23 December 2006

"The Child and the Fantastic" in Kerala, March 2007

My friend Mitali Perkins sent me this notice of a conference on fantasy literature in India a coupla weeks ago. Since I haven't found an easily readable version on the web, and since I'm eager for easy new material this season, I'm taking the step of posting it myself.

“The Child and the Fantastic: readings in children’s fantasy literature”, Children’s Literature Association India (CLAI) International Conference

Hotel Trichur Towers, Thrissur, Kerala, Southern India
March 26 to March 28, 2007
Conference Organizer: Anto Thomas, St. Thomas College, Calicut University, Kerala, India

Children are enchanted by the alluring worlds and characters of British writers like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows of Kenneth Grahame, C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, the Oz novels of the American writer L. Frank Baum, or, by P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins.

Fantasies now top the bestseller lists all over the world: Harry Potter series (UK), Lemony Snicket series and Eragon series (USA), the works of the German author Cornelia Funke, Margaret Mahy’s books from New Zealand, Australian John Hanagan’s fantasy fiction, etc.

Lately children’s authors from India too are faring well with their fantasy fiction, such as Chatura Rao with Amie and the Chawl of Colour, Suniti Namjoshi with the Aditi series, and Vandana Singh with Young Uncle Comes to Town, a book which has invigorated the US reading world recently.

The examples above are limited to writings in English. Yet each country has fantasy stories to share. What’s your story?

The newly-formed Children’s Literature Association – India (CLAI) and St. Thomas University in Kerala invite your participation in the first international Children’s Literature Association – India conference March 26-28, 2007. CLAI hopes to provide a platform for scholars in children’s literature from all over the world to share their experiences of reading or teaching fantasy.

The keynote address will be by Alida Allison, Professor, Children’s Literature Program, National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, San Diego State University, USA.

The fantastic entertainment at the conference will be a performance of Alice in Wonderland transformed to the Kathakali art form. Conference questions include:
  • Why do children love fantasy so much?
  • How does fantasy literature for children vary culturally?
  • Lewis Carroll was a professor of math. Vandana Singh is a teacher of science in a college in Massachusetts. Why are some scientific-minded people drawn to write fantasy for children?
  • How is a fantasy transformed when it is translated to another culture?
To facilitate a broad spectrum of topics, papers can include but are not limited to:
  • contemporary interdisciplinary theories about fantasy for and/or by children
  • literary theory and children’s fantasy
  • high fantasy for children
  • science fiction for children
  • fantastic picture books
  • children’s fantasy films
Proposals for presentations, panels, or posters should be emailed to ANTOCT then the at-sign then YAHOO.CO.IN before January 15, 2007. Kindly follow these submission requirements:

1) Proposals should be a maximum of 500 words

2) Electronic submission should also include:
a) Name
b) Institutional affiliation, if any
c) Complete mailing address with zip code, phone number and email id
d) Audio-Visual requirements if any

3) Kindly type “CLAI Conference” as the subject for email submission

The venue of the conference will be Hotel Trichur Towers, Thrissur, Kerala. CLAI cannot fund travel or participant costs. All presentations of papers must be made in English. Participants will have to be invited members of CLAI and pay the conference fee. Hotel accommodations can be arranged as per request. Conference registration material, payment information, and details regarding accommodation will be sent to participants later.
Now I must admit I haven't felt the invigorating effect of Vandana Singh's Young Uncle Comes to Town, but it looks like a charming book and Prof. Singh teaches at a nearby college, so I'll put this on my list of titles to check out.

1 comment:

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