Interview with Katie Bagli, author of 'Flight of the Pink - Headed Ducks and other stories'Interview with Katie Bagli, author of 'Flight of the Pink - Headed Ducks and other stories'
on Dec 10, 2021
Katie Bagli is an avid nature lover and she gives expression to her passion by writing for children. She has 32 published titles to her credit so far, nearly all of which are on various subjects of nature. She has published articles in several magazines like the Sanctuary Cub, Highlight Champs, Saevus and is currently contributing articles on nature to the children’s section, Young World, of The Hindu.
Her books have been recommended for general reading in schools and also for college students of zoology.
When she is not writing Katie devotes her time to taking tree walks, nature trails, and conducting creative nature writing workshops and creative poetry writing, doodling comic strips and cartoons for children.
Check out the interview -
Frontlist: Why did you choose Pink - Headed Ducks to write this book?
Katie: About 20 years ago, a friend lent me a book by Rory Nugent, titled The Search for the Pink-headed Duck. In this book, Nugent describes his long journey along the River Brahmaputra, through the marshy jungles of Myanmar, in search of this duck which was last seen in the wild, in 1949. He ended his story by mentioning that he just caught a glimpse of the shadow of a largish duck. He was not sure if it was the Pink-headed Duck. In fact, this duck, though not sighted for more than 70 years now, has been labeled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, and not as extinct.
Nugent’s story was etched in my mind, shrouded with mystery. So, 20 years later, when I decided to write a storybook on endangered species, the Pink-headed duck was the first to come to my mind.
Frontlist: What brought you so close to nature that you thought of writing upon it? Share your journey with us.
Katie: I am full of awe of nature and wildlife, and my writing, my activities, all revolve around nature. Almost all of my 32 published books are on themes of nature. What brought me really close to nature was my stint as a volunteer with the Bombay Natural History Society BNHS). I used to take children and grown-ups for natural trails in Sanjay Gandhi National Park which is in Mumbai’s backyard. It would be most exciting to look under leaves or among the leaf litter or on the trees and discover some fascinating insects or spiders or reptiles or birds, or to come across the scat of a leopard with monkey’s fur in it. Every visit to the park had its own awe-inspiring story.
Frontlist: Did you find any relevance between Bombay Natural History Society and nature that you thought of choosing them as the publisher?
Katie: There is definitely a strong relevance between BNHS and nature. They were the most appropriate publishers for this book. In fact, I was asked by their publishing department if I had any stories for children that I would want to publish through them. It was quite a coincidence, as I had just finished writing these five stories on endangered species.
Frontlist: You used to be a teacher and now a bestselling author and an illustrator as well. What inspired you to be an author?
Katie: About ten years ago, when I found I had more time on my hands as my children were well settled, I began spending a lot more time in the lap of nature, going for trails in the wild, in Mumbai, and other parts of the country. There are so many quirky, bizarre, intriguing facts about the wild flora and fauna, I began weaving stories around these facts and sharing them with my like-minded nature-loving friends. It was they who encouraged me to publish these stories. I was thus spurred on to give it a shot – and hey presto! My life changed, and I never looked back. I found it most fulfilling and satisfying to play the role of writer and, quite often, illustrator too.
Frontlist: You’ve always portrayed yourself as a children’s writer. Have you ever thought about writing for an adult audience?
Katie: Somehow, I am very comfortable with children, even when I conduct my workshops. I relate to them better than to adults. That is why I enjoy writing for children. So far, it has never occurred to me to write for adults. Besides, through my nature writing for children, I hope to sensitize them and spread awareness about how adverse issues are affecting our planet and how we can endeavor, even in the smallest of ways, to make our planet a better place.
Frontlist: Do you always want to inculcate the love for nature in others through your writings?
Katie: Yes, I feel more and more that it is my mission in life to inculcate the love for nature through my writing. I do hope I am successful in that.