The language for BLBA 2020, author category, is English and the illustrator category is across all Indian languages.
Rajiv Eipe was born in Trivandrum, Kerala, in 1983, and grew up in Chennai and Mumbai, where he did his schooling. He then studied Painting at J J School of Art, Bombay, after which he moved to studying Animation and Film Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Drawing and art were his companion, always. His family encouraged his artistic talents which paved his way to becoming an illustrator. Rajiv’s first publication was ‘Dinosaur Long as 127 Kids’, published by Katha in 2010. Apart from illustrating, Rajiv runs a small animation studio called Plankton Collective in Bangalore with two friends from his design school. He likes to spend quiet time at home with his wife and all the animals that she brings in, and right now, lives with 3 cats and a dog. At leisure, he also goes birdwatching. Rajiv enjoys reading. Some of his favourite authors are Michael Ondaatje, Graham Greene, Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh.
“One of the finest illustrators in this country, Rajiv is brilliant with his skills and his illustrations tell stories of their own. His illustrations have a wonderful way of entertaining the reader. His work stands out in originality and his observations of the world around us is sensitive and full of humour. A book with Rajiv’s illustrations is visually attractive, informative with details that are delightfully quirky and takes a reader to a world of imagination and fantasy effortlessly.”
Subhadra Sen Gupta has written over sixty books, a majority of them for children. At the same time, she has worked in advertising for twenty years. Her interest in history led to her studying the subject at Indraprastha College, Delhi and over the years historical writing has become her main area of interest. She has been published by most of the major publishing houses in India like Rupa, Penguin, Pratham, Scholastic, Harper Collins, Speaking Tiger and Hachette.
Subhadra writes fiction, nonfiction and travel books and scripts comic books illustrated by Tapas Guha. Keeping in touch with children is one of the joys of her life and over the years her young readers have guided her in the way she presents the many aspects of Indian history and culture. She was awarded the Bal Sahitya Puraskar of the Sahitya Akademi in 2014; the Comic Con Award with Tapas Guha in 2012 and three of her books have been chosen for the White Ravens Selection at the Bologna Book Fair.
“Subhadra is a prolific but a particular writer and takes a route that is not an easy one. She writes thoughtfully, well researched books. We can count on her rigour and her background research to stand by her content and always find her positions are balanced and enable the reader to arrive at their own decisions. Something very few writers for children in India in English can add to their list of qualities in writing.”
Anil Menon is an Indian author writing fiction. His most recent work Half of What I Say (Bloomsbury, 2015) was shortlisted for the 2016 Hindu Literary Award. Along with Vandana Singh, he co-edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books, 2012), an international anthology of speculative fiction inspired by the Ramayana. His debut novel The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, India) was shortlisted for the 2010 Vodafone-Crossword Children’s Fiction Award and the 2010 Carl Baxter Society’s Parallax Prize. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of international magazines including Albedo One, Interzone, Interfictions, Jaggery Lit Review, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and Strange Horizons. His stories have been translated into more than a dozen languages including Hebrew, Igbo, and Romanian. In 2016, he helped found the annual Dum Pukht Writers’ Workshop at the Adishakti Complex in Pondicherry.
Ravi Subramanian is an author, writing since 2007. His book, ‘If God was a Banker’ won him the Golden Quill Readers Choice Award in 2008. He also won the Economist Crossword Book Award for The Incredible Banker in 2012. ‘The Bankster’, released in 2012 won him the Crossword Book Award in 2013. In 2014 he won the Raymond Crossword book award for Bankerupt. His books have been translated into Hindi, Tamil and Latvian. Ravi is an alumnus of IIM Bengaluru and has spent two decades working on finance. He is deeply interested in children’s literature and has coauthored a children’s book, ‘My First Book of Money’, with Shoma Narayanan. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini, and daughter, Anusha.
