Tag Archives: Assamese

The Fortnight (and a bit) in Literature and Translation (Feb 27-March 14, 2015)


  • Ali Akbar Natiq’s What Will You Give For this Beauty (translated by Ali Madeeh Hashmi for Hamish Hamilton)
  • Shashi Tharoor’s The Five Dollar Smile from Penguin
  • Stuart Blackburn’s Murder in Melur from Rupa
  • From among her many literary engagements Rathi Menon’s latest is a book on Prof. M. Leelavathy
  • The literary works of Nepal’s national poet, Madhav Prasad Ghimire, will be translated into Hindi
  • Pakistan’s National Book Foundation (NBF) published a new  pocket size edition of the Deewan-e-Ghalib
  •  R. Meera’s popular novel Hangwoman will be translated into Arabic
  • Kannada writer Vasudhendra on ‘Mohanaswamy,’ his collection of short stories about gay lives
  • Ten years later, Gregory D Robert’s ‘Shantaram’ is back in a new novel.
  • Translator Poonam Saxena on Dharamvir Bharati’s ‘Gunahon Ka Devta’ and why it is a necessary tale of slow love for the instant generation.
  • The Sahitya Akademi has published a new monograph on Telugu writer Madhurantakam Rajaram



Columns and Articles

  • How well do you know your fictional Bengali detectives?
  • Tania James tells you why you must read this novel about the ivory trade: it’s told in part by an elephant
  • Mayank Austen Soofi on how Indian poetry in English is becoming part of the mainstream
  • Gargi Gupta on translation efforts and the neglect of India’s classics
  • Amitav Ghosh on his Ibis trilogy: “As a novelist, I am trying to create a sense of lived history”
  • Javed Akhtar on Urdu: “Language comes from regions, not religions”
  • Azaan Javaid on Jashn-E-Rekhta and the need to resurrect lost languages
  • Adapting Shakespeare in Bengali, at Jorasankar Thakurbari
  • Singapore’s Bangladeshi construction worker poets
  • Aatish Taseer writes in English for NYT on how English killed Indian literature
  • Intizar Hussain: a Pakistani author who left his heart in India
  • A couple of months back I’d done a detailed overview (parts one and two) of the Sahitya Akademi award-winners. Scroll has a shorter version here.
  • Watch a documentary that captures Mumbai’s love affair with books.
  • Dalit literature has grown popular over time: Sheoraj Singh Bechain
  • Charukesi on the poetry of Tamil writer Erode Tamizhanban
  • Veerappa Moily’s reinterpretation of Draupadi’s story.


  • Amrita Madhukalya reviews Mamang Dai’s new book The Black Hill, set in 19th century Arunachal Pradesh,
  • Chetana Divya Vasudev reviews Mirza Waheed’s The Book of Golden Leaves in TNIE
  • More on Ram Devineni’s “Priya” comic about a rape survivor in India using divine intervention to school people
  • Melanie P Kumar reviews Amit Chaudhuri’s Odysseus Abroad, in the Deccan Herald




  • Malayalam writer KR Meera received the Oman Kerala Sahitya Puraskaram in Muscat for her fantastic novel Hangwoman. Here’s an interview  with Ajay Kumar.
  • The Sahitya Akademi Translation Prizes 2014 have been announced.
  • Temsula Ao will receive the Kusumagraja National Literature Award
  • Literary awards presented to Assamese poet Bhaben and Bengali poet Shyamalkanti Das
  • Kuvempu Rashtreeya Puraskar to be conferred on Hindi writer Namvar Singh


  • Assaulted and hounded, Tamil writer Puliyar Murugesan to move out of his home to Thanjavur
  • Gulzar wishes Patar could translate his works to Punjabi
  • Popular rationalist and Gujarati writer Raman Pathak passes away
  • Ada Jafarey, first lady of Urdu poetry, dies
  • Odia writer Gayatribala Panda participating in ‘Writers in-residence’ programme at the Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • Remembering Kannada writer P Lankesh, who died before his time
  • Controversy-man, who is all for ‘deshivad’: Harihar Swarup writes about Bhalchandra Nemade, Jnanpith awardee

Publishing, the industry, and libraries

  • Publishers and book stores are doing their bit to preserve Urdu
  • India seems to be warming up to the literary agent
  • The former Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, has filed a one billion rupee defamation suit against Penguin India for being mean to his friends.
  • Slam poetry has a niche audience in Bengaluru
  • Why Anuja Chauhan moved from HarperCollins after eight years and three bestsellers (spoiler: for the money)
  • A report from the recent All India Library Conference in Delhi: lessons for Nepal
  • The CenGov gave 25 districts funds to hold bookfairs: 13 failed to do so
  • Graphic India Believes It’s Time India Had Its Own Digital Comic Empire
  • NIE report on the Indian government’s giant banhammer (my, what a big hammer you have, my dear)
  • The Kerala State Library Council (KSLC) is going in for a much-needed digitisation drive,



The Fortnight in Literature and Translation (Feb 12-26 2015)

This is now going to become a fortnightly column, instead of weekly.


