Twelve-year-old Touyiba Binti Javaid is probably the youngest writer from the conflict-ridden Kashmir valley. Her debut novel called ‘Luna Spark and the Future Telling Clock’ published by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages has created waves just a few days after it hit the stands.
The book traces the story through the eyes of a cat Luna Spark in search of a stolen magical clock that tells the future. Touyiba says she has let her thoughts run wild, slipping into the shoes of the cat that she has imagined herself to be.
Talking to The Federal, the young writer says that the novel is her attempt to hook children to books. She said, “Social media has taken over our lives in a huge way and so many have given up reading, especially among the younger lot. I want them to discover the joy of reading through my book.”
Hailing from Dadsara Tral, Touyiba is a class seven student of Srinagar’s DPS Athwajan School. Hooked to reading from a very young age, she has been penning poetry for the last few years. However, when she decided to writer her first book, she chose a fantasy novel.. To make it all the more interesting, she morphed human characters into cats in the kingdom of dreams. “I have been a big fan of Charles Dickens, but my most favourite is the Harry Potter series,” she added
But finding a publisher has not been an easy task, she admits. “My father (Javaid) worked really hard to find a publisher for my work. While I thought they would laugh at what I write, my parents have been extremely supportive of my work. They helped me work on my style of writing, encouraging me to improve my vocabulary. My grandfather also helped me in editing the book. It took me almost a year to finish it,” she said, adding that she had kept it under the wraps even from her friends.
Thrilled to bits about the recognition and appreciation her work has received, she is confident and keen on writing more. Even as she has received suggestions to write about the conflict in the valley, she says she will wait for a few years before broaching the topic. “I don’t have much of an idea about it, but I thought I will write another Luna Spark as my next work. I also have a bunch of poems I have written in the same genre of fantasy over a period of time. Maybe, I will work on them to get them published too,” she said.