Who am I?
I am Nandini Nayar and if you are here, reading this, it means that you know a little something about me. You probably know that there’s nothing I enjoy more than writing stories. For children. And by a strange coincidence, that’s exactly what I do get to do!
Where do I live?
The postal code of my address says I live in Hyderabad but in fact I inhabit various worlds in my head. The most exciting worlds I live in are those of my stories. And every morning when I set out to travel to these worlds, it is with the quick sense of excitement that you feel when you are setting out on an exciting train journey.
So, what do I write for children?
I am happy to write anything for children, even books that introduce the letters of the alphabet to them, as long as I get to do it in a fresh, fun way. I’ve written short stories, picture books, novels, fictional biographies (they aren’t as boring as they sound, in fact, they are fun!), tried my hand at retelling and then, got braver and done a retelling in a comic book format.
Are you likely to have seen or even read anything by me?
Definitely! If you have ever eagerly turned the pages of an issue of Tinkle, you are sure to have stumbled across my stories there. I wrote a series about Pranav’s Dadi which was enjoyed by the readers of Tinkle. If you read the children’s pages of newspapers like The Hindu, Sakal Times and The Hitavada, you couldn’t have missed seeing my stories there. I also write for various children’s magazines in India.
Things about me that very few people know?
I am a qualified teacher and have worked on English school and university level textbooks for various publishers in India. And what is more, I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. So make sure to look at the names of the authors of the stories in your English textbook. You just might see my name there!
I started my writing career with short stories and I have written lots of them. The last time I counted, a few years ago, I had written over 300. I guess the number must have crossed 500 now but I can’t be sure because I am so busy writing new ones that I haven’t counted!
Yes! I have twenty-one entries on various Indian children’s writers and illustrators in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, published by Oxford University Press, New York.
Have I always been a writer?
I think in my head I’ve been a writer from the time I was at school but before I became a real writer, I did many interesting things. I worked as a teacher, as a counsellor, at the checkout counter in a supermarket, even as a baby sitter!
If you surprised me with a visit what would you find?
You would probably find me at my computer, pounding away energetically at the keys, occasionally breaking off to stare out of the window (it is a view of other people’s roof tops and it’s usually boring. But sometimes I do get to see funny and interesting things!), shooing away pigeons who are determined to read my stories before anyone else, and trying to talk to the street dogs from my third floor balcony. You will catch me making rushed forays into the kitchen to cook dinner or a snack for my family who will be home soon, hungry for their meal.
And that brings us to my family. What do they make of me?
They are very tolerant of me and my ideas and listen patiently when I insist on telling them these. They are always ready to celebrate when I get an acceptance and comfort me when I receive a polite but definite rejection.
Rejections? As in people saying ‘No’ to my stories?
Is there any other kind of rejection? Oh, yes, rejection is a very familiar part of my writing life. I suppose the publishing houses that send me these have excellent reasons for rejecting my stories but since they rarely share these with me, I often make up my own reasons. ‘Oh, but we already have a story like this!’ is the most common of these. ‘But we’ve already published so many books by you!’ is a hot contender for the top position in Reasons for Rejection.
And that brings us to questions about what I have written. And who can read these. And who cannot. And where these can be found.
Anyone can read anything I’ve written. I’ve no objections to adults giggling over my picture books or toddlers deep in my book for older children. All you have to do is look at the list of my books. This will tell you what I have written and direct you to the places where you can buy these books. Oh, and this is only the list of my published books. The list of Books That Have Been Written but Are Not Published Yet resides in the hard drive of my computer while the list of Books that I Want to Write One Day lives in a corner of my mind.