Most of the available literary material for young readers in Nepal is written by adults. This means there is no content written by young people for young people, creating a gap in our understanding of what children want to read. 'In our own words' is a platform for young people to write the kind of short stories they would want to read. The result is in the form of two anthology volumes containing short fiction written by young people aged 10-14 and 15-18. The stories highlight perspectives of young people around important topics in our society with the two books focusing on gender and mental health. These books are not just literary content but have immense value as educational resource material that can help students in Nepal understand the various issues covered through the stories.
The anthologies are titled ‘My heroine’ and ‘In our own words’ and each story have been beautifully illustrated by 20 artists.
This collection of stories is penned by young people between the ages of 10 and 14. From the Mushroom Kingdom to the village of Lakshmanwa; from a girl with an unfamiliar last name to the story behind a scarred face, the short stories in this book are a mixture of the strange and the commonplace. This collection will take you on many journeys and will introduce you to heroines of all kinds.
Our lives today
In this collection of short stories, the writers have explored various themes ranging from love, death, regret, loss to bravery, making mistakes and asking questions. Characters suffer during the pandemic, seek purpose in life and work to make peace with their pasts. Some stories might seem personal while others are reflective of our times. What is common in these stories are female characters that exude strength and resilience. Welcome to a powerful, collective force of ten young female writers whose voices will entertain, unsettle and console.
For ‘In our own words’ an open call for short fiction under the themes of gender and mental health was announced on the International Day of the Girl Child in 2020. Out of more than 80 submissions, authors of 20 stories were brought together for a series of workshops on storytelling. Alongside learning the craft of telling stories, the participants also learned about creating images for stories and discussed important issues surrounding gender and mental health.
The finalised stories were handed over to 20 artists, who then worked to translate it into images, characters and settings that the young authors have created.
In our own words was initiated by the British Council in partnership with Room to Read Nepal and UNICEF Nepal. Children’s book author Anuradha and women-led artists group Virangana Comics Collective contributed to the programme as Creative Partners.