Empowering and connecting Asian writers and readers. Everywhere.

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Tamil writer Perumal Murugan wins literature award

A critical element in the novel deals with an old custom in which a childless woman could go to a temple festival and, under social sanction, have a child with another man: The Indian Express

Tamil writer Perumal Murugan has won the ILF Samanvay Bhasha Samman for his novel Madhorubhagan. The announcement was made at Samanvay, a literature festival, on Saturday. Madhorubhagan, translated into English as One Part Woman, had created a furore and resulted in Murugan being persecuted and abused to the extent that he had announced on Facebook in January: “Perumal Murugan, the writer is dead. As he is no God, he is not going to resurrect himself. He has no faith in rebirth. As an ordinary teacher, he will live as P Murugan. Leave him alone.”

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Vikram Sampath steps down as the director of Bangalore Literature Festival

Following three Kannada writers – TK Dayanand, Airf Raja and OL Nagabhushana Swamy – boycotting the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) in opposition to his views against award-wapsi, Vikram Sampath has decided to step down as one of the festival directors.

In a statement, the Sahitya Akademi-winning author said that he has become a target of “personalised campaign”. This, he believes, is because of his stand against writers returning their awards as protest against intolerance…”

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An Appeal to Our Readers

Dear Reader,

Kitaab Logo changes - 1Oct-rasterize fntFirst of all, I want to thank you for supporting us all along. Kitaab has been a very special literary venture for us and you have stayed with us and supported us in this exciting journey. We are grateful to you for that.

As you know, Kitaab was founded in 2005 to empower and connect Asian writers with readers globally. When it was launched 10 years ago, Kitaab filled a major void in the online literary scene in Asia by creating a link-based information storehouse where the most important stories on Asian writers and writing were carefully curated. The project was revived and revamped in 2013.

Over the years, Kitaab has evolved into a much larger project that encompasses publishing and e-commerce to serve the same community of writers, readers, publishers and agents worldwide. Run by 15 voluntary editors who sit in different parts of the world, Kitaab provides a global writing and publishing platform to emerging and seasoned writers in Asia and abroad. It is supported and guided by some of the finest writers in the region including Amitava Kumar, Kunal Basu, Anees Salim and Suchen Christine Lim who sit on our editorial advisory boardKitaab is also getting recognised in the region. Recently, it has been invited to be the media partner of the Hyderabad Literary Festival in India.

Over the years, Kitaab has published some of Singapore’s and the region’s best writers and poets such as Yeow Kai Chai, Desmond Kon, Yong Shu Hoong, and Jee Leong Koh, amongst others. Kitaab has published interviews with over 100 Asian writers from around the world including Tan Twan Eng, Anees Salim, Amitava Kumar, Salil Tripathi, Suchen Christine Lim, Prajwal Parajuly, Romesh Gunesekera, Ken Spillman, Mahesh Rao, Meira Chand, Ovidia Yu, Shashi Deshpande, David Davidar, William Dalrymple, Shashi Tharoor, and Isa Kamari, among others.

The year 2013 marked our foray into publishing. As a publishing house, we publish original/translated contemporary literature in English and other Asian languages. So far, we have published 5 titles and a few more titles are in the pipeline by writers from Singapore, India and Hong Kong. Two of Kitaab‘s titles were launched at this year’s Singapore Literary Festival. Kitaab will publish three books by Cultural Medallion winner Isa Kamari in 2016, including the Malay writer’s first novel written in English. Kitaab has also bought the Hindi/Urdu translation rights of Isa Kamari’s pathbreaking Malay novel, Intercession. We will be acquiring more Asian titles for translation.

Kitaab has been on the frontline to speak for and defend authors’ right to dissent in a climate of censorship, and to seek gender equality and gender rights in particular and protection of human rights in general and has published numerous supporting stories from Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and China, among other places, to highlight such issues.
So far, we have run Kitaab on a modest budget in a bootstrapped way, without any outside help. Kitaab has been a labour of love and it needs infusion of funds to not only continue it mission of connecting Asian writers and readers but also to take it to the next level. Keeping this need in view, Kitaab has launched a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo.com.

We aim to raise up to USD$10,000 through our campaign. The proceeds will help Kitaab fulfil its potential and serve you and the Asian writing and publishing community in a more robust way–with better content and a far better user experience on our site. 

Those who will support Kitaab in this first-ever fundraising campaign will be rewarded with various perks, ranging from thank you notes from editors to signed copies of books to specially designed tote bags and even mention on the Kitaab website as a patron. So far, nearly more than 1,300 people have supported Kitaab’s appeal on Facebook. Kitaab has successfully raised over US$350 within the first 3 days of its campaign launch. Obviously, we have a long way to go and we won’t be able to achieve our goal without your help.

