At the age of six, Varsha discovered that she could write. She couldn’t write just sentences; she could make up stories about mice turning into fairies and pixies that could make their cars run by themselves. At seven, she wrote a story about a witch who hated plants, and won the first prize in a story-writing competition. And then, she just didn’t stop writing.
Through childhood, Varsha won several writing competitions organised by newspapers and magazines. The first chapter of a book she wrote when she was thirteen was among eight shortlisted in a competition organised by Oxford Bookstore called E-Author Version 2.0. Her writing has come a long way since then, with over twenty stories for children published in Junior Herald, the children’s section of the Pune-based Maharashtra Herald. At the same time, she contributed to a weekly column on myths from all over the world and coordinated and wrote for Campus Herald, the college page of the same newspaper.
Varsha’s first major publication was in July 2010. Her story “The Nationals” was one of twelve in an anthology for children titled Let’s Play! The Puffin Book of Sports Stories.
In April 2012, Happy Squirrel (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.) published a collection of her short stories titled The Story-Catcher, which went on to become the second runner-up for the Parents Kids Choice Awards 2014.
In 2016, another collection of short stories, Dragonflies, Jigsaws and a Rainbow was shortlisted for the Scholastic Asian Book Award.
It was published as Dragonflies, Jigsaws, and Seashells by Scholastic Asia in September 2018 and was a finalist at the Singapore Book Awards 2019 for the Best Middle-Grade/Young Adult Title. It will be available in the Indian market soon.
In 2018, she was shortlisted for the Scholastic Asian Book Award once more, this time for a middle-grade novel titled Red Eyes. This unpublished story was judged the first runner-up for the award. It will be published by Scholastic Asia in 2020.
Varsha has also written The Prophecy of Rasphora, a middle-grade novel published by Mango Books in 2018. Additionally, she has written two series of stories in association with the National Rail Museum, New Delhi. In 2020, Young Zubaan published her next middle-grade novel, Sisters at New Dawn, the first (hopefully) of a series of school stories.
A writer, dancer and teacher, Varsha completed her Master’s in English Literature from Jadavpur University Kolkata, winning two medals for Shakespeare studies. She is a Bharatanatyam dancer with over 25 years of training. She has performed in India and abroad – and now teaches it too. She conducts workshops on reading and creative writing for children and adults all over the country – find out more about them here.
Still have questions? Write to Varsha!