Tag Archives: Sahitya Akademi

The Week In Literature and Translation [Jan 23-29, 2015]

NEW BOOKS, TRANSLATIONS AND WRITING

  • DD Kosambi’s seminal An Introduction to the Study of Indian History has been translated to Telugu.
  • Prajwal Parajuly’s ‘The Gurkha’s Daughter’ has been translated into Nepali
  • Poet Javed Akhtar has translated 8 Tagore songs to Hindi; to be sung by Sangeeta Dutt
  • After some drama, Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore has been translated to Bengali.
  • A new website on Kannada poet Kanakdasa contains vast amounts of material in English and Kannada
  • Watch Navayana’s Annual Lecture, delivered by Aboriginal writer Ali Cobby Eckermann
  • Two works by historian and author S Settar have been translated to Kannada – Inviting Death and Pursuing Death
  • The Konkani Bhasha Mandal has released a pettul (treasure trove) of children’s writing in Konkani.
  • Speaking Tiger Books has their lineup and website running!

COLUMNS, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

Columns and Articles

  • Arunima Mazumdar in Livemint says festivals are giving children’s storytelling a boost.
  • Here’s an excellent reference list of contemporary Hindi poets to follow, prepared by Ranjeet Pratap Singh (of Pratilipi, where you can read most of these poets).
  • Pratilipi, an online archive of Indian writing in several languages, has posted an interesting user analysis for 2014  (“Less than 25% of our visitors are female but just like our older readers, they visit more often (35%), and read significantly more (37%)”)
  • Irfan Mehraj writes in the Kashmir Dispatch on radical Kashmiri poet Kashmiri poet Abdul Ahad Azad (What is life but the book of change?/ Change – more change – and yet more change!)
  • TCA Srinivasa-Raghavan rants here about the vulgarity of literature awards and festivals and recommends supporting libraries instead
  • Min Pun has a fascinating column on the debate surrounding the inclusion of English writers in the Nepali canon.
  • Jash Sen on the evolution of Bengali detective Byomkesh Bakshi, from Bandopadhyay’s novels to Bollywood
  • Here’s Anuradha Sengupta’s literary guide to Kolkata.
  • Vikas Datta on politically incorrect satire in Urdu poetry

Reviews

  • Reviews of Anita Anand’s new biography of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh are floating in – here’s Navtej Sarna for India Today, William O’Connor for The Daily Beast,
  • Gargi Gupta reviews Mirza Waheed’s The Book of Gold Leaves for DNA.
  • Are techie writers graduating from sordid romances? Here’s a review of Jaimeet Patel’s An Exceptional Case.
  • T.D. Ramakrishnan’s new Malayalam novel is inspired by rights activist and feminist Dr. Rajani Thiranagama

NEWS: AWARDS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHING, EVENTS

Awards

  • Arundhati Subramaniam won the inaugural Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize for Poetry – here are nine poems from her book, When God is  a Traveller.
  • British writer Ahmad Lunat wins the Gujarat Darpan Award for Ajaanya – “Strangers” (short stories)
  • Disappointed that Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland won the DSC Prize. Ok, you disagree. This is my opinion.
  • Vishnunarayanan Namboothiri won the the Ezhuthachan Prize 2014 f

People

  • Beloved Indian artist, RK Laxman, who drew fantastic political cartoons, passed away.
  • Veteran Marathi writer MD Hatkananglekar passed away at 89
  • Former Union Minister, teacher and translator Sarojini Mahishi passes away at 88
  • Kannada writer writer S. M. Vrushabhendra Swamy passes away at 88.
  •  Dr Jose Pereira, Sanskrit scholar, historian, musicologist, writer, linguist and artist, passes away at 84.
  • Bengaluru celebrated the centenary of Kannada poet KS Narasimhaswamy, famous for his 1942 collection of poems, Mysore Mallige.
  • Ruskin Bond says, I’m a writer because I am a reader.

