ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Child's Play

Writing for children is a demanding task that calls for humour and imagination but it is ultimately rewarding.

“So when are you going to write for adults?”, a friend asked the other day. I groaned inwardly. There we go again! She’s not the first to fire such a salvo and is certainly not going to be the last. This veiled insinuation that writing for children is a stepping stone to writing for adults, that you aren’t good enough until you write for adults, seems to be one of the occupational hazards of being a children’s writer. I get quizzed regularly on variations of this theme. I am asked, “Why do you write for children?” “Why did you start by writing for children?” “How easy is it to write for children?”. I know the implication is, “Didn’t you choose the genre because it is the easier, safer option and you’d like to test the shallow waters before diving into the deep end?”.

There are others who say it is impossible for them to write for children, a remark that would have set your heart aglow and fooled you into accepting it as a compliment, except that your sharp ears detected that barely perceptible condescension in the tone. I may be mistaken, but I believe J K Rowling, in writing her adult novel, bowed to the demands of literary snobbery and though she didn’t exactly come a cropper, she didn’t emerge a winner either. She was under too much scrutiny and clearly the pressure got to her. She could have casually allowed the vacancy for adult fiction in her literary repertoire to remain unfilled instead of falling prey to the narrow belief that true literary worth is measured by how well you write for adults. If only she had, like Jane Austen, stuck to her “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory” and continued to do what she was best at!

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