Telugu writer Turaga Janaki Rani passed away on October 16, 2014, at the age of 80 years. The only English-language newspaper to report it was, of course, The Hindu – a short obituary is here.
In addition to being a well-known writer, she was also a radio artist with the All India Radio and was nicknamed “Radio Akkaya” . She won an award from them for being the best broadcasting artist in 1991 and 1992, and hosted a popular programme for children called Balanandan.
She was from a family known for writing – her grandfather was Telugu writer Gudipati Venkatachalam (known as “Chalam”) and a collection of letters between them titled “Maa Tatayya Chalam” (My Grandfather Chalam) is available for download here (in Telugu).
She was also close friends with two other noted Telugu women writers – Ramadevi, and Abburi Chaya Devi. The latter writes a little, about their childhood together, in a book called Women Writing in India, edited by Susie Tharu and K Lalita for the Feminist Press.
In an interview with Malathi Nidadovulu in 2002, she said that in addition to writing she translated works from English to Telugu as well – translations of stories by JB Priestley and O’Henry, in particular, that were published in a magazine called Telgugu Swatantra. As a translator for childrens’ books for Pratham Publications, she won an award in 2011 from the Bala Sahitya Parishat in Hyderabad.
Very few of her writings are available in English translation. I’m listing the few that I could find below.
- A short story titled ‘Yaatra’ (Journey) was included in 1947 Santoshabad and Other Stories, a collection of short stories edited by T Krishnamurthi and T Dasu. It was also included in Gold Nuggets, Selected Post-Independence Telugu Short Stories edited edited by Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, C. Vijayasree and published by the Sahitya Akademi.
- Another story, ‘Mother of the World’ was included in Women Rebels : Telugu Feminist short stories, edited by K. Indrasena Reddy; J. Vijaya Gowri; P. Jayanthi.