Publishing / Industry news

  • Navayana is offering a special discount on their beautiful graphic novel based on Ambedkar’s life, written by publisher S Anand and Srividya Natarajan and illustrated beautifully by Gond artists Durgabai and Subhash Vyam.
  • HarperCollins publisher Karthika VK talked to HT about censorship and publishing in India. Nothing new here.
  • Support is pouring in from the writing community for Perumal Murugan – from Salem in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore , and Ongole in AP.  Author Anita Nair made a statement, too.  Arun Janardhan, who went to Namakkal (where Murugan lives) has a story from the local people. Harish Nambiar blames the author for not standing up to critics. Overall I would recommend this essay by V Geetha on the entire controversy.
  • Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW), University of Delhi, has set up a new translation centre
  • An attempt to edit Kuvempu’s poem ‘Nada Geethe’ meets with protesting schoolkids.

Events

* edited to correct the description of Pratilipi (it’s not just for Hindi writing) and to add the TimesLitFest Bengaluru in events.

The Week in Literature and Translation [Jan 9-15, 2015]

 

NEW BOOKS, TRANSLATIONS AND WRITING

  • Classical singer Soma Ghosh will sing Meena Kumari’s poetry
  • A new quarterly Nepali lit mag will begin publishing, this April
  • I’m looking forward to Pascal Zynck’s translation of Bangladeshi writer Selina Hussain’s Hangor, Nodi, Grenade. This was one of Satyajit Ray’s favourite stories.
  • I came across a fun historical serialised account of the history of Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands, by historian Francis Xavier Neelam, in the Andaman Sheekha.
  • Arunava Sinha posted a translation of Tunnu’s Computer – a poem by Debarati Mitra
  • Listen to Zia Mohyeddin, Pakistan’s grand man of stage and screen, recite Faiz and Manto
  • A new commentary on Ghalib’s rejected verses:emotion & its expression
  • Prajwal Parajuly’s The Gurkha’s Daughter, published in 2013 will get a Nepali translation this week, published by Nepalaya.

COLUMNS, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

Columns and Articles

  • Via P Sainath’s fantastic rural reporting venture, the PARI network, here’s an account of P.V. Chinnathambi library: “in the middle of the forested wilderness of Kerala’s Idukki district, the library’s 160-books — all classics — are regularly borrowed, read, and returned by poor, Muthavan adivasis.”
  • Charles Chasie’s article documents the history of Nagaland through its rich literary traditions
  • Marcy Newman, American literature teacher, is surprised at the lack of Indian lit in school syllabi
  • Reports from a seminar that touched on ‘protest poetry’ in Kashmir
  • India Spend explains why Indians are losing out on Libraries (by Subadra Ramakrishnan)
  • A year after fierce Marathi poet Namdeo Dhasal died, the storms continue to rage

Reviews

  • Khalid Fayaz Mir’s review of Mirza Waheed’s The Book of Gold Leaves praises its quality of huzn or melancholy.

NEWS: AWARDS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHING, EVENTS

Awards

  • The Sahitya Akademi has finally announced the 2014 Sanskrit award: Prabhu Nath Dwivedi for “Kanakalochanaha”. Here’s a quick overview of the awards and profiles of the winners, for 2014: Parts I and II.
  • This year’s TOTO awards for creative writing were announced: for English, Kaushik Viswanath from Chennai and Mohit Parikh from Jaipur, and for Kannada, Moulya M. from Mysore.
  • Telugu novelist Dr. Adharapurapu Tejovathy was selected for the Spoorthi Award.
  • Here’s the list of winners for the Konkani Sahitya Akademi awards.
  • In Kashmir, a new annual award “Sharf-e-Nadim” has been instituted for the best Na’atkhawan poet of the state in honour of Abdul AhadNadim
  • Submissions For 2015 Dhahan Prize For Punjabi Literature are now open
  • The Tulu Sahitya Akademi awards were announced, and amongst the winners is centenarian and folklorist Gerthila Devu Poojary
  • Hindi writer Kamal Kishore Goyanka was selected for the Vyas Samman award.
  • Iqbal Sayeedi won the Mathias Family Kavita Puraskar 2014.

People

  • Tamil writer Perumal Murugan says he won’t write anymore, withdraws his books after protests from right-wing groups and casteist bodies. Outrageous. #NaanPerumalMurugan
  • Ramesh Chandra Shah, this year’s Sahitya Akademi winner for Hindi, on his inspirations
  • Gopal Das “Neeraj”, poet and songwriter, turns 90
  • Yese Dorji Thongshi, Assamese poet, says “literature is only way to strengthen brotherhood among the people”
  • An obituary for feminist, critic, writer and professor JasodharaBagchi
  • This article calls Suryadevara Rammohan Rao “Telugu’s Paulo Coelho”
  • Urdu poet Pirzada Ashique Keranvi died at the age of 80.

