Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Women Writers of Color: Mitali Perkins

Full name: Mitali Perkins

Hometown: Kolkata, India

Current location: Boston, Ma, USA

Website/Blog: http://mitaliperkins.com, http://mitaliblog.com

Genre: YA/MG

WiP or most recently published work: Bamboo People

Writing credits: See: <http://www.mitaliblog.com/p/my-books.html>

How frequently do you update your site? 3x a week or so.

Is your site designed for reader interaction? Yes, I like to raise questions and generate discussion.

Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
<http://www.mitaliblog.com/2010/09/reprise-should-we-bowdlerize-classic.html>

How would you describe your work? I seek to tell stories about children on the margins, whether they be poor or minorities growing up in the mainstream culture.

Please share your thoughts on one of the following topics: children, reading, and activism. Stories are a powerful way to inspire children to a life of activism. I distinctly remember the moment when I grasped the beauty of sacrificial giving. I was nine years old and befriending Sara Crewe in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess.

It was the middle of the story, and my heroine was trudging through a snowstorm, hungry and wet, when she actually found a four-penny piece. As she entered a baker’s shop, though, Sara passed “a little figure more forlorn than herself … with big, hollow, hungry eyes.” Sara bought four buns and the kind baker added two more. One by one, Sara placed five buns in the other girl’s lap, keeping only one for herself.

I remember being astounded by the gesture because at that point in the story my heart was aching over Sara’s suffering. And now my literary friend had given away the food I had so wanted her to relish! But somehow I knew it was the right thing to do.

From that point on, in my travels across the globe, as I encountered children begging on the streets, I would remember that scene in The Little Princess and be stirred to respond. I pray and hope that my books can have a similar effect on readers.

9 comments:

Tarie said...

Mitali, I love love love your answer to the question on children, reading, and activism!!!

Sayantani said...

LOVE your response re: the children, reading and activism. The idea that reading in and of itself takes you out of your subject position, allows you to enter (or at least approach) the POV of another, and that's the first step in activism...
I'm actually doing a giveaway of her latest novel Bamboo People this week - and Mitali did another v. lovely, generous interview for me here: http://storiesaregoodmedicine.blogspot.com/2010/11/mitali-perkins-awesome-author.html

Doret said...

Bamboo People was great.

I gotta love an author who tells stories about children on the margins.

Ashley Hope Pérez said...

What I love about Color Online is discovering writers like Mitali Perkins. I'm grateful for an interview format that both gives me insight into the writer's views and writing practices and makes it easy for me to tap into what she's writing on the web.

Mitali, your blog is popping with ideas. I'm looking forward to following you.

www.ashleyperez.com

Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks, Tarie and Sayantani, for your willingness to listen and to share my thoughts. This blog has always been a safe place for me. Doret, you're a champ, and Ashley, it's lovely to meet you.

Mrs. Pilkington (olugbemisola) said...

Thank you for this -- such gorgeous words, and Mitali does the real work, both on the page and off, to back them up.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Add me as another Mitlali blog follower! I absolutely LOVED Bamboo People (I am always pushing students at my school to read it)

Mitali Perkins said...

Aw, Gbemi.

Helen, that is so heartening to hear!

campbele said...

Mitali,
You do a wonderful job of empowering those on the margin! It's such a gift to be able to take the stories and put them to paper. You do it so well!