Ruskin Bond was born on the 19th of May 1934 in Kasauli, and over the years lived in both the UK and all over India. His works have been influenced by his early life living at the foothills of the Himalayas.
His first novel, The Room On the Roof, was written when he was 17 and was partly based on his experiences at Dehradun, in a small rented room on a roof.
His first children’s book was The Angry River, published in 1972. On writing for children, Ruskin said, “I had a pretty lonely childhood and it helps me to understand a child better.”
Ruskin has written a series of autobiographical work: Rain in the Mountains, about his years spent in Mussoorie; Scenes from a Writer’s Life based on his life up until he was 21, and Scenes from a Writer’s Life focuses on his English adventures.
“It also tells a lot about my parents”, he says, “The book ends with the publication of my first novel and my decision to make writing my livelihood…Basically, it describes how I became a writer”.
Ruskin has been a prolific and varied author over 50 years, writing fiction, short stories, novella, sprinkled with some autobiographical aspects. He has also written some non-fiction, romance, and children’s literature. On writing essays and short stories he has said how he considers himself a “visual writer” imagining the story like a film and then writing it down.
His inspirations and personal favourite books are Just William by Richmal Crompton, and classics by Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, and Charles Dickens.
Check out a sweet little recording of Ruskin Bond himself reading one of his poems Hip Hop Nature Boy to his audience. The poem is written below for clarity as the sound recording is not brilliant.
Hip Hop Nature Boy by Ruskin Bond
When I was seven,
And climbing trees,
I stepped into a hive of bees.
Badly stung and mad with pain,
I danced the hip-hop in the rain.
Hip-hop, I’m a nature boy,
Mother Nature’s pride and joy!
When I was twelve,
Still climbing trees,
I fell instead-
And landed on my head.
I thought I might become a writer.
Hip-hop, dancing in the rain,
A nature-writer I became!
With Nature being my natural bent,
At twenty I took out my tent,
And spent the night beside a Nadi,
Wearing only vest and chuddee.
At crack of dawn I woke to find
A crocodile was close behind,
And smiling broadly!
In times of crises at my best,
I did not trouble to get dressed,
But fled towards the Gulf of Kutch,
With fond salaams to muggermuch!
Mother Nature once again
Found me dancing on the plain,
Nanga-Panga in the rain!
Growing older, even bolder,
Took a winding mountain trail,
Up a hill and down a dale,
All to see a mountain-quail.
The quail was extinct, long expired,
I was limping, very tired;
Thought I saw a comfy cot
In the corner of a hut.
Feeling grateful, I sank down
Upon a blanket soft as down.
Blanket rose up all at once,
Gave a shudder, then a pounce.
Stumbling in the darkness there,
I’d be disturbed a big brown bear!
I did not stop to say goodnight,
But fled into the open night.
Hip-hop in the rain,
Dancing to that old refrain.
Growing old, I thought it safer
In my tryst with Mother Nature,
To grow flowers-
Poppies, sweet peas, rare azaleas,
Candy tuft and tiny tansies,
Violets sweet and naughty pansies…
A lovely garden I’d constructed,
Birds and bees were soon inducted.
Bees! Did I say bees?
They were buzzing all around me-
Angry, diving down upon me;
For where their hive had been suspended,
By accident it lay upended!
Dear Reader, if you must
In Nature put your trust,
Stay away from a swarm of bees
And strange crocs lurking under trees,
Or else, like me, you’ll dance with pain,
While doing the hip-hop in the rain.
Open Book’s guests on the 20th of June 2017 were literary critic Peter Kemp and historical crime novelist Antonia Hodgson. They were asked about the literary devices that make their cringe glands flare up. Their answers included stories told through a foggy memory, or animal narrators.
From an early age Butler suffered from crippling shyness making her awkward, as a result she passed her time reading at the Pasadena Central Library, and writing realms and realms of pages in her ‘big pink notebook’. It will come as no surprise to her fans to learn that she quickly evolved from reading fairy tales to reading science fiction magazines. Read More
The entire block of 120 flats in the building were destroyed, despite the efforts of the heroic fire service.
Survivors have lost their homes, and the deaths of the victims is still rising as bodies are slowly being identified.
Authors for Grenfell Tower is an online auction focussed on raising money for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, in honour of residents affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.
He won the Booker Prize in 1981 with his second novel, Midnight’s Children, which was said to be “the best novel of all winners”. Generally his fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent and combines historical fiction and magical realism.
His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses was published in 1988 and was the subject of a major controversy in Muslim societies. Many Muslims protested the book and death threats were made against Rushdie.
His works remain as popular, and as controversial, today and we cannot deny his quotes have depth and wisdom to them. Read More
Among this year’s honours are several authors, recognised by the Queen for their service in this honour’s list. Read More
Originally a budding artist, this was put on the backburner when she became a refugee. Eventually the family would settle in Britain and when Judith had her own children she started writing and drawing again. Read More
Her wisdom and way with words also awarded her a place in advertising. The famous Guinness brand hired her for their promotions in the 20th century. Sayers’ jingle was added to the bottom of the now-famous Guinness toucan advertisement.