Tag Archives: Penguin India

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

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

NEW BOOKS, TRANSLATIONS AND WRITING

  • 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, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

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

Reviews

  • 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.

NEWS: AWARDS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHING, EVENTS

Awards

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

People

  • 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

Publishing

  • 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

Events

The Week in Literature and Translation [Jan 16-22, 2015]

NEW BOOKS, TRANSLATIONS AND WRITING

  • The North East Review has posted a bunch of new content for their Oct-Dec 2014 issue: G Brahmachari’s poem ‘Northern Summer‘, Rini Barman’s essay ‘Akash Banti‘ and Rumpa Das’ story, ‘Durga, Apu and the Train
  • Lizzie Jacob, who is the former Chief Secretary of Kerala, is also a translator, and will be publishing a Malayalam translation of Tagore’s (Bengali) poems.
  • Lots of news coverage for the Murty Classical Library, which was launched this past week in Delhi – Economic Times, The Hindu, Times HE (UK), Deccan Herald, Times of India, The New Indian Express,
  • Javier Moro’s unauthorised biography of Congress politician Sonia Gandhi was released amidst claims that the Congress tried to suppress the book (Reuters, NYT, Livemint). The book appears to be on Archive.org as well.
  • Munsif M Rajendran’s fictionalised history of six generations of women in his family has been released.
  • N Kalyan Raman has posted translations in English of two poems by Tamil writer Salma
  • Anita Agnihotri’s short story collection ’17’ is new to Kindle this week, available here
  • A list of 13 Indian authors whose works entered the public domain in 2015.

COLUMNS, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

Columns and Articles

  • Ruth Vanita on the history of queer literature in India, and particularly, pre-colonial Lucknow
  • Nilanjana Roy’s lists: Books she enjoyed in 2014, and books to look forward to in 2015.
  • Sudeep Sen’s list of poetry books to look out for in 2015
  • Shamik Bag on the evolution of the Bengali detective and Calcutta noir.
  • The history of Higgin Bothams, one of Bengaluru’s oldest bookstores
  • ‘Angaarey’ challenged dominant Muslim narratives, transformed literature, says Raza Naeem in Lahore
  • JN Sinha has a lovely essay in Frontline on the endurance of Saratchandra Chatterjee’s novel, Devdas

Reviews

  • Sravasti Roy on Janice Pariat’s novel, Seahorse in The Hindu (Two descriptive paragraphs and an author’s quote are apparently what pass for a review these days)
  • Urmi Chanda Vaz reviews Rabisankar Bal’s A Mirrored Life, translatd from Bengali to English by ArunavaSinha
  • Pratik Kanjilal reviews David Davidar’s edited collection of short stories from India
  • Milind Bokil’s Marathi novel, Shala, translated by Vikrant Pande to English is reviewed by Prema Nandakumar
  • Two recent reviews of AK Mehrotra’s Collected Poems (2014) – in Daily Star by Manu Dash, and in Mid-Day by Lindsay Pereira.
  • Rini Barman reviews Maitreyee B Chowdhury’s collection of poetry on Benares for Himal Southasian
  • Tunku Varadarajan’s review essay is a good introduction to the new Murty Classical Library for OPEN
  • Arshia Sattar reviews Anita Anand’s biography of feminist icon Princess Sophia Duleep Singh for OPEN
  • Rajni George reviews Raj Kamal Jha’s novel, She Will Build Him A City for OPEN
  • Shreya Sethuraman has a list of six Indian crime fiction writers to read.  Unfortunately, one’s English, one’s Swedish and one writes non-fiction. Nevertheless.

NEWS: AWARDS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHING, EVENTS

Awards

  • Lisa Hill’s shadow jury for the DSC Prize picked The Mirror of Beauty by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, we’re still waiting for the actual jury to announce its choice.
  • Toto Funds the Arts, a trust set up in memoriam of Angirus ‘Toto’ Vellani (who died far too young), announced its annual English and Kannada awards for literature, theatre and music.
  • Mukti Deb Choudhury wins this year’s Leelarai Smriti Puraskar for her translations from Assamese to Bengali and back

People

  • For GQ, Nidhi Gupta in conversation with Amit Chaudhuri
  • Aatish Taseer talks to Chandrima Das of the Ahmedabad Mirror, about his book, The Way Things Were
  • Indian cartoonist RK Laxman is critically ill, here’s hoping for a quick and complete recovery.
  • A report on a planned biopic of Kannada writer Devanuru Mahadeva
  • Nataraja Huliyar, Kannada critic, says there have been no great women Kannada playwrights because they don’t “approach” Shakespeare.
  • Poet CP Surendran on his new book: Poetry is an inward journey, but a novel moves outward

Publishing and Industry

  • 21 non-official members of Maharashtra’s Urdu Sahitya Sabha were sacked by the new government.
  • Nivedita Padmanabhan talks about Pustaka Portal, and on publishing ebooks for non-English languages in India.
  • In that vein, an article from The Hindu talks about how Indian publishers are shifting their focus to digital publishing.
  • Kapil Isapuri is suing the makers of the film ‘PK’, claiming that they plagiarised his book ‘Farishta’ (Angel)
  • The Kannada Book Authority has sought a Rs. 10 crore grant from the Karnataka State Government for the next year. Good luck to them.
  • The biggest publishing story this week, of course, has been about Ravi Singh, who used to be at Penguin India and later Aleph Book Co. He quit the latter, reportedly, over their decision to withdraw Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus, after political pressure. He is now setting up his own publishing firm, called ‘Speaking Tiger’.
  • The Perumal Madhavan book ban issue has gone to court. Let’s hope for a positive outcome!
  • OUP editor Mini Krishnan talks about why she publishes translations
  • Rupa Publications announced a new business imprint, Maven.
  • Another one of those digital-publishing-is-killing-print-publishing-stories. This time, for Hindi fiction.

Events

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 19-25, 2014]

NEW BOOKS, TRANSLATIONS AND WRITING

  • 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, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

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.

Reviews.

  • 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
 NEWS: AWARDS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHING, EVENTS

Awards

  • 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

People

  • 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

Publishing

  • 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

Events

  • 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 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.”