  • Two novellas by Urdu writer Ikramullah’s are out in an English translation by Faruq Hassan and Mohammad Umar Memon. The book, titled Regret, has been published by Penguin Random House India.
  • A selection of Urdu writer Ali Akbar Natiq’s short stories are out in an English translation titled, What Will You Give for This Beauty?The translation, by Musharraf Ali Farooqui, is published by Penguin Random House India.
  • The ninth and penultimate volume of Bibek Debroy’s magisterial translation of the Mahabharata is out.
  • Six volumes of literature from the Adil Shahi era are being published in Kannada translation, by Department of Kannada and Culture in Karnataka.
  • Nepali Madan Puraskar laureate Dinesh Adhikari’s book of poetry has been translated to Hindi
  • A three-volume Birinchi Kumar Barua Rachanawali was released in Guwahati
  • Wonderful news: the Dhaka Translation Centre plans the creation of a collection of translations titled the ‘Library of Bangladesh’
  • New publisher Speaking Tiger has its first three books out (all in English): Omair Ahmed’s novel, The Storyteller’s Tale, Mahesh Bhatt and Suhrita Sengupta’s novel/screenplay, All That Could Have Been, and a collection of essays by Ruskin Bond, A Book of Simple Living.
  • Punjabi poet Amarjit Chandan’s verses have been translated to Greek
  • Debut author Shweta Taneja talks about her upcoming book about ‘tantric detective’ Anantya. Conceptually, this sounds terrible. Hope it’s been executed well.
  • Television journalist Pooja Talwar talked about her upcoming novel “Bebbe Diaries” at the recent World Book Fair in New Delhi


Columns and Articles

  • Tisha Srivastav comments on the lack of variety in Indian publishing in a column for Scroll, titled, “A new dictionary of book classification in bookstores”
  • Mamta Sagar on the troubled genius of iconic Kannada writer Samsa
  • Asit Ranjan Mishra asks, How should we celebrate Indian classical languages? He concludes, “Forcing students to learn Sanskrit is not important for our future generation to appreciate the great heritage of this country, making it easily available in the language he or she wants to read it is.”
  • Anita Nair on three good Malayalam to English translations of Indian fiction last year.
  • Dr IM Singh on the folk stories of the Meiteis of Manipur.
  • Meera Sashital’s article on the Sanskrit poet, Banabhatta
  • Writer Nikhileshwar on Perumal Murugan, intolerance and politics.
  • Regional writers back Marathi writer Nemade on his tirade against Naipaul, Rushdie


  • Sarah Hafeez reviews Mamang Dai’s The Black Hill in the Indian Express.
  • A new review of Uday Prakash’s The Walls of Delhi, as translated by Grunebaum, in the QC
  • Catherine Lacey reviews Deepti Kapoor’s A Bad Character in the NYT
  • Bollywood loves lyricist Irshad Kamil’s recently published book of Urdu poetry.



  • The Vinda Karandikar Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar will be conferred on well-known Marathi writer D M Mirasdar.


  • Kashmiri poet Gani Miskeen of Sopore passed away. He was 60.
  • A profile of Madurai’s A.R. Subbier, who wrote Tamil bakthi literature, by S Annamalai in The Hindu.
  • Via TOI a short interview with Goan writer Damodar Mauzo
  • Renowned Urdu poet Kaleem Aajiz passed away
  • Telugu Novelist Kesava Reddy passed away


  • Another Tamil writer under attack for novel. Meanwhile, Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, who has stopped writing completely since his novel was censored and burned, has filed an affidavit in court in a proceeding challenging the ban on his book. “A writer cannot function under threat or fear,” he said.
  • Kalyani Prasher asks, Is Hindi literature back in fashion? Another article speaks about the adoption of new technology in Hindi publishing.
  • A number of new generation libraries in Mumbai are offering more than just reading room to members
  • Binoo K John asks, How big is Indian publishing, really? and notes that a survey with the answers is forthcoming
  • Here’s an interview with Ashok Chopra on his career as a publisher:
  • TNN on the evolution of online publishing in India.
  • A news report on the future of government publishing in India.
  • The current BJP national government plans a probe into the activities of the IGNCA


The Fortnight in Literature and Translation [Dec 26 2014 – Jan 8, 2014]


  • There were a couple of books to look out for in 2015 lists – DNA, Jaya Bhattacharji for Deccan Chronicle,
  • K Jayakumar has written a new commentary ‘Apaarathayodu Anuraagapoorvam’ on Tagore’s Gitanjali, in Malayalam (Mathrubhumi Books)
  • Two Assamese books translated to Malayalam: Pranab Kumar Barman’s poetry translated into Bengali by Sudipa Bhattacharjee as Pagli Brishti Porche, Dekho Dekho  and Pankaj Kumar Dutta’s short story collection translated by Bidhisha Ghose as Fugu Macher Galpo.
  • There is (justifiably) much excitement over the upcoming Murty Classical Library, which will be publishing five new translations from India’s classical canon, from five languages! Reports from the Economic Times, The Telegraph,
  • Bidyasagar Narzary, Sahitya Akademi award winner, has released a new novel in Bodo: Malotini Dao Moina
  • Assamese journalist and writer Saurav Kumar Chaliha’s translations and non-fiction have been digitised
  • Out of Print‘s December issue is out: stories by Manju Kak, Altaf Tyrewala, more
  • Kindle magazine’s special issue on Bangladesh is out.
  • Chenthil Nathan’s Tamil translation of Manto’s story, Toba Tek Singh
  • I’m thrilled to learn that Ruswa’s The Madness of Waiting is being translated to English by Krupa Shandilya, Taimoor Shahid for Zubaan Books


