Deepa Kiran’s storytelling performances have mostly been regarded as children’s genre. She was in for a surprise when parents and even grandparents joined their kids to enjoy her dramatic stories at the Vizag Literature Festival.
Here’s an excerpt from an interview with the former teacher turned author and founder of Story Arts India.
You tell stories and you write books, what do you enjoy more?
I love storytelling and I have written very little but I have written considerably.
Since when have you been writing?
I have been writing non-fiction for long – I have written for newspapers but I started writing fiction in 2012 and I published my first book [The Royal Mistake] in 2014.
Is the art of storytelling impromptu for you?
Not at all, I rehearse stories and say it aloud several times to see how it sounds like and change it each time to make it clearer and more enjoyable.
Do you have a memorable audience?
Many – even Vizag’s Literature Festival has been very memorable. Children came up with funny answers to my questions and there were grandparents who raised their hands too – these memories really matter.
A lady held my hand during the festival and said the entire family will never forget my [story telling] session.
How do you handle questions from children?
They don’t question me much rather they respond to my questions. I have some classroom management experience as I was a teacher before.
For example – I began a story and a child screamed that he knew it [the story] already so I told him not to tell the others and that this [awareness of the story] was our secret. He felt so important to keep this secret.
As I continued to tell the story I made sure to give him attention once in a while. I turned to him and pretend that I’ve forgotten and he would remind me.
You handle interruptions well then.
I don’t see them as interruptions in fact it’s an acknowledgement that my audience is listening.
Does audience number matter?
I don’t mind about how many people turn up. Once a bookstore called me on a wrong date for a session and in the confusion only one child turned up. I sat that boy down and I told him the story.
He came all the way and waited for me and this compelled me to perform for an audience of one.