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‘Tamil literature has a modern, vibrant idiom’

The rich literary heritage of Indian languages is now reaching readers outside their respective regions. One such book which is breaking new ground abroad is ‘The Tamil Story’, a compilation of 88 short stories: The Indian Express

TamilstoryWith a surge in translations of Indian literature into English, readers across the spectrum have been transcending the language barrier.

From novels and short stories to plays and poems, the rich literary heritage of Indian languages is now reaching readers outside their respective regions and, indeed, worldwide.

One such effort is ‘The Tamil Story’, a compilation of 88 short stories that aims at presenting modern trends in Tamil literature for a larger audience. It proves that Tamil literature is not just a treasure trove of classical texts but is equally vibrant in modern times.

“We wanted to overturn the misconception and establish that Tamil has a strong and vibrant modern literary tradition that is comparable to any other language, Indian or foreign,” Dilip Kumar, who edited the compilation, told IANS in an email interaction from Chennai.

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Modern Urdu writing has a multiplicity of voices, a range of concerns and motifs

R jalilMany years ago, I had edited a collection of Urdu stories called simply, Urdu Stories. My intention then, was to present a sampler from the “greats” of Urdu literature. That collection had begun, quite rightly, with Premchand and carried on till modern times. Almost a decade later, I set myself an altogether different task. This time I consciously went looking for the new and the relatively unknown. I called this collection New Urdu Writings: From India and Pakistan.

There were, of course, the stalwarts such as Joginder Paul, Zahida Hina, Intizar Husain and Jeelani Bano. They had to be included precisely because though they had been writing for a fairly long time, they were active writers and had influenced the nai kahani (or the “new story” as it is called by critics) through their efforts. Living in a post-colonised world, they continue to negotiate the demands of their own literary concerns and those of their younger, newer readers. Their work shows how a purity of language can be maintained to a rigorous, almost classical degree and how this language can be moulded to convey new and altogether “modern” concerns.

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Sino-Indian Literature forum to boost literary ties

The third Sino-Indian Literature Forum was held on 22 August at Sahitya Akademi in New Delhi to foster literary exchanges between the two neighbouring countries.

In its third year, the forum seeks to connect publishing houses and writers from both the countries to facilitate cultural exchanges and get more and more literary material translated into each other’s languages.

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Can literature bring Asean together?

Indonesian author and cofounder of the Asean Literary Festival Okky Madasari.

Indonesian author and cofounder of the Asean Literary Festival Okky Madasari.

With Asean economic integration and political commonalities increasingly becoming more difficult, the only way for nations in this part of the world to create a genuine community is to focus on the stepdaughter of the so-called “Three Pillars”, namely the sociocultural sector (the other two pillars are political-security community and the economic community).

While we can always say that the Asean community is a work in progress, it will not progress until we seriously embark on exchanging values, lifestyles and customs of people in Asean so that we all come to know and understand each other. This sense of belonging will only come from a bottom-up approach.

How can we become a community if we don’t know each other? How can we be a member of a community to which we don’t feel a sense of belonging? We are close yet so far. We know much about people in Britain, in the United States, but we know nothing about people in other Asean countries.

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Review of Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate change and the Unthinkable

By Imteyaz Alam

amitav-ghosh

The Great Derangement: Climate change and the Unthinkable (Penguin Books, India) by Amitav Ghosh encompasses the stories, history and politics of climate change in a single volume. The deftness of storytelling employed by one of the giants of fiction writing of our time is on full display in this remarkable book on the imminent crisis that Planet Earth is facing today. Amitav Ghosh, the celebrated author expiates or in other word introspects on behalf of fellow writers by writing this extraordinary piece of non-fiction. Why does the master storyteller resort to non-fiction? The answer comes from the author himself: “Yet, it is a striking fact that when novelists do chose to write about climate change it is always outside of fiction.”

The author rues elsewhere in the book: “If certain literary forms are unable to negotiate these torrents, then they will have failed—and their failure will have to be counted as an aspect of broader imaginative and cultural failure that lies at the heart of climate crisis.”