  • I don’t understand the point of articles like this: in ET, a plaintive complaint: “Will anyone start an Indian Year of Books?” Dear author, why don’t you?
  • Poet Tishani Doshi reviews Manohar Shetty’s collection of poems, Living Room.
  •  Rohini Nair says Aatish Taseer’s new book is difficult, but ultimately worth it. Vineet Roy, in BusinessLine also reviews.
  • Aishwarya Subramaniam reviews two recent YA lit novels from India.
  • Vaishna Roy reviews Somnath Batyabal’s racy new new cop thriller
  • SB Pisharoty reviews Indrani Raimedhi’s book, My Half of the Sky, which chronicles the life journey of 12 women from the North East.
  • Arunava Sinha asks, why isn’t translation the big story of Indian publishing?
  • Anthony Cummins reviews Mirza Waheed’s The Book of Gold Leaves
  • Karan Deep Singh, on how memories of WWII have endured in Indian folk songs
  • How technology is helping the visually-impaired access libraries at Delhi University
  • Vikrant Pande on the funniest Marathi writer of all time, Pu La Deshpande
  • Kuldeep Kumar on how Shrilal Shukla’s Raag Darbari endures
  • Asif Farrukhi in Dawn on the year in Urdu novels
  • Sufi Showkat reviews a new volume of protest poetry from Arabic, English, Kashmiri, Persian and Urdu
  • Dr GP Sharma argues that ’Syed Abdul Malik’s contribution to Assamese literature matches that of Lakshminath Bezbarua
  • Aswathy Karnaver reviews two debut collections of poetry (in English) from India, by A M Sivakrishna and Rahul Sharma



  • Odia poet Soubhagya Kumar Mishra wins the Gangadhar National Award for poetry.
  • After all the durm und strang, the Kannada Sahitya Sammelan had a tepid turnout.
  • Hirendra Nath Dutta has been chosen for the 25th Assam Valley Literary Award for the year 2014
  • Maithili scholar Ravindra Nath Thakur wins the PrabodhSahityaSamman
  • Dr. T.G. Prabhashankar “Premi” gets an honorary doctorate from the Vikramshila Hindi Vidyapeet in Bhagalpur, Bihar
  • Padma awardee Laltluangliana Khiangte on the need for a ‘literary awakening’


  • Telugu playwright and dialogue writer Ganesh Patro passed away. He was 69 and was being treated for cancer.
  • Translator Arunava Sinha on why he translates and another column on the dearth of translations from India
  • Hindi poet Nand Chaturvedi passed away. He was 91.
  • Urdu writer Shamsur Rahman Faruqi on writing, the literature he loves, and Sufism: a nice interview
  • Supreme Court judge Justice Dipak Misra, at a writers’ conference made the terrifying claim that “should be universally acceptable”
  • Pakistani writer Intizar Husain makes a broad claim for writers: “as extremists do not read literature or our stories, we are safe”
  • Ashok Srinivasan talks about his Book of Common Signs, and finally getting published.
  • Contemporary Malayalam poet Atoor Ravi Varma on his poetry, music and translation.
  • Slightly blunt obituary for Academician and thinker Hardiljit Singh Sidhu (Lali Baba)
  • Konkani poet JB Moraes passes away at 82


  • Literary journal Asian Cha has a poetry contest, ‘The Other Side’ (deadline: Feb 15)
  • David Davidar of Aleph Book Co on the challenges that Indian publishers face in the future.
  • Perumal Murugan’s book, One Part Woman has been facing boycotts and censorship attempts by the Hindu right – here’s an article from PEN, an excerpt in Scroll, a report in Indian Express.
  • Indian publishers on the trends in 2014
  • Tagore’s short story, ‘Postmaster’ to be made into a film


  • A report on a two-day symposium on medieval bhakti literature in Odia held in Jan.
  • Shrabonti Bagchi has a survivor’s guide to Indian litfests. Leave before Bollywood arrives
  • An update on the Guwahati Lit Fest
  • 200 years of Ghalib, and his hometown, Agra, forgot him.
  • At the Amta Book Fair 2014, Bengali books did well
  • Celebrations for the 87th birth anniversary of Nepali poet Agam Singh Giri

The 2014 Sahitya Akademi Awards – Part I


The Sahitya Akademi Awards are probably the most significant pan-Indian literature awards (the Sahitya Akademi is the equivalent of a National Academy of Letters). I say this because they span 24 languages (the 22 recognised in the Indian Constitution’s 8th Schedule plus English and Rajasthani). This post contains coverage and background on the 2014 Awards: regretfully, not reviews, because I haven’t read all (but one – Jussawala) of the winners. Briefly, the awards are selected by panels of three judges (one panel per language). The prize includes Rs.100,000/-, a plaque, fame, adulation and the envy of one’s fellow humans. Eligible works include volumes of poetry, fiction, criticism, essays, and include translations.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 2014 in English and Hindi (PDFs, Sahitya Akademi website). Part I will cover Assamese to Maithili, Part 2 (forthcoming) Malayalam to Urdu.


Arupa Kalita Patangia, Mariam Astin Athaba Hira Barua (Short Stories): The award for Assamese went to Arupa Kalita Patangia, who teaches English at Tangla College in Assam and is one of the most well-known Assamese novelists today. She holds a PhD from Gauhati University (written on women characters in Pearl S Buck’s novels) and has published three novels, nine collections of short stories, a children’s novel and some translations, so far. Last year, she won the Prabina Saikia Literary Award.

