A DECADE OF LITERARY TRIUMPH: Pen Thrill marks 10 years of nurturing creative writing

Vishu Rita Krocha, founder and publisher of the Pen Thrill Publishing House, which reaches 10-year milestone on November 26.

Vishu Rita Krocha, founder and publisher of the Pen Thrill Publishing House, which reaches 10-year milestone on November 26.

Morung Express News
Dimapur | November 26

It’s a momentous celebration of literary achievement for Pen Thrill Publishing House as it reaches its remarkable 10-year milestone today. Founded by Vishu Rita Krocha- a poet, writer and a journalist- the publishing house has played a pivotal role in transforming the literary landscape in Nagaland. 

A decade ago, the State’s literary scene struggled in the shadows of insignificance, with dearth of local publishing houses to nurture and showcase the abundance of local creative talent. It was during this challenging period that Rita, fuelled by passion for literature, decided to venture into the world of publishing, thereby opening new horizons in the world of letters. 

Over the past decade, Pen Thrill has become more than a mere publishing house; it has evolved into a nurturing ground for literary talent. It has successfully launched numerous debut authors, elevating their voices and stories to the world. It has so far published 81 books with 3 more currently under print and several manuscripts waiting to take its journey of publication. 

The youngest author to publish a book is a 7-year old. As Pen Thrill marks its 10th anniversary, the celebration is not just the success of a publishing house but a decade of nurturing creativity, breaking barriers and amplifying the voices of writers who were once confined to the shadows. 

In an interview with The Morung Express, the founder and publisher reminisces on early days of the transformative journey and reflects on a decade of literary endeavours and the road ahead.

The Calling 
“I was introduced to the idea of book publishing in 2008 when the NEZCC came forward to publish our first book, ‘Echoes of Spring’ which I co-authored with her sister Agnes Krocha. Back then, book publishing was a relatively new thing and it was daunting to step into an unfamiliar territory considering that during that point of time, there were very few published authors from Nagaland. However I would realise later that Nagas have always had the innate gift for storytelling.”

Ten years ago
“Ten years back, creative writing was in a nascent stage, and there were brilliant writers hidden in the confines of their closet, lacking a platform to showcase their work. I saw the untapped potential and felt a deep conviction to create a space where these voices could be heard. Ten years back, a child putting his/her thoughts to writing and getting it published was unheard of. How wonderful it is that now, they are able to share their works through publishing. I take immense pride in having played a little part in it, to have been able to give that launch pad for their literary careers.”

Formative years 
“I ventured into publishing with nothing in my pockets but dreams to take literature from Nagaland to a whole new place. I have faced immense challenges especially in the formative years of Pen Thrill. There were times I didn’t even have money to print the book that has been accepted for publication. But my family has been kind and generous, especially my brother Savio, who initially designed Pen Thrill books and even funded the printing.”

Tough times 
“There were times I hated doing a lot of things-because publishing isn’t just about the finished work being transformed into a book. It involves layers of processes, and since I am a one-woman company, I play almost all the roles required in the publication of a book. Sometimes it wore me out being that labourer who loads and unloads books, or the distributor distributing books to various book outlets, dealing with every single author, or facilitating book launches, ensuring every single one of them goes smoothly, and a lot of other seemingly small things in between. There were times I have been let down and disappointed but I can say with confidence that there wasn’t a time in these 10 years I thought of ever giving up.”

“In 2017, Pen Thrill launched in what could be called the first child author from Nagaland- Sochumlo Suki Ezung with her debut book, ‘Suki’s Magic Box’ at 10. She went on to author her second book, ‘Suki’s Spacecraft.’ 

In 2021, Pen Thrill launched another 7-year old, Sofia Livimi Swu, who made her debut as an author/illustrator with her first adventure series, ‘My Adventure in Fairyland.’ She is now the author of 4 books. In the same year, despite popular belief that poetry books do not sell, a collection of poems titled, ‘Akupu- The Bridge, A Flower’ by Inaholi Assumi sold 1000 copies within one week of its release.

But above all, the key milestone has been the fact that ever since Pen Thrill came into being, there has just been an increasing trend of publishing in the state and that every year, there is also an increase in the number of manuscripts that come out way. In the last few years, Pen Thrill has also published 4 books from other states of North East including one from Arunachal Pradesh and three from Manipur.”

Evolving landscape
“Literature has evolved a lot in the last ten years. There was a time when writing from Nagaland only seemed to be about conflict, which of course is pertinent because pioneering Naga authors wrote about their lived experience and the reality of the Naga life as it were. I feel there was a long lull between the pioneers and the present generation of contemporary Naga writers. As relative peace came to our land, writing also took a different course with the fresh emerging voices from the state exploring diverse issues. Graphic story telling is also gaining a lot of popularity in this era. Authors from Nagaland are getting more and more creative in the way they tell their stories.”

Future of Naga literature
“This is an exciting time for Naga writers, with a visible outburst of creativity in the way they express themselves in writing and in the way they tell stories in different forms. If we continue to grow at this pace, in another 10 years down the line, we will have a thriving literary scene. If we are to keep alive “Nagaland,” then we must give love and support that Naga literature deserves because ultimately, it is books that would ensure that our future generations can access their roots, culture and tradition and also appreciate the rich tapestry of human experiences.”

Final thoughts 
“I hope Nagaland literary landscape continues to evolve, that we continue to raise storytellers because storytelling is the greatest legacy we can bequeath our children with; it is also at the heart of Naga culture, a precious traditional treasure our forefathers have left us with.”