Pen To Paper: Celebrating Teen Reviewers

Pen To Paper: Celebrating Teen Reviewers

The Free Press Journal’s unique reviewing contest for teenagers met with super success in its second rendition this year.

Sunidhi Vijay Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Friday, April 12, 2024, 09:25 AM IST
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Pen To Paper: Celebrating Teen Reviewers | FPJ

Writing is an essential part of human lives, while one may write to convey thoughts and meanings, others may only pick a pen to write grocery lists and answers in an exam hall. For some, it is a means to transport into another world, for others it is simply a measure to communicate. However, one may seem to perceive writing, it cannot be denied that we all have an unique approach towards it and our own peculiar way of making others understand our thoughts. 

Pen to Paper, an initiative by The Free Press Journal does exactly that. It allows students to review anything under the sky. The initiative aims to cultivate writing habits among students and express their thoughts, in whichever way they feel is best suited.

Everyone can write, however, not everyone gets a platform to choose a topic of their liking. FPJ understands this and aims to bridge this gap. 

In the second edition of the review writing contest, top 22 winners were chosen from the hundreds of those who applied from across the world. The winners were felicitated at the FPJ office, with renowned Children's author, Abhishek Talwar gracing the event and holding a ‘young authors writing boot camp’ for winners. 

Talwar during his speech in the event said that he was amazed by the brilliant writing of the students and jokingly added, “I had to bring my dictionary to read some of the words you guys had written.” 

The topics ranged from ageing, cafe reviews, movie reviews to Ram Mandir event and book reviews. 

Shreya Arora, one of the winners from Dhirubhai International School, expressed, "Entering and choosing a topic to write about was an exciting opportunity for me."

Regarding her choice of topic for the P2P contest, Shreya explained, "I selected the inauguration of the Ram Mandir as one of my topics because it was a significant event happening at the time, with profound historical implications for India."

Arora further elaborated on her writing process, stating, "I found it relatively easy to write about because I often draw inspiration from personal experiences, anecdotes, and observations. Whether it's something from my childhood or a recent event, there's always a connection that sparks my writing."

Mohammad Ismail Palekar, a winner from Lodha World School, LSG Palava, shared his motivation behind the chosen topic, saying, "I selected the topic because it resonated with a book I recently enjoyed. The parallels between the book's political themes and the current landscape of Indian politics compelled me to write about it."

Acknowledging his impatience with the writing process, Ismail admitted, "Translating my narrative ideas onto paper can be frustrating at times. With more practice and patience, I believe I can improve the quality of my writing."

Reflecting on her approach to writing, Parushni Jathar, a winner from KC college who wrote a book review on Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka revealed, "I tend to overthink, especially when it comes to crafting an engaging introduction. I believe that the beginning of any piece should capture the reader's attention, prompting me to constantly revise and refine my work.”

Aanya Thakur, winner from Dhirubhai Ambani International School wrote a book review on ‘All the light we cannot see’ by Anthony Doerr. She said, “People need to pay a lot more attention to history than they normally do. It is often said that we should not repeat the mistakes we made in history. Reading the history of people from over 100 years ago is a very humane and enriching experience.” 

Thakur further expressed her insight on the bootcamp workshop and said that learning from a published author always helps. “It will definitely help my writing process and when I go back home today, I will definitely have something new with me that I learned.” 

Shreshta Verma, winner from Podar International School, Nerul chose a very different topic to review. Verma who chose to write on aging said she chose the topic from her own observations and surroundings. “Everyone in my family is nearing their 60s and I am the only one who is young. Looking at what is going to happen to me beforehand always kind of scares me and thus, the topic is very near and dear to my heart.” 

Shedding further insights on how her writing journey was, Verma said, “I actually wrote the whole article one day before my board exams.” 

“Nostalgia played a very big part when I chose the topic. This is the movie that I have grown up watching, and seeing it again opened doors of memories,” said Dhruv Soni, winner from Pravin Gandhi College of Law. Soni wrote a review on the movie, ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory- 2023 version’. 

TV Serials review was also one of the topics chosen by one of the winners. Shravani Prashant Hegishte, winner from Girton High School, picked up the task to review the television serials out of sheer annoyance. “People spend a considerable amount of time watching these serials so I thought this is the best way to make them understand about the consumption of logical content,” she said. 

“I tried my hand at article writing for the first time, except for the essays that I wrote in schools and the workshop gave me a lot of tips and tricks to continue writing even further,” Hegishte added. 

Another winner on the list was a restaurant review written by Annika Lohchab from Aditya Birla World Academy. Lohchab wrote a review on a Japanese restaurant, Izumi. “I love descriptive writing and tried to incorporate visual imagery in my writing as much as possible. Besides this, I also really loved the place and wanted to write about it since it was my first time visiting a restaurant like this. It was a different experience,” she said. 

Speaking about her experience with writer's block, Lohchab mentioned, “midway I did feel like I couldn't continue writing this and I did have to kind of draw myself back and go through a reflection process. I also tried to get over my block by reading blogs by other people.” 

“Ikigai, it's a reason to live. There are many people who have negative reasons to end their lives but the book is about how to enjoy the little moments and find happiness in your life,” said Chirantan Nataraj from CP Goenka International School, Ulwe. He further added, “it is my favorite book and I have also been reading the second version of the book.” 

Nataraj further emphasized his learnings from the bootcamp and said, “it made me understand how to write reviews and frame characters. I learned how to improve.” 

Nataraj’s urge to write a review on the book also prompted him to read the book all over again. “I read all about the authors, the book and delved deeper into it.” 

As Maya Angelou, American memoirist and poet rightly said, “there's no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

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