Tag Archives: Nepali Literature

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 Shakti Bhatt Prize shortlist, 2014

The shortlist for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2014, has been released. The winner will be announced in November, 2014 and the award panel consists of Indian authors Amit Chaudhuri, Aatish Taseer and Mridula Koshy.

The Shakti Bhatt Prize was constituted in memory of editor and writer Shakti Bhatt, and consists of a cash award of Rs. 1,00,000. The initial announcement makes it clear that “Publications must be in English or translated into English from an Indian language.” (although, as is usual among the English-speaking literati in India, no reasons for this linguistic chauvinism are disclosed). The Prize was first awarded in 2008; on an inital skim through the shortlist, I can’t find a single book in translation that has been nominated.

The shortlist and a quick rundown follows:

  1. A Bad Character by Deepti Kapur (Random House/Penguin) – RH’s blurb describes this novel (written in English) as “A novel about female desire, A Bad Character shows us a Delhi we have not seen in fiction before: a city awash with violence, rage and corruption.” Prashansa Taneja reviewed it in the Guardian, praising it for being frank while regretting that “somewhere along the way it gets tangled in a web of cliches.” Other reviews here: Charlotte Runcie in The Telegraph, Rajvi Glasbrooke-Griffiths in the Wales Art Review, Faiza Khan at her blog, Gargi Gupta in DNA, and Somak Ghoshal in Livemint.
  2. The Scatter Here Is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer (Random House/HarperCollins) – Bilal Tanweer is a Pakistani writer, a faculty member at the LUMS college. This is again, a novel written in English. Claire Chambers’ review in the Dawn praises ‘glistening fragments’ of the novel while noting that “at times it appears too self-consciously straining to be literary.” Other reviews here: Evan Bartlett in The Independent, Jess Row in the New York Times, Hirsh Sawhney in The Guardian, Omair Ahmed in Time Out Delhi, Paromita Chakrabarti in the Indian Express.
  3. The Vanishing Act by Prawin Adhikari (Rupa) – Prawin Adhikari is a Nepali writer, and this, his debut collection of short stories was written in English and published in India. Thomas Bell’s review in Nepali literary journal La.Lit said it was “the work of a talented writer and a deeply serious and sensitive interrogator of modern Nepal.” The book has been on the longlist for the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Stories. Other reviews here: Melani P Kumar in the Deccan Herald, Sophia Pande in Nepali Times, Carol Andrade in Afternoon Despatch and Courier.
  4. a cool, dark place by Supriya Dravid (Random House India) – This is the only novel on the list that I’ve read, and frankly, I was surprised to see it here. Anita Roy was absolutely right when she wrote for Tehelka that the author tends to overwrite, and “uses five metaphors where one would do.” The book, nevertheless, has been on the longlist for the Tata Literature Live First Novel award. You can read an extract via IBNlive or Wall Street Journal India. Other reviews: Akhila Krishnamurthy in The Hindu, Vivek Tejuja in The New Indian Express, Parvati Sharma in the Hindustan Times.
  5. The Competent Authority by Shovon Chaudhury (Aleph Book Co) – This, in my view, is probably the strongest contender on  the list, with nearly uniformly good reviews. A sharp, satirical novel about Indian bureaucracy. Reviews: Jaya Bhattacharji Rose in The Hindu, Somak Ghoshal in LiveMint, Deepanjana Pal in First Post, Ajachi Chakrabarti in Tehelka.
  6. The Smoke is Rising by Mahesh Rao (Daunt Books and Random House India) – An interview with the author in Open Road Review (by Kulpreet Yadav) reveals that he began with the question of “what Malgudi would look like today” (an ambitious path, undoubtedly). Asawari Ghatage gave it a reasonably positive review in Time Out Delhi, but Somak Ghoshal at Livemint was more cautious, saying that it “remains a novel full of promise waiting to be seized, a failing that is not unusual with first novels.”