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What do writers, publishers, illustrators and gamers talk about when they’re thrown into one room?

— by Parmita Borah | Bangalore
Nury Vittani at Jumpstart 2014: Let's Play! (photo - Jim Ankan Deka)
I was not sure what to expect when I walked into the 1st floor of Goethe-Institut building (Max Mueller Bhavan), having arrived a few minutes late for Jumpstart 2014. The panel was already engrossed in a discussion; I took a few awkward minutes to find a seat and settle down before I could make sense of what sounded like a potentially interesting topic. Checking the itinerary I realized that I had not missed much. The introductions were barely over.

Asha Nehemiah, Sophie Benini Pietromarchi, Anshumani Ruddra and Manasi Subramaniam at Jumpstart-14, Bangalore (photo - Jim Ankan Deka)I was on time for the first session ‘Hopscotch: Storytelling in a playful world’. Manasi Subramaniam, a known face in the spectrum publishing moderated the session as speakers Anshumani Ruddra (author, gamer designer, and screenwriter), Asha Nehemiah (multilingual author), and Sophie Benini Pietromarchi (artist, illustrator, and author who illustrated with Azar Nafisi, Frank Mc Court etc) discussed how ways in which writers, illustrators, and gamers create games that enrich lives of children.

If you’re feeling a little lost, here’s a little background on the event – Jumpstart began as a series of workshops and seminars in 2009 in New Delhi and mainly focused on various aspects of children’s literature. After four successful years in Delhi, organizers German Book Office, New Delhi, have brought Jumpstart to Bangalore this year for the first time. Jumpstart 2014 brought together experts from books, media, education, and creative industries create a dialogue and explore ease and challenges of storytelling in an age of rapidly evolving technology.

Ralph Moellers, Samina Mishra and Nury Vittachi at Jumpstart-14, Bangalore (photo - Jim Ankan Deka) 2The second session triggered a lot of LOL moments with a healthy debate between speakers Nury Vittachi (writer and popular TV presenter known for his founding role in several important prizes including the 'Man Asian Literary Prize') and Ralph Moellers (publisher, and co-founder of multiple print and online publishing houses). Moderated by the charming Samina Mishra (documentary filmmaker, writer and teacher), the duo contemplated over influence of technology in storytelling methods as well as content.

During the latter half of the day Nury Vittachi conducted a writers’ workshop and Sophie Benini Pietromarchi conducted an illustrators’ workshop.

Themed ‘Let’s Play’, Jumpstart 2014 aimed at finding solutions to making interesting content accessible to children. Larger segments of the panel discussions as well as Q&A rounds revolved around how the printed book stands against the onslaught of technology. Despite solid arguments on both sides of the case, it was largely agreed upon that technology is merely the means to carry a message. At the end of the day good content will always rule.

Click here to know more about Jumpstart 2014 and the speakers


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