Page Turner / By Peter McDermott
Saniya Chughtai’s favorite thing in life is “spending time telling stories with children.”
And she’s written a series of books, “The Adventures of Chee and Dae,” for younger readers. There are five of those and one was translated into both Arabic and Urdu.
Her husband, Brendan McKittrick, came up with a suggestion: how about a children’s book with a GAA theme? All three McKittrick brothers played for Fingallians, and their dad Seamus won All Ireland football honors, twice, in minor football.
After some research, particularly focused on hurling, Chughtai found inspiration in the words “hurling is an ancient warrior sport.”
So that’s the starting point for the legend of “Tach the Hurler.” She told us a little about how the story pans out. “Living in an ancient tribe called The Wadi Tribe, is a wee little turtle, with the kindest of hearts called Tach. Tach loves Story Time with Saltur, the great old wise turtle, where he can disappear into the stories without any fear! Listening to Saltur tell stories whilst sitting in his hanging water hammock, is one of Tach’s favourite things to do with his friends Turwa and Kaw. After all, nobody ever got hurt listening to a story, right?
“Just when Saltur’s story is getting interesting, Anya interrupts Story Time with a warning of dangers to come and Tach is accidentally swept up in the adventure of a lifetime! An exciting adventure where there are secret tunnels, magical butterflies, strange forests and the scariest of all, wolves. But most importantly he meets the last great warrior, a Cosanthor called Renba, the black puma.”
Aside from being a children’s author, Chughtai is the CEO and founder of the Wadi Tribe, a philanthropist, serial entrepreneur, business consultant, interior architect and designer. She had appeared on “Showhouse” on RTÉ, for several seasons. She won the people’s choice award in INDEX exhibition, Dubai, for the contemporary Majlis design. She has also ventured into film, making a short documentary titled “The Story of the Storyteller”.
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Date of Birth: Oct. 20
Place of birth: Karachi, Pakistan
Spouse: Brendan McKittrick
Children: Zain and Alizeh Chughtai
Residence: Dublin and Dubai
Published works: Six children’s books: five books in the “The Adventure of Chee and Dae”; sixth is titled ‘Tach and the Cosanthor” (thewaditribe.com/product-tag/paperback-books).
What is your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?
Once my imagination is sparked, the story plays in my mind like a movie and I can't wait to write it down. Ideally I love sitting in my office, which I call the “Enchanted Room” and I write away in peace and quiet, and of course with a cup of tea.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
If you have an idea for a book, just go for it. Empty your head and give it to a really good editor..
Name three books that are memorable in terms of your reading pleasure.
I have always loved and still love Enid Blyton books; “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robery Kiyosaki; “Screw it, let's do it” by Richard Branson.
What book are you currently reading?
“Becoming Michelle”- Love it so far. I still read Enid Blyton. Reading “The Faraway Tree” for the millionth time!
Is there a book you wish you had written?
“ The Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton. I have read it so many times, sometimes it feels like a mystery!
Name a book that you were pleasantly surprised by.
“Losing my Virginity” by Richard Branson.
If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
I would love to meet Michelle Obama.
What book changed your life?
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robery Kiyosaki.
What is your favorite spot in Ireland?
Monaghan and the Cliffs of Moher.
You're Irish if...
You will talk to any living creature and open up your heart and home over a cup of tea and a warm apple pie, served with custard and a generous portion of vanilla ice cream and fresh cream!