The BIS Literary Festivals
BIS has two Literary Festivals each year – one for Junior School called LITerally and another for Middle and Senior School called INKed. The BIS Lit Fest is a festival that celebrates books, reading, readers and writers over two or three days each year. We also have a book carnival for pre-primary children called ImagiNATION, which follows a Lit Fest format as closely as it possibly can for our youngest readers.
The Lit Fests, which have now turned into regular features on the school’s calendar, were started by the Library Committee to initiate and keep alive conversations around books. They are meant to encourage our younger readers to engage more deeply with the books and authors they are already reading, and to reintroduce our pre-teen and teen students to the reading habit that may have faded away because of the pressing demands of academics, smartphones, friends and growing up.
Our Lit Fests host a wide variety of storytellers – authors, of course, but also musicians, actors and performers. They are united in a single-minded endeavour to make our students question, delve deeper and think. Our aim is to provide food for thought and a window to the outside world.
The BIS Library Committee organised it’s annual Lit Fest, INKed in a completely virtual mode this year for the students of Grades 6 to 9. This year’s Lit Fest was unique because it focussed on student participation and involvement, which resulted in stimulating discussions and scintillating performances.
Prose & Convos
Two panel discussions comprising students from Grades 6 and 7 and Grades 8 and 9 set the tone for the Lit Fest. From speaking about graphic novels as a literary genre, the relevance of classics and science fiction becoming reality to sharing their personal connection with books, the panelists covered it all, and the audience participated in the discussions with great gusto. The panels were moderated by Ms Azmin and Ms Bindu respectively.
The fun polls and rapid-fire rounds, along with book suggestions by the panelists and audience, generated a buzz about reading, and provided a plethora of book recommendations.
Listen up! provided a platform to showcase the literary talent of the students.
The literary pieces performed by the students (live in most cases) enthralled the audience.
They covered a gamut of themes through prose and poetry, ranging from comedy, satire, horror (a Grade 9 favourite) to topical events, personal dreams and inspirational pieces.
From artistic rendering of their works to creative costumes, the students’ creativity knew no bounds and left the audience wishing for more performances.
LITerally 2021, the first virtual Lit Fest of the BIS Primary School, was vibrant with student participation and interactive workshops. The thought-process behind a Lit Fest for the children and by the children was consistent with the BIS culture, which encourages reading and exploring literature belonging to various genres.
While Grade 1 turned writers during a live session by taking the “Story Jamboree” forward – one sentence at a time; Grade 2 collaborated to create a “Riveting Rollover Story” using skills learnt in their “Stories” unit with an age-appropriate, distinct, story structure. Grade 3 embarked on an exciting trip in “Around the World in 40 Books”, and were encouraged to draw inspiration from these stories and to create culturally rich stories of their own. The technology-savvy Grade 4 collaborated in teams to create “The News Hour” as they became news anchors and presented the BIS News Bulletin! Grade 5 was ready to “Just Slam It!” and showcase their agility with language and present Spoken Word poetry.
Each grade participated in fun-filled, creative workshops conceptualized and curated by the members of the Library Committee. The children enthralled their audiences by presenting original pieces rich in culture, collaboration and literary creativity.
The children of Lower Prep and Upper Prep enjoyed a fun and engaging performance at the Pre-Primary Carnival, “ImagiNATION” held on 16th April 2021. The School Library Project Team performed from Devashish Makhija’s book, “When Ali Became Bajrangbali”. The children were spellbound as they saw the characters come to life and showcase costumes made from everyday objects found at home. The children enjoyed their interactions with the artists and even dressed up as their favourite book characters for this session.
Window to the World
(Celebrity presence at BIS Literary Festivals)
Storyteller – Dhanendra Kawade
As a grand finale for INKed, a one-man performance, Hil Milkar, streamed live by Mr Dhanendra Kawade left the audience spellbound. Danny has been a professional theatre artist for over 30 years with his own production company, Swangavale and performed for the students of Grades 6, 7, 8 and 9 from his hometown Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh.
He performed a piece from the Panchatantra, based on the story of Mitra Samprashan, in the form of Katha-Gaayan, an ancient Indian storytelling form. The students participated with great zeal during this interactive act, singing along and enacting the various characters.
It was truly a fascinating and enriching experience and a fitting culmination to this literary extravaganza.
Storyteller – Ulka Mayur
Ulka Mayur, co-founder of The Story Circus, is a master storyteller, artist and folklorist. She regaled the children of Grades 1, 2 and 3 with folktales from different parts of India through her vivacious storytelling, accompanied by traditional music.
Storytellers – Annie and Srividya
Annie and Srividya from The Library School Project, a group of theater professionals, conducted an online drama workshop for the Baddest Baddies and Vilest Villains of Grade 4! The workshop was filled with laughter and creativity as the children explored what makes a brilliant villain. Children discovered their own villainous voices to enact melodramatic deaths using Roald Dahl’s Villains for inspiration.
Storyteller – Roo Jhala McLaughlin
Roo Jhala McLaughlin of Tambourine Theater broke the stereotypes associated with the famous Bard through her workshop for Grade 5, `Playing Shakespeare’. She spoke about the playwright’s ability to take inspiration from the works of other authors, as well as about how his writing has filtered into contemporary language. She used the Laban philosophy of energy and words to create an incredibly energetic and humorous session that ended with the children using (and creating) their own Shakespearean insults, which created unforgettable memories for them all.