  • Books: Two of her previous novels have been translated to English and published by Zubaan Books:The Story of Felanee (translated by Deepika Phukan) and Dawn (translated by Ranjita Biswas).
  • Links: You can read an English translation of her story ‘Ai’ (Mother) in Muse India here.
  • Coverage: Assam Tribune, The Sentinel, Assam Times,


Utpal Kumar Basu, Piya Mana Bhabe (Poetry): Basu belongs to Bengali poetry’s Hungry Generation, a postmodern literary movement (also called, somewhat unmusically, the Hungryalists) that began in the 1960s in Bengal. (This paper by Sanchari Bhattacharya, in English, is a an introduction). A profile by Aryanil Mukherjee says Basu is a geologist by training, although he is now well known as a poet. This excerpt from Amit Chaudhuri’s book on Calcutta includes some conversations with Basu. He won the Ananda Purashkar for Bengali writing in 2006.

  • Books: You can buy volumes of his poetry (in Bengali) from the Parabaas bookstore.
  • Links: There are some dodgy English translations on PoemHunter, some better translations on the Kaurab site. I can’t find published English translations; hopefully, the Sahitya Akademi will translate this collection.
  • Coverage: No Basu-specific coverage in English  that I could find.


Urkhao Gwra Brahma, Udangnifrai Gidingfinnanei (Return from Freedom, Poetry): The winner for the award in Bodo is a poet, but also a former Member of Parliament (RS) and used to be the head of the All Bodo Student Union. He’s got a blog (mostly in English) and a twitter account (locked).His biodata on the Rajya Sabha website says that he has a number of books published in the Bodo language (no translations listed). He was a member of phitika, a private poetry circle to which he was introduced by Brajendra Kumar Brahma, his uncle and the first winner of the Tagore Award. He heads the UN Brahma Academy, which runs schools across Assam. He writes in Assamese, Bodo and English. (See here)

  • Books: Again, hoping that this book is translated. Translations of Bodo literature are rather rare, though there have been some recent initiatives.
  • Links:
  • Coverage: In a brief statement to the Assam Times, he said, “This is a prestigious award by a big organization in the country. My name figured in the last which I did not expected. It would encourage the new writers,”. A more extended interview in Indian Express has a quote: “I am surprised, and also thrilled. I am also glad I have been elevated from a typical politician to a recognized poet”


Shailender Singh, Hashiye Par (Novel): Singh is a serving member of the Jammu and Kashmir police, and currently serves as a Senior Superintendent (SSP). Singh has degrees in engineering and managementHashiye Par was actually published in 2009, but this year, Oxford brought out an English translation by Suman K Sharma, titled, For A Tree To Grow. It is his first novel, and has been published to some critical acclaim: he’s already won the Ram Nath Shastri Memorial Award for it. Some reviews: Lydia Wahid for Rising Kashmir, Dinesh Sharma for Tinpahar. Singh is also on Twitter.


Ashvin Mehta (Chhabi Bhitarani (Essays): Although Mehta is known more as a photographer than a writer (Salil Tripathi compared him to Ansel Adams), he wrote several books, as well. A profile at Archer India says, “Mehta didn’t describe himself as a photographer. For him, his art was incidental to celebrating life.” From what I understand, the collection of essays, Chhabi Bhitarani was published in 2010, partly in Gujarati and English. I assume the 2014 prize is for a translation, but I couldn’t find any. There isn’t much coverage, but here are some of his photographs.

  • Books:Chhabi Bhitarani on World Cat, no translations that I can find and some photography books by him, on Amazon
  • Links: –
  • Coverage: –


Adil Jussawala, Trying to Say Goodbye (Almost Island, 2011): Jussawala is one of the four ‘Bombay Poets’ (along with Gieve Patel, AK Mehrotra, and the late, great Arun Kolatkar). One profile describes his work as a “trenchant critique of the underlying market-driven ethic of the bourgeoisie”. Like some of the other volumes, this was actually published in 2011 by Almost Island. I suppose that I am in a minority amongst the hissy, reverential majority, but I’ve never been a fan. If you ask me, 2013-14 saw many worthy books in English (including poetry) so I’m a little confused by this selection. Nevertheless, much has been written about Jussawala, his life, and work:  Anjum Hasan’s essay in Caravan describes the literary context of his works and the Bombay poets school; Anand Thakore’s essay on his poetry for PIW and AK Mehrotra’s essay on his prose. His remarks on the poverty of Indian writing in English, after he received the award, are already generating controversy.


Ramesh Chandra Shah, Vinakay (novel): He was born in 1937 in Almora, Uttarakhand, and taught in universities until he retired in 2000. He served as the Head of the English Department in Bhopal’s Hamidia University, and later at the Nirala Srijanpeeth. He’s written eight novels, several volumes of stories and poems, two plays, several books of essays and has also translated a number of works (from English to Hindi). His wife, too, is a  well-known Hindi writer (Jyotsna Milan) and a translator, notably in Gujarati and Hindi. Shah won the Padma Shri in 2004, which is one of the highest civilian honours in India.