Publishing

  • Will Amazon Prime come to India later this year?
  • What is the reason behind low ebook sales in India? Is it the lack of price differentials with print books?Publishers explain.
  • The Kannada Book Authority plans to revive the ‘reading culture’ by constituting book clubs in schools
  • The Centre constituted a High Level Committee to survey and collect data related to the present status of Urdu
  • Notes on the designing of the Murty Classical Library (rose and gold)
  • Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy donated 280 Konkani books worth Rs 26,500 to Mangalore University
  • Is digital publishing destroying the Hindi pulp novel?
  • The District Administration in Belagavi, Maharashtra, wants to ban this play.
  • A new Telugu e-book store, already has 300 e-books for free
  • Tired of waiting for govt funds, this Marathi literature academy  will raise money independently.
  • In Shahdara, Gautam Book Centre, a bookshop devoted to Dalit literature, soldiers on
  • Surendra Mohan Pathak’s Hindi novel Colaba Conspiracy was India’s most popular book last year.
  • Ahmedabad’s MJ library plans to publish ten popular Gujarati novels as ebooks.
  • Snigdha Poonam lists five Hindi books to look out for, this year

Events

  • The 2nd edition of a two-day children’s literary carnival begins Friday at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
  • The Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF)  2015 will be held from January 23 to 26,
  • The third World Telugu Writers’ Convention will be held in Vijaywada on February 21- 22
  • The eighth All-India Urdu Book Fair in Kolkata, Jan 9
  • At Stella Maris, a seminar on Telugu women writers evaluates their contributions
  • A report from the 3rd edition of Kavita Fest, in Barkur, Karnataka
  • Remember when Kashmir’s litfest, Harud, was cancelled? It’s back.

The 2014 Sahitya Akademi Awards – Part II

The Sahitya Akademi Awards are awards for literature, presented annually for 24 languages in India. The Sahitya Akademi is a government funded and run national academy of letters. The 2014 awards were presented in December, and this is a brief run down of the winners, organised by language, with links to online content, translations and news. Part I covered Assamese to Maithili, and this part covers awards for Malayalam to Urdu.

MALAYALAM

Subhash Chandran, Manushyanu Oru Aamukham (Novel, DC Books): Subhash Chandran writes short stories and novels in Malayalam. He’s a journalist by profession.  Manushyanu Oru Aamukhampublished in 2009, has been tremendously well-received – it has already won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Odakkuzhal award, as well as the Bhasha Institute’s Basheer Puraskaaram and Kovilan Puraskaaram in 2012. The book, like non-English literature often is, was serialised  in the Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi  before DC Books published it. In a reflection on the national obsession with the purported wisdom of old men, he is often described as a ‘young’ writer (he’s 42). Chandran is part of a group of excellent young Malayalam writers, including the incredible KR Meera (whose Hangwoman/Aarachar ought to have been a contender!)

  • Books: Buy Manushya Oru Aamukham (in Malayalam) at DC Books, and his other books (in Malayalam) at the Indulekha online bookstore. A translation has not been published as yet.
  • Links: Read his first story in English, ‘America!’ in Caravan.
  • Coverage: In the Malayalam press, I expect (I don’t know the language at all, so no links, I’m afraid) but some English coverage too – Madhyamam, Times of India.

MANIPURI/MEETEI

Naorem Bidyasagar, Khung-Gang Amasung Refugee (poetry Cultural Forum Manipur, 2011): the Manipuri award was announced a little after the remaining awards. Bidyasagar is a lecturer at GC College, Silchar, in Assam, where he teaches Manipuri. The book itself is a collection of poems that “deal with the problem of insurgency in Manipur, the socio-economic and contemporary problems being faced by the people of the neighbouring state.”

