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Children’s literature for better future
Tej Prakash Shrestha is known for books of fiction and non-fiction. He started with writing poems in 1963. Later he shifted to travelogues and stories for children. He is better known for his children’s books such as ‘Timi Pani Deu Ma Phool Dinchu’, ‘Gharbhitra Kya Maaja’, ‘Mingmar’, among others.
He has published 25 non-fiction books related to culture and travelogue. Likewise, he has written 70 story books of children till now. He is a retired government official and currently he is the president of Nepal Bal Shahitya Samaj and treasurer of Nepali Lokbarta Tatha Sanskritik Samaj. He has won several awards and accolades as a writer, including Ramesh Bikal Bal Sahitya Puraskar, Sajha Bal Sahitya Puraskar, Basu Maiya Sahitya Puraskar, among others.
In an interview with My City, Shrestha talked about his experiences and challenges in the field of writing fiction for children and others.
What is writing for you?
Writing is a hobby for me and a tool to preserve or document our culture and lifestyle that is changing with time. Writing for me is a means to transform information and knowledge to the younger generation.
What and who inspired you to be a writer?
The lifestyle, people, environment and culture inspires me to write. Moreover, I began writing being inspired by my brother Krishna Prakash Shrestha, who is also a writer. My inspiration also comes authors such as Laxmi Prasad Devkota.
What action defines you and why?
I began my journey as a writer through poems. But when I wrote stories for both adults and children it changed my shift from poems to narratives. And being a fiction writer for children defines me who I am today. I am very interested in child psychology, Nepali tradition and culture where I aim to handover the knowledge of our culture to the children which gives me satisfaction in my life.
How has writing evolved during your initial days and now? What are the challenges?
Nepali children’s literature is still young in Nepal. Technology has changed the way of thinking these days. This is the time of globalization connected by media and today you cannot produce a compelling literature using just your experience and feelings. There needs a balance between past and present along with understanding the mental state of the children. So, now writing for children is easy as well as difficult.
Today’s generation is technology savvy and they know things that we don’t know. Information is easily accessible for them thus it is a challenge to write for such generation. With depth research and including things from the past along with integrating new information is the only way to create a gripping literature for today’s children.
Any tips for aspiring writers?
Life is all about being satisfied with what you have and still thriving for success. If you want to be children’s writer then you should have dedication, patience and ability to present things in an interesting way.
Would you like to convey any word of advice to our readers?
Nepal has cultural diversity even though it occupies a small space in the world map. And children’s literature helps them to understand about their society, culture, tradition, beliefs, and diversity. So it is important for any parents to inspire their children to read children’s literature. This will eventually help protect, conserve and promote our identity which is gradually shifting toward western culture.