Govindray H Nayak, Uttaraardha (Essays): GH Nayak is a writer, poet and professor of Kannada. He’s previously won the Kannada Sahitya Award, and the Pampa Award for his writing. As a critic, he was unusual in being beloved by one of Kannada’s finest novelists, the recently deceased UR Ananthamurthy. Ananthamurthy was a fan of his critical works, describing the ‘rare objectivity in Nayak’s criticism’. Nayak, in turn, described his close friendship with Ananthamurthy, a relationship spanning six decades. His response to the award has been surprisingly modest: “I know the standard of my writing. I would have been happy if the award was conferred when I was young,”


Shad Ramzan, Kore Kakud Pushrith Gome (Poetry): Dr M Shad Ramzan teaches Sufi poetry, folk literature and the cultural history of Kashmir, at Kashmir University. His publications seem to be mainly academic work, criticism and edited volumes thus far. He also has done a number of translations, and won the Akademi’s translation award in 2009 for his translation of ‘Anhaar Te Akus’. He has also won the Harmukh Literary Award in 2007. In 2010, he ran into some trouble for framing a translation question in a university exam on a passage that dealt with the biological evolution of the human body – this led, idiotically to criminal charges of moral turpitude.


Madhavi Sardesai, Manthan (Essays): Dr Madhavi Sardesai, sadly, died only a few days after the Sahitya Akademi awards were announced. She was only 52, and had been battling cancer. This was her second Sahitya Akademi award: she’d earlier won it for a life of Gandhi, in Konkani, titled  ‘Eka Vicharachi Jivit Katha’. Sardesai was born in Portugal and settled in Goa. She was a linguist by training and wrote her PhD on Portuguese influences on Konkani. Her 1993 volume Bhasabaas, preceding this, was an introduction to Konkani linguistics. She’s also known for translating de Exupery’s The Little Prince from the French to Konkani. Sardesai was also the editor of the Konkani monthly, Jaag, for which work she won the Ligoriyo Furtad Trust Prize, ‘Patrakarita Puraskar


Asha Mishra, Uchat (Novel): I can, unfortunately, find nothing on the author or the book, online. Hopefully some updates after I check out library resources on Maithili writing. Given that the language is spoke by 34.7 million people, you’d think there would be more on this!

The Week in Literature and Translation [Dec 19-25, 2014]


  • The Dalgado Konknni Akademi (DKA) will release three new Konkani books in the Romi script: C ‘Na-em’, a collection of poems by Guadalupe Dias, ‘Kapaz Jaki’, a novel by Willy Goes and another book of poems ‘Motiam’ by Anil Kamat Shankwalkar.
  • Four more Konkani books were released during the Konkani Saahith Kuswar Sammel” :two novels and a collection of short stories translated by Dr Fr William DaSilva, and a collection of poetry
  • Aldous Mawlong, poet from Meghalaya, released his second collection of poems, ‘Collage’
  • Penguin has a new collection of poetry by Kamala Das.
  • Navayana has announced two forthcoming books for 2015, by Aboriginal authors Alexis Wright and Ali Cobby Eckermann’
  • An excerpt from a new graphic novel that “reimagines the story of Anarkali as an anthem for freedom”
  • Aruni Kashyap tweeted that he was working on a new seralised novel in Assamese..
  • A new translation of stories by Devibharati, titled ‘Farewell, Mahatma’ has been released. The translator is N Kalyan Raman.


Columns and Articles

  • Vikram Doctor on 120 years of Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
  • Garga Chatterjee has a list of the top political books in India, for 2014
  • Swati Daftuar has a list of the top-selling Hindi books this year
  • Malati Mathur on translating Indian fiction
  • On sustaining aksharaslokam, an art of reciting verses from Malayalam literature
  • Arunava Sinha’s personal history of Calcutta, “my once and always city of books”
  • Shovon Chowdhury’s tongue-in-cheek column takes a dig at formulaic Indian romance novels.
  • Chandan Gowda on MN Srinivas and the lure of the literary
  • ZM Nofil reviews the year in Indian literature.


  • Two reviews of R Sreeram, debut novel, the political thriller ‘Kalyug’ – Archana Ravi in TNIE and Sravasti Datta in The Hindu.
  • Lisa Hill from the ANZ Lit blog has reviews of Shamsur Rahman Faruqi‘s The Mirror of Beauty and Jhumpa Lahiri‘s The Lowland.
  • Deccan Chronicle has a review of Janice Pariat’s Seahorse


  • The Sahitya Akademi Awards for 2014 were announced. I’ll be posting in more detail about those, by and by.
  • Tamil writer Jayamohan has been selected for this year’s Iyal Award
  • Iqbal Sayeedi, Konkani poet from Bhatkal has won the Kavita Trust’s Mathias Family Poetry Award for the year 2014
  • Madhukar Dattatrya Hatkanangalekar has been selected for the Sangli Bhushan award


  • Tulu writer and editor SR Hegde died, tragically, in a drowning incident.
  • Madhavi Sardesai, who just won the 2014 Sahitya Akademi Award, passed away.
  • On Gobinda Halder — a celebrity poet in Bangladesh and a non-entity in his native West Bengal


  • Penguin has a competition going: design a new cover for their new fantasy novel, ‘Warrior’
  • Odia books saw great sales at the Cuttack book fair.
  • Academic publisher Permanent Black will soon turn 15
  • The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective has raised $10,000 in seed funding to publish books of poetry by contemporary writers with a connection to India


  • Agra will host the SAARC lit fest in 2015.
  • Poet Siddalingaiah will chair the 81st Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in 2015/
  • Mangaluru to host Konkani lit fest on December 20, 2014
  • Patna had a three day Maithili literature festival last week.
  • Aligarh Muslim University had a seminar on Tamil poet, Subramania Bharti
  • The Mumbai Lit Fest was as precious and irrelevant as one expected. Aakar Patel ruefully reports for Mint.