MARATHI

Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, Chaar Nagarantale Maaze Viswa (autobiography): Jayant Narlikar is an astrophysicist, very well reputed, and has previously won two of India’s highest civilian honours for contributions to science. In an elegant twist, he has turned his hand recently to writing science fiction in Marathi, some of which has been translated into English. He initially wrote under a pseudonym (“N.V. Jagtap”) for Marathi magazines, and won the annual Marathi Vidnyan Competition for his story ‘Krishna Vivar’. He’s won the SA this year however, for his autobiography, which is still available only in Marathi. It details his life in four cities: Varanasi, Cambridge, Mumbai and Pune. (If you have kids who use the Hornbill English texts, you’ll find his name familiar: the story ‘Adventure’ in the Class XI book is by him).

NEPALI

Nanda Hankhim, Satta Grahan (Short Stories): Nanda Hankhim is very well known in Nepali literature circles, and has previously won a bunch of prizes: the Nepali Sahitya Sansthan Puruskar, Ratnashree Puruskar, Bhanu Bhakta Puraskar (he apparently returned this last one), etc. He writes for both, adults and children, and his works include novels, stories, poetry and plays. I can’t find links to books or translations online. I hope we’ll see some soon.

ODIA

Gopalkrushna Rath, Bipula Diganta (Poetry): Rath has previously won the state Odisha Sahitya Akademi award for 2003-04. He’s currently a member of the Akademi’s General Council.

PUNJABI

Jaswinder, Agarbatti (Poetry, Chetna Parkashan, 2011): Jaswinder Singh is apparently a former Naxalite whose first collection of ghazals (lyric poetry, rhyming couplets with a refrain) was published by contributions from his former colleagues. The ghazal has traditionally been in Urdu, but some say that this award means increasing recognition for the ghazal in Punjabi. Singh is now an engineer, posted with the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant in Ropar and has published six volumes of poetry thus far. He says, himself, that “Earlier, I wrote progressive poetry that was called “Jujharu Kavita” (revolutionary poetry)…..“After reading the poetry of Jagtar, Misha and Surjit Pattar, I became inclined to write ghazals,”

RAJASTHANI

Rampal Singh Rajpurohit, Sundar Nain Sudha (Short Stories): There’s nothing (atleast, in the English and Hindi media) that I can find on the writer or the book.

SANTALI

Jamadar Kisku, Mala Mudam (Play): Not much available. Here’s a link to Mala Mudam.

SINDHI

Gope ‘Kamal’, Sija Agyaan Buku (Poetry): Gope Daryani, who writes as ‘Kamal’ is from Uttar Pradesh, apparently now settled in Dubai. He writes short stories, poetry and novels, and has previously won a Sindhi literature award for his collection of ghazals, Sijja Agyaan Buku (Sooraj ke Aage Oak). He’s also won the Central Hindi Directorate Award in 1980 (for writing in Sindhi)

  • Books:-
  • Links: Here’s an English translation by Param Abhichandani, of a story by Kamal titled, ‘Search for Blood’
  • Coverage: –

TAMIL

Poomani, Agngnaadi (Novel): ‘Poomani‘ is the nom de plume of Tamil writer Pooliththurai Manickavasagam. He was born and lives in Kovilpatti. The winning novel was published in 2012 to acclaim: it’s a massive 1,200 page tome that describes the lives of a family over several generations, spanning 200 years, detailing, in particular, caste-related riots. He’s won the first Gitanjali Literary Award for it. A detailed profile in Caravan by N Kalyan Raman says that the research that went into this novel was made possible through a grant by the Indian Foundation of the Arts in Bengaluru. Raman’s essay is a good introduction to the novel and to the author and will simply have to do until someone finds the courage to publish a translation. (TNIE has predictably called it a ‘subaltern saga‘ . Poomani refuses to be identified as a ‘Dalit’ writer