We seek your help and cooperation to make our maiden fundraising–our first in ten years–a success. Even a little contribution will go a long way and validate our effort. If you can’t contribute, at least help spread the word by sharing this message with your friends and acquaintances. We know that your time is precious but spending a few moments on this campaign will really make a difference!

So, kindly go to the campaign page here and oblige us by doing your bit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kitaab/x/12750005#/

Thank you once again and with best regards,

Zafar Anjum
Editor, Kitaab

Team Kitaab

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Indian-Origin Author Priya Parmar’s Novel Among New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2015

Indian-origin author Priya Parmar’s historical novel “Vanessa and Her Sister”, has been included in the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2015.

Described as “A novel of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, constructed around an invented diary and letters,” the Times calls it a “multilayered, subtly shaded novel”.

Ms Parmar’s portrait brings noted modernist English writer Virginia Woolf’s sister “Vanessa out of the shadows, into fully realised, shining visibility”, the influential daily said in its book review.

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3rd edition of Lucknow Literature Carnival kickstarts

The much-awaited 3rd edition of the Lucknow Literature Carnival kickstarted on Friday. The first day of the Carnival saw the coming together of a number of authors, writers, journalists, theatre personalities who indulged in interactive panel discussions. The event is being jointly organised by Lucknow Expressions Society and Unicef.  Continue reading

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South Asian Literature 2016 shortlist revealed

the-lives-of-othersPenguin Random House has three titles shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 which reflects “the variety and vigour” of South Asian fiction writing and writing about South Asia.

In competition for the $50,000 (£33,000) prize are: R Meera for Hang Woman (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India); Mirza Waheed for The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India); Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK), along with Akhil Sharma for Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK); Anuradha Roy for Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India); and Raj Kamal Jha for She Will Build Him A City (Bloomsbury, India). Continue reading

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Intolerance row: After writers boycott Bangalore Literature Fest, directors issue statement

The debate on intolerance in the country has now hit the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) as well. Kannada writer TK Dayanand and poet Arif Raja have boycotted the Bangalore Lit festival that is being held in the city on December 5 and 6.

One of the Directors of the BLF, author Vikram Sampath, had recently written an article where he stated that he was against writers returning their awards. This statement hasn’t gone down well with many writers who have now taken a stand against the BLF.

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HLF 2016 Strives for Inclusivity

HLF 2016-LogoHyderabad Literary Festival is as much about literature and art as it is about social responsibility. Over the years, HLF has introduced several features to make the festival broad based and inclusive. Continuing its effort at inclusiveness, HLF 2016 will host a series of events on LGBTQ issues, as well as panels by the differently abled.

Look forward to the following and more!

  • Panel discussions on gay identities with authors and activists such as Hoshang Merchant, R Raj Rao, Sridhar Rangayan, Moses Tulasi, Bharat Jayaram and others.
  • Exhibition by artist-architect Maitri Dore who will bring stirring visuals and drawings on contemporary topics related to sexuality and the state. Her work ranges from the humorous to the tragic, while taking on issues like Section 377 of IPC, social stigma and stereotypes.
  • Performance by the transgender theatre group Colour of Trans 2.0. It will trace the experiences of the actors themselves through seven episodes. The performances will mix the forms of cabaret, monologue, clown theatre, commedia del arte, film, and the theatre of the absurd. Colour of Trans 2.0 raises questions of self-representation, trans activism, caste and new interventions in theatre.
  • Screening of films featuring stories of LGBT persons victimized and subjugated by law, family and society; and hopeful stories of younger LGBT persons who have overcome barriers to live openly with dignity.
  • Panel discussion featuring differently abled achievers such as Shakila Maharaj who pioneered the establishment of innovative disability services in South Africa, the disability rights activist Anita Ghai,and promoter of cricket for the blind and producer of TV serial Nazar ya Nazariya, George Thomas.

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India: This city based theatre group is reviving classic Hindi literature

The year was 1958. Prolific Hindi writer Mohan Rakesh had penned down a fictitious story on the mythological character of Kalidas. Ashadh Ka Ek Din was a three-part Hindi drama, where, contrary to the existing norms, Kalidas was not a mystic. He was a common man, living in Kashmir with his lover Mallika, leading an average family life. The play was a realist drama coupled with human emotions including rage, mirth and jealousy. Continue reading

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India: Writers Quit Vikram Sampath’s Literature Fest Over Award Wapsi Row

Murmurs against Vikram Sampath, director of the Bangalore Literature Festival, are growing louder, with several writers and speakers withdrawing from its panels.

The festival, scheduled for December 5 and 6, brings to the city distinguished authors from across India.

Sampath, author of a book on the Mysore royalty and biographer of singer Gauhar Jan, has recently signed a letter with other historians and writers, accusing award returns as “hypocritical attempts to claim the moral high ground”. Continue reading


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