Skip to main content
Literature Across Borders – Bath Spa University

Literature Across Borders

A literary exchange programme that sends books for young people across borders to find new readers

Literature Across Borders focuses on literature for young readers. Students of MA Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University and MA English at Ashoka University are taking part, and the books represent some of the finest writers in both countries. 

As part of every exchange, the team organises the books into four thematically-related pairs. The project began in 2023 in partnership with the Green Literature Festival and the first pairings were all about 'green' issues - nature as a refuge, adventures with elephants, the ‘wildness’ of our pets, and the bravery of young people. 

" Literature across Borders was conceived as a way to ‘make books travel’, in the words of co-founder Meghaa Gupta: exchanging pairs of themed books as a basis for a dialogue across cultures and continents enables an entirely new type of discussion for students of Literature and Creative Writing."

Dr Alexia Casale, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Programme Leader for MA Writing for Young People
Headshot of a woman with reddish hair looking thoughtfully into the distance

Students explored how the books were similar and how they diverged. They also discussed the role of writing children's and YA fiction in the age of the Anthropocene – when human activities are wreaking havoc on the planet.

The climate crisis, and our broken relationship with nature, cannot be repaired by one country acting alone. Action has to be international if it is to have any power. So, if any literature is to 'travel', what type could be more important to start with than books that are inclusive of children and adults?



Two countries, eight children's books, five months, thirteen committed readers, four in-depth dialogues, five author interactions… Literature Across Borders got off to a flying start in 2023.

Meghaa Gupta  – the brains behind this programme – wrapped Season One with a talk at Bath Spa University’s Summer Conference, where she covered children’s publishing in India and the need to take books beyond borders. 

Pair 1: Twitch and The Six Spellmakers of Dorabji Street

Our first pairing looked at how the secret green places set off bold adventures. 

Read the full discussion

Pair 2: The Girl who Stole an Elephant and That Summer at Kalagarh

Our second pairing focused on elephant adventures featuring feisty girls.

Read the full discussion

Pair 3: The Wildings and Varjak Paw

Our third pairing featured feline adventures exploring the ‘wildness’ of domesticated animals.

Read the full discussion

Pair 4: My Name is River and Year of the Weeds

Our fourth pairing looked at the human relationship with land and how childhood is placed within it.

Read the full discussion


We're looking forward to more insightful and enriching dialogues between students at Bath Spa University and Ashoka University this year. We'll also be facilitating discussions between the authors themselves. Everything will be published online as they happen.

In our first pairing, we explore mythical adventures with green themes and the writing process with a discussion by Fireblood author Sam Stewart and AB Majmudar, writer of The Torchbearers. John from Ashoka and Annette from Bath Spa discuss the respective mythical worlds in a lively conversation.

In May we'll be exploring The Wilderness War by Julia Green and A Cloud Called Bhura by Bijal Vachharajani. The discussion wll centre on books that involve a group of children coming together to overcome the effects of different aspects of the man-made crisis we're inflicting on our planet in the form of climate change and the destruction of wild places during land-development.

Our third pair of books is in June, when we'll be looking at illustrated verse with a focus on nature and wildlife as we discuss The Lost Words: A Spell Book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris and Beastly Tales from Here and There by Vikram Seth.

In our final pairing for Year 2, we'll be looking at non-fiction in the form of two memoirs about wildlife, conservation, and a love of the natural world. The chosen books for this discussion are: Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty and A Naturalist's Journal by Yuvan Aves.

Read the full synopsis of each book and more about the intended discussions on our Year Two page.


Meet the team

Meghaa Gupta

Meghaa Gupta has worked in Indian children’s publishing for over a decade and believes that all change begins with getting children to read books that demystify the world and its infinite possibilities. She heads the young people’s programme at the Green Literature Festival, curates a course on nature writing for young readers at Azim Premji University and writes books on environment and contemporary history for children.

Her picture book, A Home of Our Own (Tulika, 2018) is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Book Club. Her latest book is After Midnight: A History of Independent India (Penguin, 2022).   

Dr Alexia Casale

Dr Alexia Casale is the Programme Leader of the MA Writing for Young People, Bath Spa University, and an author of YA and adult fiction. Read her full bio here

Professor Alexander Robert Phillips

Professor Alexander Robert Phillips is an assistant professor of English at Ashoka University. Prior to coming to Ashoka, he taught in Germany and the United States. After studying at the University of California, Irvine and the Humboldt Universität in Berlin, he completed his PhD in German Studies at Cornell University.

He has published on literature, ecology, environmental aesthetics, and nineteenth century mass media. His forthcoming book, Ecology and German Realism: Poetics, Politics, and the Conquest of Nature explores the relationship between the representation of environmental degradation and aesthetic reflection in German literature in the years of Germany's industrialization between 1840 and 1900.

Get involved

For more information about any of the above or how to get involved, please email the team.

Edit section | Website feedback to