The Week in Literature and Translation [Dec 5-11 2014]


  • Kindle Magazine’s Biannual issue is out.
  • Books for 2015 – Arunava Sinha talks to publishers about what they’re looking forward to (via Scroll)
  • A new comic book from India has a heroine who was gangraped and develops a Hindu goddess alter ego. Notwithstanding mountains of evidence, commentary, writing and literature, the American author ‘discovered’ “that rape and sexual violence in India was a cultural issue, and that it was backed by patriarchy, misogyny, and people’s perceptions.” only after talking to one cop following the Dec 16 gangrape (TW:graphic details behind the link). I’m not holding my breath on this one.
  • A new volume of photographs on the Kannada writer, Kuvempu, has been released.
  • Assamese writer Bipul Regon will be publishing a collection of poetry in Malayalam.
  • ‘Draupadi’ – An excerpt from ashort story by Mahasweta Devi, translated from the Bengali by Spivak
  • An excerpt from Ajaz Ashraf’s new novel, The Hour Before Dawn
  • Penguin released a translation of Nirmal Verma’s A Rag Called Happiness, by Kuldip Singh (I missed this one, it was out in November).


Columns and Articles


  • Reviews of Janice Pariat’s new novel, Seahorse, are out: here’s Urvashi Bahuguna in Helter Skelter (she’s convinced the book is “her story”), Jayathi Madhukar in Bangalore Mirror,
  • A review of Arundhathi Subramaniam’s collection of poetry, When God is a Traveller, by Sumana Roy in IE
  • A review of Ghulam Nabi Bhat (Shahid)’s collection of short stories, Ailaan Jaari Hai, in the Kashmir Reader.
  • Rakshanda Jalil reviews Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s great The Sun that Rose from the Earth (“every single one of its 600-odd pages is a connoisseur’s delight, brimful with evocative detail and flavoursome with the choicest of Urdu verses”)
  • KK Srivasatava reviews Ramakanta Rath’s collection of poetry, Frontier Lyrics
  • K Santhosh has a new review of KR Meera’s Hangwoman
  • Vaishna Roy says Aatish Taseer’s The Way We Were is “a book of ideas”
  • Ramya Sarma on Deepti Kapoor’s A Bad Character: “This is not an especially pleasant book, nor one that will endear the characters and their behaviour to its readers, but it is a strangely compelling one.”
  • Anusha Parthasarthy reviews Saad Bin Jung’s Matabele Dawn, set in India and Africa.
  • JB Rose reviews Anita Nair’s Idris, Keeper of the Light
  • A review of Australian author Brian Stoddart’s new murder novel, set in Chennai
  • Pratik Kanjilal on the casual and sexual violence in Upamanyu Chatterjee’s new book
  • Arunava Sinha deconstructs Ravinder Singh’s slightly creepily titled Your Dreams Are Mine Now



  • A large number of Hindi writers were given awards for literature by the Uttar Pradesh government. Notably, Doodhnath Singh was given Bharat Bharti Samman (UP’s highest honour) and Mamta Kalia received the Lohia Sahitya Samman
  • Bilal Tanweer won the Shakti Bhatt Prize 2014 – he couldn’t come to collect it India, so Shovon Chowdhury delivered an acceptance speech for him.


  • Mirza Waheed talks to Nandini Nair of Businessline on cricket, Kashmir and growing up. In Greater Kashmir, he talks about the process of writing: “Memory informs the imagination, and imagination may sometimes colour, even shape and bend memory.”
  • Aditi Mehta on meeting Vikram Seth
  • Kannada writer Devanuru Mahadeva on why he’s refusing to chair the Kannada Sammellan next year, and on the status of the language generally (“Kannada is being strangled to death”)
  • Goan writer Manohar Shetty on why he writes about the world of animals, in a conversation with Esther Elias in the Hindu.
  • Ahmedaband will celebrate the 122nd birth anniversary of Gujarati writer Dhumketu (Gaurishankar Govardhandas Joshi)
  • In the Hindu, an interview with David Davidar on his choices in a new anthology of Indian stories
  • Chetan “Deti hai to de varna kat le” Bhagat says, “I am not doing sequels like J.K. Rowling. #Blessed

Publishing and Sales

  • A profile of the Gandhi Book Store in Mumbai, via Bombaywalla.
  • Amar Chitra Katha, which publishes Hindu mythology based comics for children, has a new website.
  • Nepali writer Buddhi Sagar’s anticipated second novel, फिरफिरे was to come out on March 8th, but has been delayed
  • Can Byomkesh Bakshi become a new franchise (like…..Bond?) Sandipan Deb in Livemint.
  • Neel Mukherjee on how Western publishing views Indian writing: some choice words on the sari border/spices/bangles book covers and the obsession with classifying Indian novels as ‘saga’s.
  • The President of India’s memoirs are going to be published online only for a week, before print publication begins. This seems to have created a row.


