Tag Archives: KR Meera

2014 : Indian writing in English Translation

I tweeted a tentative list earlier today, and I’m just putting it all in one place here. Let me know what I’ve missed. This is not an exhaustive list, just the ones that I found noteworthy.

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 [October 17th to 23rd, 2014]


  • I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai, has been translated into Kannada by journalist B S Jayaprakasha Narayana
  • An excerpt from Iqbal by Zafar Anjum, a forthcoming biography of the Urdu writer and poet (Random House India, 2014)
  • On Scroll, listen to three audio renditions of Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s work.
  • The Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association have launched a new magazine Leap+. See the first issue here.
  • Via La.Lit, an excerpt from the English translation of Nepali writer Khagendra Sangroula’s memoir.
  • Watch Sita Sings the Blues, the Ramayana from Sita’s perspective, on Youtube.
  • Arunava Sinha’s translation of Bani Basu’s The Fifth Man appears to be ready.
  • Caravan has published translations of Telugu poetry by Siva Reddy, Ismail and Varavara Rao, by Raj Karamchedu, and English poetry by Saroj Bal.
  • Ashok Mitra’s Calcutta Diary, a collection of essays on living in Calcutta, has been republished by Routledge.


Columns and Articles

  • Where were the non-English Indian books at the Frankfurt Book Fair, ask Geraldine Rose and Sridhar Gowda (Bangalore Mirror). A fair question, that ends up, unfortunately in hankering over the lack of an Indian winner for the Nobel again.
  • Lalitha J has a listicle of libraries in Chennai.
  • Kuldeep Kumar in The Hindu on lesbian literature in Hindi.
  • An interview with Tamil Indian-origin poet, KTM Iqbal, who won the Singapore Medallion for Culture last week.
  • Meena Menon on visiting Urdu poet Ghalib’s home, in Ballimaran.
  • Mythily Ramachandran on the emerging Little Free Library movement in India.
  • Vikram Barhat for BBC on locating and selling rare Indian books.
  • Thakur writes about the importance of new English writing on Nepal, in an op-ed for E-Kantipura.
  • Bhavani Raman in the latest Economic and Political Weekly reviews a new history of classical Tamil literature by V Rajesh.
  • Kuldeep Kumar in the Hindu writes about LGBTQ representations in Hindi literature.
  • Snigdha Poonam writes on the rise of MBA graduates publishing novels in India.


  • Eunice D’Souza reviews Ashok Srinivasan’s collection of short stories, Book of Common Signs (Fourth Estate 2014) in the Bangalore Mirror. “..Srinivasan lets himself down by turning out the usual treacle.”
  • SB Easwaran in Outlook is all praise for the new Penguin India reprints of Raja Rao’s novels and works.Zafar Anjum writes about the debt that Indian literature in English owes to Raja Rao’s Kanthapura.
  • Paromita Vohra reviews Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend.



  • The Language Committee of the Wikipedia Foundation has endorsed the project for a Maithili Wikipedia.
  • Dr Tarannum Riyaz, noted critic and poet, has been awarded the SAARC literary award, 2014.
  • The longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2015 has been announced.
  • The shortlists for the Tata Literature Live awards for best first book (fiction and non-fiction), book of the year (fiction and non-fiction), and business book have been announced.
  • The Samanvay Bhasha Samman for this year will be awarded to Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi.
  • Mandharke Madhava Pai has won the Basti Vaman Shenoy Vishwa Konkani Seva Award for services to the Konkani language and for translations.
  • Publishing houses in India have formed three associations to tackle predatory pricing by Amazon and Flipkart. Malavika Velayanikal has an overview.
  • Wikisource has launched a new open access platform for Odia.
  • The Odia poet Ramakant Rath is among 13 other persons who were recognised by the Odisha government for their contribution to the Odia people.


  • Telugu writer and radio artist Turaga Janaki Ammal passed away. She was 80 years old. We havean obit with some resources and translations.
  • Tamil writer Rajam Krishnan passed away. She was 90 years old. We have an obituary and links to some of her works.


  • The schedule for the best litfest that India has – Samanvay is out. It is one of the few festivals that will cover literature from all over the country, and not just in English.
  • Punjabi University in collaboration with Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, organised a two-day seminar on “100 years of Punjabi theatre”, dedicated to noted playwright and director Balwant Gargi
  • News reports from the ongoing International Urdu Festival, in Karachi – The Express Tribune, The News, Dawn,
  • News reports from the Urdu Drama Festival in Delhi – The Hindu.
  • The Chandigarh Lit Fest is revising its format to have seminar-type sessions
  • Moscow hosted a Hindi conference last week.


  • An interview with Ranjit Hoskote on Hyderabad, and poetry.
  • An interview with Vijay Seshadri, who won the Pulitzer for poetry.

