Adventures on the high seas
KATHMANDU, SEP 06 -
There are certainly a fair number of writers in Nepal penning stories for children in Nepali, but as far as those writing in English are concerned, there are hardly a handful being published at present. It is an unfortunate fact that while foreign writers of English literature are widely popular in the country, stories based in and around Nepal itself—encapsulating our history and unique myths or delving into various realms of fantasy—which could’ve offered great reads for children, have yet to find their way into print in a substantial way. Cue in Shalini Rana, a former student at Rupy’s International School (RIS), who recently released The Ballad of a Pirate, her first novella for children. The book was launched on September 5 by Rana and Rupy Singh, principal of RIS, at the Hotel de l’Annapurna, at a ceremony attended by Rana’s friends, family and RIS staff.
At the event, the author explained that The Ballad of a Pirate, published by Vajra Publications, came about as a product of her interest in fantasy, as well as Japanese manga. The book is set in the 17th century, and follows the adventures of a young girl named Ariana, who becomes acquainted with the pirate Seth. Readers are pulled into their fantastical journey together, sailing in dangerous waters and falling headlong into many a thrilling encounter, filled with mythical creatures, sorcerers and unlikely friends. The 156-page novel is divided into 16 chapters, and took her a year to complete. The story is punctuated by a number of penciled-illustrations—Rana’s own handiwork—which clearly reflect her manga influences.
In her short speech, Singh lauded Rana’s work. “Ballad is a well-crafted piece, both in terms of the writing and the illustrations, and is sure to be well-loved by the kids who read it,” she said. She described Rana as being a ‘versatile student’, who had done very well in school, excelling in extracurricular activities like music and art, as well as her academics.
As for her own expectations from her work, Rana explained that the book was largely targeted at teenagers interested in a bit of escapist literature. “It is very difficult for adolescents and teenagers in Nepal to develop reading habits because that sort of encouraging atmosphere does not exist in schools or at home,” she said. “I hope that this book, and other books that will hopefully come about at a later time, will help change that and inspire them to read more.”
After passing grade 10 from RIS, Rana had attended British School, and then gone on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business, banking and finance from the University of Wales in Singapore. The concept for The Ballad of a Pirate had emerged when she was working at the Children of the Mountain, an INGO, as a country manager. “I was actually working on manga comics at the time, and the book just sort of happened. It wasn’t planned,” she says.
The Ballad of a Pirate is priced at Rs 500 and is available in book shops in the city
Posted on: 2012-09-06 08:49