  • Here‘s where you can get free passes to the Raipur Sahitya Fest. The event seems to have run into controversy already.
  • Here‘s the list of speakers for the Zee Jaipur Lit Fest.
  • All India Radio is organising an event for the former Prime Minister Vajpayee’s birthday. He wrote some fairly pedestrian political poetry. Meanwhile this year, two fine women writers died (Turaga Janaki Rani, Rajam Krishnan), Kedarnath Singh won the Jnanpith Award, and it did nothing. Jai ho.
  • The Kolkata Book Fair this year is focusing on literature from…Britain.
  • A performance of Pranabandhu Kar’s play “Eka Maati Aneka Akasha” (Odia) in Bhubaneswar in commemoration of his birth centenary. Also there’s a new website on him.
  • Event | National Book Fair | Puducherry | Dec 19 |Link

The Week In Literature and Translation [23rd-29th October, 2014]


  • Malayalam writer Sethu’s collection of short stories, A Guest for Arundhathi and Other Stories has been translated to English by K Kunhikrishnan and published by Palimpsest Publishing House. [Amazon]
  • Penguin has published The Taste of Words, An Introduction to Urdu Poetry, which has been edited and translated by Mir Ali Raza and introduced by Gulzar. [Penguin]
  • Amit Chaudhuri’s new book, Odysseus Abroad has been published. [Penguin]
  • Urdu writer Shahnawaz Zaidi’s poetry volume, The Meaning of Art, has been translated into English [Daily Times]
  • An excerpt from Zafar Anjum’s new book, Iqbal. [Kitaab]
  • Narendranath Mitra’s short story, Ras [The Caravan]
  • An excerpt from Avtar Singh’s English novel, Necropolis [The Medium]
  • Penguin has released the cover of Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s new book, The Sun That Rose from the Earth [Penguin’s Twitter]


Columns and Articles

  • Somak Ghoshal in Livemint says its been a good year for erotic writing from India, and reviews some of the latest books. [Livemint]
  • Elen Turner’s article, “Indian Feminist Publishing and the Sexual Subaltern” in Rupkatha journal is available online.
  • Amir Suhail Wani writes on poetry and purpose in Urdu, with reference to poets Altaf Husssain Haali Allama Iqbal and Mir Ghulam Rasool Nazki [Greater Kashmir]
  • Aakar Patel has a theory about why two Indian books- Neel Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others, and Naipaul’s A Bend in the River, were not given the Booker. [Livemint]


  • Alice Albinia reviews writer Mirza Waheed’s debut novel, The Book of Gold Leaves in the Financial Times [FT]
  • A review of The Taste of Words, An Introduction to Urdu Poetry edited by Mir Ali Raza, in Outlook. [Outlook]
  • Bijal Vaccharani reviews Anushka Ravisankar and Priya Sundram’s ‘Captain Coconut & The Case of the Missing Bananas’ [The Alternative]
  • Joanna Lobo reviews Sunil Gangopadhyay’s collection of short stories, Primal Woman, translated from the Bengali by Aruna Chakravarty [DNA]
  • Mathangi Subramaniam reviews Sri Lankan writer Rohini Mohan’s The Seasons of Trouble [Aerogram]



  • The longlist for the 2014 DSC Prize is out. Elen at the South Asia Book Blog expressed some disappointment with the selection.
  • Writer Prafulla Das won the 2014 Sarala Award for writing in Odia. [Orissa Diary]
  • The All India Konkani Writers’ Organization (AIKWO) has announced awards for the most promising books in Konkani, in the Roman and Kannada scripts – Willy Goes for Kotrin and Pio Fernandes for Tujea Moga Khati [TOI]
  • KR Meera won the 38th Vayalar Rama Varma Memorial Literary Award for 2014. [ToI on the ceremony, Madhyamam on the award]


  • The Kannada Book Authority, which has been dormant for four years, awoke and ordered 1,781 for 2010. A small attempt at attacking their backlog.[Bangalore Mirror]
  • The Odia Sahitya Akademi celebrated writer and dramatist Pranabandhu Kar’s centenary last week. [TNIE]
  • Scholars ask for a celebration to remember Assamese writer Padmanath Gohain Baruah [Assam Tribune]
  • The Kannada Sahitya Akademi is unable to agree on a location for their next annual sammelan. [TNIE] Could it be Gulbarga? [The Hindu]
  • An event to remember Bengali writer Jibananda Das was held in Barisal, in Bangladesh. [Daily Star]
  • An event to remember UR Ananthamurthy, Kannad writer, will be held in Mysore [The Hindu]
  • In Guwahati, a day long seminar to remember writer Dr Biren Bhattacharya [Assam Tribune]
  • Odia writer Manoj Das returned the money he received from the scam-hit Seashore Group, for advisory work on their magazine. [Indian Express]
  • In a gesture of decency, pulp writer Chetan Bhagat has expressed the intention of ceasing to write books. [DNA]
  • Vote for the 25 books that influenced world literature on WLT – on the list, Ambai’s In a Forest, a Deer; Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. [WLT]
  • Assamese writer Aruni Kashyap is interviewed by Khaleej Times, talks about living in the middle of armed occupation and insurgency in Assam: “We lived in this normalised sense of fear.” [Khaleej Times]
  • In TimeOut Mumbai, an interview with Bengali writer and translator, Arunava Sinha [TimeOut]
  • Ziya us Salaam on meeting Punjabi writer Ajeet Cour [The Hindu]
  • Abhijit Nikam has a library on wheels, in Pune. [Pune Mirror]
  • The Government of India’s e-Bhasha platform, which will develop Indic language content, will be rolled out in 2 months [Medianama]
  • Harper Collins has upped royalties for online books sales [HarperCollins]


  • Penguin Annual Lecture | November 12 | Mumbai | Poster [Dan Brown is such a bizarre choice]
  • Tata Lit Live | Mumbai | October 30-Nov 2nd | Event website
  • Q Fest | Mumbai | November 9 | Web page
  • Sharjah International Book Fair | Sharjah, UAE | November 5-15, 2014 | Gulf Today (lots of Indian writers will be there)
  • ‘Global Tulu Festival | December 12th, 2014 | Bangalore | The Hindu


The Week in Literature and Translation [18-25th September 2014]

New Books, Publications and Translations

Ghaus Siwani has published a set of Urdu translations of Persian poetry, Do Atisha (‘The Cocktail’). He leaves out Ghalib and Iqbal, but brings in a number of lesser-known poets, including Hafiz Shirazi, Urfi Shirazi, Sa’eb Tabrezi and Abdul Qadir Bedil.