Shailaja Menon works as faculty in the area of Language, Literacy and Children’s Literature at the School of Education, Azim Premji University. From 2017-2019, she led the Early Literacy Initiative at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences Hyderabad, a unique initiative dedicated to raising awareness and building knowledge about the teaching and learning of early literacy in Indian contexts. Prior to that, she led a longitudinal project, Literacy Research in Indian Languages (LiRIL), which examined the teaching and learning of early language and literacy in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Shailaja is a founder-anchor of the bilingual children’s literature festival, KathaVana, that is hosted annually by Azim Premji University (2012-present). She has served on the jury for the Hindu Literature for Life awards for Children’s Literature (2016-2018), and the Big Little Book Award (2016-2018). Shailaja’s publications have appeared in international and Indian journals. She has an abiding interest in imparting a love for language, literature and literacy to children, teachers and teacher educators.
Sujata Noronha directs the work of a library based organisation, Bookworm in Goa and is immersed in the acts of reading, teaching and learning. She has Masters degrees in Management and Education and a M Phil degree in Education. Sujata consults with a wide range of NGOs and schools in India and works for the Department of Education of the Tibetan Government in Exile as a Library Consultant. She conceptualised and offers the Library Educator’s Course (English), a first of its kind professional development course for educators, teachers and librarians of school age children with Parag. She co-teaches a First Language Pedagogy Course at TISS Mumbai on the MA Elementary Education program and merges children’s books into every aspect of her work. She believes that everything changes when we read and books are one way of enabling that change. She is committed towards supporting good books for all.
Usha Mukunda has been an ardent advocate of open libraries for children for over 35 years. She has an Honours Degree in English Literature from Presidency College Calcutta and a Masters’ degree in Librarianship from Bangalore University. She co-founded the Centre for Learning (Bangalore) in 1990 and set up an open library there. As a Consultant for the Parag Initiative of Tata Trusts, she worked with several rural, government and community libraries across India. She was also a Consultant for the Department of Education, Tibetan Government in Exile and facilitated workshops and interactions for the Tibetan librarians in India and Nepal. She participated in the NCERT exercise to select good books and has been a member of a committee to bring out manuals to strengthen school libraries in the southern region. She was a member of the special committee for libraries and knowledge networking under the aegis of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission. In 2009, she was awarded a Karnataka State award for her service to school libraries. Usha is passionate about bringing about discernment of books in herself and in readers wherever they may abide.
Aashti Mudnani is a professional book hunter, illustration lover, listener of stories and chai drinker. She started Lightroom, a bookstore for children’s books in Bangalore in 2013 with the help of several people. She loves being outdoors, especially where there are more wild things than cityscapes. But for now, she lives in Bangalore with her two daughters, husband and their cat, Inji.
Proiti Roy is an illustrator and designer, who started her career in advertising. Soon after, she turned freelance and also started teaching children art and craft. During this period, apart from her advertising and corporate assignments, she began to focus on illustrating children’s books, which was something she wanted to do ever since she could remember. Now, living in Shantiniketan in West Bengal, she continues to illustrate as well as help and rescue street animals in distress.
Rani Dharker is an author and an artist. Her first novel ‘The Virgin Syndrome’ was ecstatically received and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. Rani has a PhD in English Literature and was a professor of English at M S University of Baroda, where she was the leading light in its Shakespeare Society, directing plays and acting. She loves dogs and other four-legged creatures (as well as the ones that fly).
Sunandini Banerjee is both Senior Editor and Senior Graphic Designer at Seagull Books, and designs all of Seagull’s book covers and catalogues. A digital-collage artist whose work has been exhibited in India and abroad, she is a translator as well as a member of the faculty at the Seagull School of Publishing.
Thejaswi is a teacher at Center for Learning, an alternative school near Bangalore. He is a part of running the school library and interacting with children from age six years to teenagers, over books, for the past ten years and also teaches science. He is a consultant for library programmes and a faculty at the Library Educators Course (English), run by Bookworm, Goa.