TELUGU

Rachapalem Chandrashekara Reddy, Mana Navalalu Mana Kathanikalu (Literary Criticism): RC Reddy is a Telugu writer and teacher,. He’s Professor for Telugu at the Yogi Vemana University, in Kadapa. He’s previously won awards for his critical writing on Telugu literature, but his views on this are clear: he said in an interview with The Hindu that “literature should have an ideological base” and that he does not believe in art for art’s sake. He has previously edited eight volumes of Dalit literature in Telugu, along with Lakshmi Narasaiah.
  • Books: There’s a bunch of books available, in Telugu, here and here.
  • Coverage: Naturally the Telugu press is on it (my knowledge of the language is limited to some conversational phrases and some very rude words) but The Hindu has this interview.
Munawwar Rana, Shahdaba (Poetry): Munawwar Rana is that rare and lovely thing: an Indian writer, who doesn’t write in English, and yet has an active web presence. This twitter feed, either maintained by or for him, often contains couplets of poetry, including a rather charming thank you to all those who congratulated him on the award. (He also did a Google Hangout on Dec 25). Rana has explained why he writes in Urdu (although he’s as comfortable in Hindi, being from Uttar Pradesh) -“The simple thought of discrimination. The day this word was born Urdu lost its stature. It was never the language of Muslims. It was the language of the common people.” If you understand Hindi/ Urdu, this interview with Ravish Kumar of NDTV is well worth your time.
  • Books: His publications page on his website.
  • Links: Here‘s a large number of ghazals (in Devnagari script – mostly in Urdu, I think) and in Roman script here.
  • Coverage: Plenty (apart from his own) -in English:  Hindustan Times,  and in Hindi: Nai Duniya, plus a link to all the coverage on his facebook page.

The 2014 Sahitya Akademi Awards – Part I

ABOUT THE SAHITYA AKADEMI AWARDS:

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.

ASSAMESE

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,

BENGALI

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.

BODO

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”

DOGRI

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.

GUJARATI

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: –

ENGLISH

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.

HINDI

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.

KANNADA

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,”

KASHMIRI

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.

KONKANI

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

MAITHILI

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]

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 Week in Literature and Translation [30 October to 6 November, 2014]

NEW BOOKS, TRANSLATIONS AND WRITING

  • Tarquin Hall’s The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing, the second book about Indian detective Vish Puri, is out in paperback. [Amazon]
  • Two books by Mahasweta Devi will be out in new editions (paperback) in November – Breast Stories [Amazon] and Old Women [Amazon]
  • Mirza Waheed’s The Book of Gold Leaves was released [Penguin] [Flipkart – pre order]
  • Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s The Sun that Rose from the Earth was released [Flipkart – preorder]
  • Aatish Taseer’s The Way Things Were is up for pre-order (releasing December 2014) [Flipkart]
  • Janice Pariat’s Seahorse is up for pre-order (releasing end November, 2014) [Flipkart]
  • Sandeep Balakrishna’s translation of SL Bhyrappa’s Kannada novel, Aavarana, is now available as an e-book [Flipkart]
  • Teresa’s Man and Other Stories from Goa, a selection of short stories by, Damodar Mauzo, have been compiled and translated by Xavier Cota. [Rupa]
  • Amit Chaudhuri’s edited volume of poems by AK Mehrotra, is out and includes Mehrotra’s translations of poems from the Hindi, Gujarati, Prakrit and Bengali [Penguin]
  • Some of Pablo Neruda’s poetry for children has been translated into Hindi, Bengali and Marathi, for schoolchildren in India. [Latin American Herald Tribune]
  • Amandeep Sandhu’s novel, Roll of Honour [Author’s site] has been translated into Punjabi, and the translation was released at the Chandigarh Lit Fest. [HT]
  • Konkani writer Dr. Madhukar Joshi’s novel, Kodai Kosu, has been translated to English by Neeraja Vaidhya, as Inside Mortar and Pestle [ToI]
  • Arunava Sinha, endlessly prolific, has a new translation of Bengali poet Amiya Chakravarti’s poem, The Exchange [his website]
  • A new issue of Muse India is out, this one in honour of Kannada writer UR Ananthamurthy, who recently died. [Muse India]
  • Jane D’Suza’s book for children, Super Zero is out [The Hindu]
  • Transgender rights activist Revathi has publisher her autobiography [The Hindu]
  • Poile Sengupta has released her first novel, Inga, after several childrens’ books. [The Hindu]
  • Vikrant Dadawala’s blog contains some translations of Hindi poetry. See, for instance, his translation of ‘Salt’ by Kedarnath Singh. [Link]
  • Karnataka has two new Kannada magazines – one devoted to issues faced by the LGBT community (The Hindu) and another focusing on music (The Hindu)
  • Cartoonist Paul Fernandes has a new book on Bangalore’s days past, titled, Swinging in the Sixties [The Hindu]

COLUMNS, REVIEWS AND ARTICLES

Columns and Articles

  • Karthik Subramaniam in The Hindu says Tamil blogging is thriving, as English blogging declines [The Hindu]
  • Dilip Menon has a lovely essay in Caravan on Malayalam writer KR Meera [Caravan]

