Panel Discussion 3: The Growing Complexity of Junior Readers in India


  Date: 10th October 2020   |  Time: 10:40 – 11:10 AM IST (GMT+5.5)


Karthika Gopalakrishnan is the Head of Reading at Neev Academy. She has worked with schools across south India to help students develop a love for reading in her position as a project manager with Multistory Learning. She has curated book lists, created content to use in the classroom, conducted storytelling, and teacher training sessions. Karthika has also written and edited children’s books for Ms Moochie Books, Pratham Books’ Storyweaver, and Pattam (an imprint that publishes high-quality children’s books in Tamil).

Prior to this, she worked as a journalist with The Times of India and The New Indian Express in Chennai. Karthika holds a post-graduate diploma in New Media from the Asian College of Journalism and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Communication from MOP Vaishnav College for Women.


Venita Coelho works with images, words and paint. She is a writer who has worked in film, television and literature. She has ten published books to her credit. These include ‘Boy No. 32’ which won The Hindu GoodBooks award for best fiction for children in 2020, and ‘Dead as a Dodo’ which won The Hindu Award GoodBooks for best fiction for children in 2016. ‘All of Me’ won the Peekabook Children’s Choice award in 2020. ‘Washer of the Dead’ was long listed for the Frank O’Connor award. As an artist, she works with charcoal and with acrylic paint on glass. Venita Coelho lives in an old Portuguese house in Goa with eight dogs. The pandemic has put a pause on her great adventure – having converted a Tempo traveller into a caravan, she and her daughter have been travelling across India in stages.


Jane De Suza‘s books serve up thought-provoking insights through humour, which get them onto Amazon’s and Nielsen’s top selling charts, as well as award lists. These include Flyaway Boy, the SuperZero series, Uncool etc. for children, and the novels Happily Never After and The Spy who Lost her Head. Jane is a management grad from XLRI, has been Creative Director at leading advertising agencies, has a column with The Hindu, and writes for publications worldwide. She lives in Singapore.



Debasmita Dasgupta is a Singapore-based, internationally published, Kirkus-Prize nominated illustrator and graphic novelist. She enjoys drawing both fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. She has illustrated over 20 picture books, comics, and poems. Widely known as an art-for-change advocate, Debasmita tells stories of changemakers from around the world partnering with global non-profits. Her art is exhibited across the globe and more than 40 international media outlets have featured it. Her debut independent graphic novel, NADYA, published by Scholastic India is critically acclaimed in many countries. She is currently working on a long-form graphic novel.


Olivier Lafont is a French author, screenplay writer, and actor living in Paris. His first fantasy novel Warrior was published by Penguin Random House. His other works include Oop and Lila Lost in the Scarabean, Sweet Revenge, Snowbound, and Purgatory: The Gun of God. He has written an Indo-French feature film that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to win seven awards internationally. He has acted in Hollywood and Indian films, including 3 Idiots and Guzaarish. He graduated with degrees in English Literature and in Theatre from Colgate University, USA, with academic distinction.