Tulika in LBF International Excellence Awards 2022 shortlist

Tulika – a publisher for growing up multicultural in India

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Tulika
Radhika Menon, founder Tulika. Photo Tulika

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film, and digital channels. The 2022 on-ground edition of LBF will take place 5 – 7 April 2022 at Olympia London.

The LBF has announced the shortlist for the International Excellence Awards 2022 on 4 March 2022, with sixteen countries represented across four continents. Spain leads the pack, appearing in three categories, while the USA, Egypt, and France follow close behind at two nominations each.

Damla Publishing (Turkey), Thierry Magnier (France), and Tulika Publishers (India) will be competing for the Children’s and Young Adult Publishers Award, which is a new category for this year. 

Tulika caters to Indian multicultural identity

Founded by Radhika Menon in 1996, the Chennai-based independent publisher Tulika initially focussed on storytelling for children and young adults, a somewhat lean genre in the publishing landscape in India in those days. The word ‘tulika’ loosely translates into a writer’s quill in Sanskrit.

Tulika, which completed 25 years in publishing children’s books in the 2020 pandemic year is committed to the multicultural Indian identity giving young readers a bite of the Indian culture of storytelling which they have been raised on. Menon’s personal experience as a school teacher in Chennai provided insights into molding the brand in alignment with children’s developing tastes. The publishing maverick took on illustrating Indian customs, traditions, linguistic expressions, and local costumes as her personal responsibility, which later took on the shape of Tulika’s USP.

Tulika
Malli is Coming is a bilingual book in Hindi and English by Tulika. Photo Tulika

With the brand’s trademark crow logo, its multilingual approach with books in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, English, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, and Marathi, the publisher aims to reach a wider spectrum of readers. Its inclusive themes and ways of storytelling also focus on untold narratives in the children’s publishing diaspora in the subcontinent – stories of loss, disability, multiculturalism, identity, and real-life encounters.

Tulika publishes not only fictional work but also non-fiction titles exploring the life and works of greats like Bhimrao Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi and seemingly unconventional subjects for young adults such as archaeology in India. The publishing house survived the Covid-19 pandemic by boosting its online presence and sales.

Andy Ventris, the director, of the London Book Fair, said, “The publishing industry has done remarkable work over the past year, managing to tell new stories and deliver books to readers in the face of Covid, supply chain issues, and other notable challenges. The dedication and passion for books shown throughout the global trade are truly inspiring, and we are delighted to recognize some of the most innovative companies, initiatives, and individuals from around the world in this year’s International Excellence Awards shortlists.

The International Excellence Awards recognize publishing achievement across eight categories, championing those organizations and individuals from around the world demonstrating passion, creativity, and ingenuity. The shortlist for each award category was selected by a judging panel comprised of experts within that sector. The winners of the International Excellence Awards, as well as the recipient of the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the end of March.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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