• Thursday, June 08, 2023

Interview With Pervin Saket, Author Of “Humour With Mario Miranda”

The best children's books are those that can be enjoyed by adults as well. I hope older readers can appreciate the spirit of experimentation and discovery that Phalke embodied.
on May 24, 2023
Interview With Pervin Saket, Author Of “Humour With Mario Miranda”

Pervin Saket is an award-winning poet who won the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2021, one of India’s leading English language poetry competitions. She is the author of Urmila, the retelling of a mythical tale of love and longing, and the poetry collection, A Tinge of Turmeric. She is the 2021 Fellow for the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, mentoring young international authors. Her novel has been adapted for stage performances and dance recitals. Her work has been extensively featured in The Indian Quarterly, The Joao-Roque Literary Journal, Paris Lit Up, Singapore Unbound, Usawa Literary Review, Tiferet, etc. Pervin is a school textbook editor, poetry editor, and co-founder of the Annual Dum Pukht Writers’ Workshop.

Frontlist: What inspired you to write and illustrate a book about Mario Miranda?

Pervin: When Adidev Press approached me about writing books for their "Learning to Be" series, I wanted to explore under-examined themes and ideas. I wanted to write about something other than traditional values or skills like honesty or respect. Humour is a fascinating life skill that can help us gain a new perspective on the most challenging situations. And Mario Miranda represents a unique brand of self-examining humour, which is why I was interested in exploring his story. 

Frontlist: Why do you think it's important to introduce young readers to biographies of South Asian pioneers and achievers?

Pervin: Even as a child, I knew I wanted to become a writer. But I was mostly exposed to stories written by those who were white or male or dead. Or a combination of two out of these three 'qualities'! It can be quite an isolating experience not having role models close to your lived realities. This includes not just South Asian pioneers but more examples of women achievers as well. This series of books with Adidev Press is a way to fill in the gap I experienced as a child. 

Frontlist: What do you think sets Mario Miranda's work apart from other cartoonists?

Pervin: I have not done a comparative study of Mario Miranda's work vis-à-vis other cartoonists. I can only speak for his individual spirit of curiosity and quirky humour that I was drawn towards. However, one of the reasons why I chose to focus on him for the children's series is because his cartoons were critical without being political. This made his themes apt for the age group we are oriented towards. 

Frontlist: How did you balance the need to be historically accurate with making the book engaging and accessible for young readers?

Pervin: There is a lot of factual and informative material available on the life of Mario Miranda. My endeavour was to get a sense of his perspective rather than focus on factual details only. The book is as much imaginative as it is historical. Additionally, the verse makes the book more engaging for young children. 

Frontlist: How can reading about the life and work of Mario Miranda help children appreciate the value of humor and art?

Pervin: The book celebrates a man who followed his passion for art even when it seemed absurd to other people. He showed us that we can enjoy our lives and work and need not apologize for a passion or skill that others find trivial. Hopefully, the book will celebrate humour and art and the spirit of following your dreams. 

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