The Week in Literature and Translation [October 9th to 16th, 2014]

New Books, Publications and Translations

Mustansir Dalvi has posted new translations of three poems by Marathi poet Narayan Gangadhar Surve.

Pustak Publications has a new website selling e-books in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Authors already up there include Indira Soundarrajan, Pattukottai Prabhakar, Yandamoori Veerendranath, Neela Padmanabhan, and others.

Satti Khanna’s translation of Vinod Kumar Shukla’s Once it Flowers has been published by Harper Perennials.

A new issue of the North East Review is out.

A trilingual lexicon on 12th century vachana literature in Kannada has been published by the Basavatatva Prachara and Samshodhana Kendra.

A collection of prefaces and introductions written by U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer is to be published.

Gujarat University’s Nirmal Granth Board will be publishing fourtranslations of Kalidasa’s Sanskrit epic, Meghduta (The Cloud Messenger) [English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati] Also, a reminder that Mani Rao’s new translation of Kalidasa’s works, to English, from Aleph will be out this year. She talks about it here.

Bina Biswas has published a new translation of poems by Nasir Ahmad Naseer, titled A Man Outside History.

The Tamil Virtual Academy plans an online wiki for Tamil culture and arts. It’s going to be more wiki than Wikipedia.

Akshay Manwani launched his book on lyricist and poet Sahir Ludhianvi (HarperCollins)

Calls for Submissions / Papers

CFP: Via Kitaab, South Asian Popular Culture, a journal published by T&F is asking for submissions on ‘Graphic novels and visual cultures in India’. Deadline: 14.11.2014

Columns, Reviews, Articles

Ace translator Arunava Sinha was interviewed – he talks about translation, about judging the Hindu Prize and food.

S Ravi reviews Anurag Anand’s The Legend of Amrapali (English) in the Hindu.

Anita Nair reviews J Devika’s translation of KR Meera’s The Hangwoman, in Outlook.

An anonymous column on the endurance of the Sindhi short story.

Malayalam novelist Sethu argues that the lack of experience of war or other major events results in Indian writers focusing on personal tragedies alone. This, Sethu argues forces them to “harp on personal sorrows”. Seems a specious claim to me.

In the wake of India’s mission to Mars, Deepanjana Pal has this fun post on Bengali science fiction.

Mani Rao on her translation of Kalidasa (from the Sanskrit) and the art of translation, generally.

Prakash Belawadi suggests that Kannada writers are officially privileged over all others in Karnataka, and Chandan Gowda responds, saying that’s an absurd claim (they’re ‘societally privileged’). They also debate the Bhyrappa-URA-Karnad spat.

News: Awards, Events, People, Publishers

Cyclone Hudhud has been wrecking parts of the country. One of the worst hit states is Andhra Pradesh, has suffered great losses to lives, livelihoods and property, and now also its historical archives. You can contribute to relief for the victims by going here.

Cyrus Mistry talks about winning the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and his novels, in The Hindu.

A report by Leonard Fernandes on the fantastic Publishing Next conference that was held in Goa last month.

Yet another litfest – this one in Mumbai, and reportedly, with a focus on Indian authors. I’m not sure about whether this means authors writing in English alone; hopefully not. Mumbai’s other major lit fest, Tata Lit Live, will take place from October 30 to November 2nd. More interesting than either of these is Queer Ink’s new Safe Spaces festival (Q Fest).

Comic-Con Hyderabad begins on October 10.

Five poets have been shortlisted for the Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize this year: Sridala Swami (Escape Artist), Ranjit Hoskote (Central Time); Arundhathi Subramaniam (When God is a Traveller); Keki N Daruwalla (Fire Altar) and Joy Goswami (Selected Poems, translated by Sampurna Chatterji).

Sandeep Balakrishna writes about the Girish Karnad-URA spat.

The Jibananda Puroshkar 2014, in honour of Jibananda Das and awarded for Bengali writing, was given to Imtiar Shamim for prose and Khaled Hossain for poetry, this year.

Karnataka plans a massive convention in April or May next year – representatives from all literary academies/ peethas will be there, including the Karnataka Tulu, Konkani, Kodava and Beary Academies.

The Urdu drama festival will start on Monday next week, and will feature two Urdu writers specifically:  Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Begum Qudsia Zaidi.

The 7th International Urdu Conference begins in Pakistan today, and atleast four Indian poets are participating.

There has been much angst and reflection on the fact that Indian-born Neel Mukherjee didn’t win the Booker this year.

K T M Iqba, an Indian-origin Singaporean who writes in Tamil, has won Singapore’s Cultural Medallion this year.

Free Speech and Censorship

The anti-caste Forward Press has been raided by the Delhi police for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments (this is a penal offence) of Hindus by retelling a mythological story. You can read the issue here. Dalit publisher Navayana has also issued a statement.