Reviews

  • Monojit Majumdar, a former member of the O.S.L.A. (One Sided Lovers’ Assocation) reviews Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend and finds it ”
    mediocre, simplistic and clichéd.” [Indian Express] Manavi Kapur in her review described it as ‘average’ [Business Standard]
  • Mirza Waheed’s new book, The Book of Gold Leaves, has been reviewed this last week – The Guardian,
  • Reviews of Zafar Anjum’s biography of Urdu poet, Iqbal – Rakshanda Jalil in  Indian Express, Naresh ‘Nadeem’ in Tehelka
  • Chitra Viraraghavan’s debut novel The Americans [Hindustan Times]
  • Trisha Gupta in Caravan reviews two new thespian lives: Naseeruddin Shah’s autobiography, and a biography of Dilip Kumar [Caravan]

NEWS: AWARDS, EVENTS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHERS

Events

  • Book Fair | Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala | November 1-15, 2014 | TNIE
  • Literati, Chandigarh Literary Fest | Chandigarh | November 7-9 | DJ
  • 16th North East India Book Fair | Guwahati | November 1-12, 2014 | ToI
  • Telugu poet Madugula Nagaphani Sarma brings the Avadhanam, in Sanskrit, Hindi and Telugu . The Avadhanam is a live poetry performance- poetry in response to audience questions. | Delhi | November 2-9, 2014 | PTI
  • IHC Samanvay Lit Fest (recommended) | Delhi | November 6-9, 2014 | website
  • Pustaka Parishe (a Kannada book fair) | Bengaluru | December 7-9 2014 | The Hindu

People

  • Kashmiri poet and writer, Amin Kamil, died at the age of 90. He wrote in both, Kashmiri and Urdu, and won, amongst others, the Sahitya Akademi award and the Padma Shri, for his poetry, ghazals, plays and stories. [DNA,] [Rising Kashmir] [Kashmir Life] [Kashmir Reader]
  • Poet and translator, Aziz Indori, who worked in Urdu and Hindi, died at the age of 82 [Times of India]
  • Vijay Seshadri, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, says the heart of poetry is metaphor, which cannot be taught [Indian Express]
  • Mani Rao in an interview with Zafar Anjum, on writing poetry, living in Hong Kong and her upcoming book on Kalidasa [Kitaab]
  • Amit Chaudhuri, in an interview with Vaishna Roy, says he is “drawn to the quirky” [The Hindu] In Elle Magazine, he says “there is a much greater aesthetic space for literature here now than there was 15 years ago otherwise.” [Elle]
  • Shamsur Rahman Faruqi on his new book, The Sun That Rose from the Earth, in an interview with Amrita Datta [Indian Express]
  • Khaled Ahmed profiles Pakistani novelist Intizar Husain. Husain recently won the Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. [Indian Express]
  • Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik at the OdishaLitFest 2014 spoke about the importance of regional literature [IBNlive]

Publishing

  • The Kannada Book Authority directed Kannada book publishers to register all books with it, for the purposes of preparing a complete catalogue. [Business Standard]
  • Amazon India has launched a Kannada books and music online store. [IBNlive]
  • Nivedita Ganguly has another one of those Ebooks-are-changing-everything columns. [The Hindu]
  • More on former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s project to promote Tamil literature. [ToI]
  • Kannada publisher Navkarnataka is offering a special discount as part of the Kannada Rajyotsava celebrations [The Hindu]

News

  • The Mopungchuket Ait Laisher Telongjem Library in Nagaland celebrates 75 years. [Morung Express]
  • The Central Institute on Indian Languages may move from Mysore to Bengaluru. [The Hindu]
  • 600 poets are participating in the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi’s Kaavya Saptaha, across 30 districts in Karnataka [The Hindu]

The Week In Literature and Translation [October 17th to 23rd, 2014]

NEW BOOKS, PUBLICATIONS, AND TRANSLATIONS

  • 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, REVIEWS AND ARTICLES

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.

Reviews

  • 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.

NEWS: AWARDS, EVENTS, PEOPLE, PUBLISHERS

News

  • 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.

Obituaries

  • 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.

Events

  • 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.

General

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