Tuesday, January 24 2017, 07:37:56
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Shreeya Kishanpuria Agarwal

JWB Intern

JLF DAY 1: Patricia Forde Opens A Secret To JWB How To Grow A Child Into A Wordsmith

  • JWB Post
  •  January 19, 2017

Stories, stories, stories, and the power of imagination. I am shaking with joy as I write this.

Patricia Forde is a magician. She has always been. So she tells us.

 As a child, she was chided by a nun for telling lies.

‘Not a liar, she only has a big imagination,’ answered her mother.

‘Stop lying Patricia,’ her mother said, ‘write them all down and start calling them stories.’

 There began Patricia’s journey into the world of storytelling.

I sat at her session in Jaipur Literature Festival like a little child, all ears. She weaved magic with short stories dispersed between the narrative of her life in the scenic land of Ireland. Patricia stressed the importance of arts, environment, and minority languages.

Patricia Forde has written 15 books for children in both Irish and English. Her first novel The Wordsmith was shortlisted for the Irish Children’s Book of the Year Award.

Talking about Wordsmith (I got a signed copy, btw!), Patricia introduced to us the world of Letter who lives as a wordsmith’s apprentice at a shop that sells words.

She recollected her grandfather’s stories to us. Treasure! She showed the power of imagination and the lives we can live with it.

“Languages are the soul of people. We today live a life of borrowed souls. Speak to your child in your language. Whisper in its ears. The language, your language, will otherwise die a painful death.”

Ideas and concepts, she reminded us, that exist in languages that cannot be translated into any other will be lost if not passed on.

It was Q&A, and I couldn’t resist. I have seen my nephew drown in the world of digital storytelling and music videos. Argh! “How do we reintroduce the magic of live performances and grandma stories into their lives again,” I asked.

“Children are natural storytellers. They will be fine. Read them a story and see them make it their own as they recite it to somebody else. It will not be the same story you told them.”

It is I, then, that I have to worry about. My nephew will be fine.

Let me end with this lovely quote she said as she got up to leave: “When I am grown up, I am going to get out and hunt dragons.”

 Get hunting little story weavers.

 P.S. She confessed to me, “I would be an actress if not a writer.”

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