviewee:

Ranjit Lal is the author of over 35 books - fiction and non-fiction - for children and adults who are children.

His abiding interest in natural history, birds, animals and insects is reflected in many of his books: The Crow Chronicles, The Life and Times of Altu Faltu, The Small Tigers of Shergarh; The Simians of South Block and the Yum-yum Piglets, The Tigers of Taboo Valley, Bambi, Chops and Wag; Birds from My Window; The Birds of Delhi; Wild City, The Trees of Medley Gardens, The Little Ninja Sparrows etc.

His book, Faces in the Water , on female infanticide, and for which he was honoured by IBBY in 2012, won the Crossword Award for Children’s Writing 2010 and the Ladli National Media Award for Gender Sensitivity 2012.

Our Nana Was a Nutcase – on dementia and Alzheimer’s - won the Crossword Raymond Award for Children’s Writing in 2016.

Other books with social themes include Taklu and Shroom (shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Children’s Writing 2013), Miracles, Smitten (on child abuse in the family), The Secret of Falcon Heights, The Dugong and the Barracudas, and The Battle for No. 19.

As a journalist he has had well over 2000 articles and photo-features published in the national and international press and currently has a column – Down in Jungleland – in the Indian Express ‘Eye’. His other interests include photography, automobiles, reading and cooking. He lives in Delhi.