The Kannada literature journal, Aniketana, is back. It used to be published by the Kannada Sahitya Akademi till about six years back, when it was discontinued. A new issue, with the theme, ‘Rural Consciousness in Kannada literature’ is out. The editors have also promised to bring out compilations to cover the six years when the journal was not in publication.

The Hindustani Academy, based in Allahabad, has begun to re-publish rare pre-Independence books in Hindi and Urdu. They’ve begun with a tract on Raja Bhog, by ‘Sameer’ (Ramagya Dwivedi), and will follow it up with ‘Awadh Kosh’ (1934) and ‘Prayag Pradeep’ (1937). The latter, by Shaligram Srivastava is a history of Awadh, and the former, a socio-geographical study of the region.

Mid-Day has published a fascinating account of ‘Dor Mhoineachi Rotti’ (Our Daily Bread), a Konkani journal for Jesuits that has been published since it was founded in 1915.

Sathya Saran has a new biography out (in Hindi) on the life of composer SD Burman, titled ‘Sun Mere Bandhu Re’ (Listen, my brother).

Poet and lyricist Gulzar has published a biography of Urdu poet Ghalib.

Amitav Ghosh has published, on his blog, his introduction to Vedica Kant’s book on India and WWI – ‘If I Die Here, Who Will Remember Me?’

Bengali translator Arunava Sinha often posts short English translations of Bengali fiction and poetry on his blog. If you’re not on the mailing list ,sign up at once!

Columns, Reviews and Criticism

Zac O’Yeah writes in Livemint on the rise in true crime accounts in India.

Jabeen Akhtar writes in the LARB on South Asian literature, and pandering to Western audiences. It met this comment:

Mahmood Awan on reading English translations of work by Punjabi poet Amarjit Chandan.

Dr Malini Goswami of Gauhati University spoke at an event on the continuing relevance of Ramayani literature, in Assam.

Poet and blogger Sridala Swami has a new column at The Daily O, titled ‘The Sideways Door’, which will focus on poetry. Let’s hope it means more Indian, and translated poetry, too.

Rohit Chopra at Scroll says more Indians are writing in English, and in a narrower range of sentiment and voice.

In Outlook, Smita Tewari Jassal reviews Navtej Sarna’s travelogue, ‘Indians at Herod’s Gate’ (in English).

Vikhar Ahmad Sayeed has a lovely obituary for UR Ananthamurthy, the Kannada writer who passed away recently, in Frontline.

Kuldeep Kumar reviews Rakshanda Jalil’s biography of Urdu writer Rashid Jahan.

Sunanda K Datta-Ray reviews David Omissi’s collection of WWI letters from Indian soldiers, many of which were translated from Urdu.

News: Awards, Events, Publishing, People

The Akkiraju Ramaiah Pantulua Award, for literature in Telugu, has been given to Chadlavada Lakshmi Narasimha Rao. The event also saw the release of a book of Telugu poetry by Dr.Akkiraju Sundara Ramakrishna.

The biggest prize for Punjabi literature, the Dhahan Award, has gone to Canada-based writer, Avtar Singh Billing for his  novel Khali Khoohaan di Katha (The Tale of Empty Wells).

Malayalam novelist C V Balakrishnan will receive the Padmaprabha literary award for his contributions to literature.

Hindi novelist Govind Mishra will receive the ‘Saraswati Samman’ award for his novel, ‘Dhool Paudhon Par’ (Dust on the Branches).

The World Sanskrit Conference will be hosted in Uttarakhand tomorrow (26th September 2014). 400 Indian Sanskrit scholars will be attending.

Arunima Mazumdar reports in Livemint on a new series of lectures in Delhi on Urdu writing, hosted by Rakshanda Jalil.

The University of Western Sydney has announced a program that will bring together First Nations (?)/Aboriginal writing from Australia and bhasha/Dalit literature from India.

In Bangalore, on September 28, there will be a performance of music and reading in honour of poet Amir Khusrau.

Nayyar Jahan Siddiqui, who wrote a seminal study of Urdu poetry Ahmad Faraz, will receive a posthumous honorary doctorate from Nagpur University.

SAARC plans to set up a massive digital library for literature from SAARC countries.

In Hyderabad, a troupe has been performing protest poetry in Hindi, by poet Sudama Panday Dhoomil.

Outlook’s gossip blog, Bibliofile, reports that Ravi Singh of Aleph Book Company will team up with FEEL Books to bring out a new imprint that may be called Flying Tiger (or Speaking Tiger). There aren’t any details on what this imprint will publish.

Marathi poet Shankar Vaidya passed away following an illness.

Playwright Girish Karnad is in court, following allegations of plagiarism by author Gopala Vajpayee. Apparently Karnad used a song written by Vajpayee in one of his plays, and failed to attribute or credit it.

The third edition of the Bangalore Lit Fest will begin next week. The sessions on Kannada literature look rather interesting.