For those of you who love children’s literature, The Department of English, Dyal Singh College (Morning), University of Delhi, organised MADRIGAL 2016 – The English Literary Festival on the 15th and 16th of January, 2016. This second edition of Madrigal explored the theme of ‘Children’s Literature’ and traced its origin and evolution. For hundreds of years, many of the books written for children have dealt with complex and seemingly dark themes, yet the popular myth persists that such themes cannot be found in children’s literature. Madrigal 2016 looked beyond this glittery surface of happily-ever-afters to unravel the dark and not-so-happy side of children’s literature.

This two-day literary festival started off with guest-speaker Samina Mishra, a documentary filmmaker and writer, with a special interest in media for children. Her talk revolved around the festival’s theme and did away with the myth that this type of literature is all about roses and rainbows. She further talked about Indian writings and writers which are exponentially growing in this genre. She reached out to all the children and adults to read children’s books, as with age, a person’s perspective changes and so does the meaning of the story.

Samina Mishra

After her talk, the first day of Madrigal 2016 was lined up with many competitive and non-competitive events. One was ‘Poetries of Perception – Slam Poetry competition and Open Mike Recitation’. This event saw poets giving voice to their childhood fantasies to the darker side of childhood. Simultaneously, ‘FanFiction Fantasia – A Fan-fiction writing competition’ gave an exclusive chance to weave a story with one’s favourite characters or re-imagine one’s favourite books and fairytales according to their own wish. Whereas, ‘Spellopaedia – A Spelling-bee Competition’ tested participants spelling skills, the ‘Knit-a-tale – Spin-a-yarn Competition’ saw participants turn into expert story-tellers where their stories ranged from a serial killer abused as a child to long-nosed aliens! The first day of Madrigal 2016 wrapped up with the ‘Turn-Court Competition’ and ‘Enigma – Treasure Hunt Competition’ whose clues were based on all the popular books like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Grimm’s Fairytales, etc.

Cosplay 1

The Second day of Madrigal 2016 started with a guest speech and book signing by Christopher C. Doyle – The author of the bestselling books, ‘The Mahabharata Secret’ and ‘The Mahabharata Quest: Alexander’s Secret’. His talk was a concoction of mythology, fantasy and science fiction. From giving useful pointers to aspiring authors to discussing his journey of a writer, he encouraged and inspired the readers and budding authors. Following this session were two plays – ‘Induction Lockout’ and ‘Charmstone’ and a musical – ‘A wild rumpus of fairytales’ which brought back popular characters from Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Frozen and other fairytales. The Quiz Competition and Ad-Mad brought the creativity and tested the participants’ marketing skills. The day ended with the ‘Cosplay Competition’ where Sherlock and Cat-woman stole the show!

Christopher C. Doyle

A potent concoction of cultural, academic and literary events, this literary festival put to test the intellectual, oratory, artistic and creative skills of the participants.

Image Credits: Seema Marndi