This era of collective failure of art and literature in negotiating with this existential threat will then come to be known by the future generation as the time of The Great Derangement, the author imagines. The book highlights the failure of collective imagination and lack of sense of urgency though the impact of climate change impact is visible all around us: “That climate change casts a much smaller shadow within the landscape of literary fiction than it does even in the public arena is not hard to establish.” Continue reading


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Eight Poems by Kanchan Chatterjee

Eight Poems by Kanchan Chatterjee

Kanchan Chatterjee is a 47 year old male executive, working in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. He is from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India. Although he does not have any literary background, he loves poetry and scribbles as and when he feels the urge. His poems have appeared in various online and print journals, namely, ‘Eclectic eel’, ‘Mad Swirl’, ‘Shot Glass Journal’, ‘Jellyfish Whisperer’ , ‘Bare Hands Poetry’ , ‘River Muse’, ‘Decanto’ ‘Ygradsil’ , ‘Off the Coast’, ‘Red Booth Review’ ‘Electric Windmill Press’ ‘Under the Basho’, ‘Oddity’, ‘Coldnoon’, ‘Randomly Accessed Poetics’, ‘Cease Cows’ ‘A hundred gourds’ , ‘Camroc press’, ‘Dukool’, and ‘Ink Sweat & Tears’, etc.
 
He was one of the nominees of the Pushcart Awards, 2012.


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That Time of the Night – A Poem by Neeru Iyer

Neeru Iyer is a poet and storyteller from India. Her work has been previously published or is up for publication at The Adirondack Review, The Legendary (downdirtyword.com), The Rusty Nail, The Taj Mahal Review, Open Road Review, Inklinks, A World Rediscovered, and The Equator Line. Her short story collection, Of Bridges Among Us, will be out from Palimpsest Publishers later this year. 


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Two Poems by Mark Yeow

Two poems by Mark Yeow

Mark’s current and former personas include reluctant percussionist prodigy, science journalist, food blogging’s enfant terrible, digital producer, entrepreneurial less-than-success story, follower of Christ, and chronicler of awkward first dates. His work has been published in Voiceworks, Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore, and the Sydney Morning Herald. Grown in Australia, he currently resides in his birthplace of Singapore.


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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Kristine Ong Muslim

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Kristine Ong Muslim Pix

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Because writing is fun.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My latest book is Age of Blight, a collection of short stories that mostly talk about humanity’s toxic impact to the natural world and how unfair it is to nonhuman animals that we are taking them down with us as we destroy this planet. Some stories in the book also attempt to straddle both supernatural horror and psychological horror—two genres I love.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A body of writing that evolves form-wise and theme-wise (and treatments thereof) so that in book after book, I’ll be able to see a semblance of progress. Stories that delve into ethical issues and use POVs in order to subtly distinguish between right and wrong. Ecological themes. In poetry: not terribly postmodernist-style detached in tone, not overtly emo, either. Personas with universal empathy. Conjuring a dreamlike feel always appeals to me. Continue reading


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‘A Censor Is Seated Inside Me Now’: Hometown Wrath Tests a Novelist

Perumal_MuruganPerumal Murugan, who was celebrated here on Monday as a major Indian writer, looked a bit miserable in the big city.

The son of an illiterate soda-pop vendor from small-town South India, he had limited his visit to the capital to 48 hours, and this appeared to be 46 hours too long. He prefers to sleep on a rope cot, under the stars, the way they do in the village, and has never owned a pair of shoes that were not sandals. Leaving an interview with the talk show host Barkha Dutt, who is Oprah Winfrey-league famous in India, he turned to the man escorting him and asked, politely, who she was.

Mr. Murugan had come to declare his return as a writer following a long spell of darkness. After undergoing a vicious attack by caste leaders in his home state of Tamil Nadu, his novel “One Part Woman” last month was the subject of a landmark court decision defending the right of artists to critically depict their own communities. Recent interest in Mr. Murugan’s work has exploded, with five novels coming out, translated into English from the original Tamil.

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