Quick Take - Paro Anand

Quick Take - Paro Anand

She has written extensively for children, young adults and adults. A Bal Sahitya Puraskar winner, she works with children in schools and NGOs through her programme, Literature in Action. Her contribution to children’s literature has been widely recognised, earning her awards from The Russian Centre for Science and Culture, and the president of India.

She is also a performance storyteller. Her No Guns At My Son’s Funeral was on the International Board on Books for Young People Honour List, has been translated into German and French, and is being adapted for cinema, while The Little Bird Who Held The Sky Up With His Feet was on the ‘1001 Books to Read before You Grow Up’, an international gold standard of the world’s best books ever. Her other notable books includeWingless, Like Smoke, The Other and Nomad’s Land. Excerpts from an interview:

 What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

The discipline. Because there is no one really breathing down your neck, life keeps taking over.

Your favourite author?

Too many to list. I love to browse around a bookstore and pick up
anything that catches my fancy.

 Your current read...

Hour of The Bees by Lindsay Eagar.

As a child, which book was your best?

I wasn’t a great reader until I chanced upon Born Free by Joy Adamson, which propelled me towards Gerald Durrell, Doctor Dolittle, Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web...

The best place to sit and write...

My gorgeous cottage at the end of my garden.

If not a writer, what would you be?

I wanted to be a rock star, but I couldn’t sing; I wanted to be an actor, but the breaks came hard; I wanted to do anything with animals, but no one ever replied to my offers to come work for them. And so I became a writer...

What do you do to unwind?

Play with my dogs; Netflix. My husband and I have been best friends for ever, so hanging out with him is unwinding.

Ideal place to holiday...

I’m just back from Ayurvedagram, a wellness Ayurvedic spa in Bengaluru. Seeing the Northern Lights and the Great Migrations in some of the African parks are on my bucket list.

 Message for aspiring writers...

I have borrowed this from Uma Krishnaswami, a fellow writer: BIC, Bottom in Chair. Just put your bottom into a chair and write. And, even if you have nothing to write, just write for a little while every day.

 Something that never goes out of fashion...

Good manners.

Your pet project?

Whichever book I’m working on at the moment.

 The source of inspiration for your books...

Life inspires me. And children.

Your chosen cuisine, and your comfort food...

Kashmiri... From daal-chawal to a good cheesecake, I’ll take it and eat it too.

One person you admire...

Lord, so very many people. But, definitely, Sreela Debi, who rescues abandoned pets and fights to save them.

A cause dear to your heart...

Personally, I want to create
empathetic young people through my writing.

Your life as a writer...

Writing is what makes me feel whole and complete.

A typical day for you...

I wake up to a huge loving lick from my dogs. And I sleep watching Netflix with my husband. And in between, any and everything happens.

Your most marked


Peace, at any cost. Up to a point. But push me beyond that point and I bite back. Hard.

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