Panel Discussion 2: The Reasons Why Young Readers Find Historical or Current Reality Captivating


  Date: 10th October 2020   |  Time: 11:15 – 11:45 AM


Rasil Ahuja been a passionate reader since the day she discovered a library. She worked in technology for 10 years before making the leap into a classroom. Her passion for education combined with a love for stories inspires her to write for children. Her first children’s book was published in 2017. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, travelling, experimenting in the kitchen, or out seeking a new adventure. Rasil has a BA in Government & Politics, a MS in Information Systems, and a MEd in Elementary Education.




Aftab Yusuf Shaikh has been writing since the age of eight and has published his poetry in a number of anthologies and journals. His autobiographical novel ‘The Library Girl’ was published in 2017. His recent children’s book ‘Letters to Ammi’ came out in 2019. He has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Silver Award in 2003, the Ne8x Author of the Year Award 2019 and the Poiesis International Award for Excellence in Literature in 2020. He works as a teacher and translator residing presently in Thane.



Arti Sonthalia is a Hyderabad based children’s author. She started her journey with “Chicken Soup For the Soul” books, and continued to the children’s genre. Her debut children’s book, Big Bully And M-me was nominated for the Crystal Kite Asia award. Her other books, Hungry to Read has inspired even the reluctant readers to read. Her book Best Friends Forever has won the FICCI year of the book award jan’20 and her latest book Hungry To Play is loved by all.
She has also been a TEDx speaker.
An avid reader, music lover, bathroom singer and a writer at heart. When Sonthalia is not writing she is busy listening to music and reading. Sonthalia loves long walks and enjoys chocolates too!


Parvati Sharma is a Delhi-based author. Her debut was a collection of short stories called “The Dead Camel and Other Stories of Love”. She has also written a novel, “Close to Home”; a historical biography, “Jahangir: An Intimate Portrait of a Great Mughal”; and two books for children, “The Story of Babur” and “Rattu & Poorie’s Adventures in History: 1857”.




Priya Narayanan is a poet and children’s author based in Ahmedabad. She runs her own design practice under the twin banners Tatva and Soma and is Professor at CEPT University, her alma mater. When not practicing and teaching design, she likes to travel solo and read everything that comes her way provided she has a cup of hot coffee or frozen chocolate-chip ice cream for company. A non-conformist to traditional notions of anything and everything, she likes to question in spite of knowing the answers – hoping to find new dimensions and newer solutions.



Lesley D. Biswas is a children’s author with over 25 years of experience as a freelance writer. She grew up in McCluskiegunj and is now based in Kolkata. She writes about the environment, food, culture and parenting, but her heart lies in writing children’s stories and is the author of Unlucky Chumki, her debut book. She is passionate about nature, bird photography and cricket.





Lalita Iyer is a Mumbai-based journalist, columnist and author of Sridevi: Queen of hearts, The Whole Shebang and I’m Pregnant Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot! She has also written for children (The Boy Who swallowed a nail and other stories) and edited two anthologies (Grandma Tales and Grandpa Tales) . She was earlier managing editor at Filmfare magazine and deputy editor at HT Cafe. She has taught and mentored at Sahyadri School (KFI) and Akshara School (Mumbai). She has written extensively on pop culture, feminism, travel, food, parenting, Bollywood and relationships.