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India: Assam Valley Literary Award presented

The Assam Valley Literary Award for year 2016 was presented to prolific writer and a vocal supporter of gender equality, Dr Arupa Patangia Kalita by accomplished Malayalam writer Prof K Satchidanandan at a programme at the Pragjyoti Cultural Complex here (Guwahati) today.

A recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Dr Kalita has an immense body of work to her credit. She has authored several novels and collections of short stories, a number of which have been translated into English, Hindi and Bengali. Works like Mriganabhi, Ayananta, Arunimar Swadesh, Felani, Jaltarangar Sur among others have made her immensely popular among the readers. Her writings have also been included in textbooks.

The Assam Valley Literary Award was instituted in the year 1990 by the Willamson Magor Education Trust with the prime objective of honouring the stalwarts, who have kept alive the richness of Assamese literature and inspired a new generation of creative writers to keep alive Assam’s literary heritage. The award comprises a citation, a trophy and a draft of Rs 4 lakh. Read more

Source: Assam Tribune

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India’s first children’s literature festival, Bookaroo bags award at the London Book Fair

By Pallavi Chattopadhyay

As India’s first children’s literature festival, Bookaroo bags award at the London Book Fair, co-founders Swati Roy and Jo Williams talk about their journey.

You just won the International Excellence Award at the London Book Fair. How does it feel to receive global applause?

It’s an affirmation of our belief that a children’s literature festival can stand on its own. It has just been two days since the announcement was made and is, therefore, too early to measure the impact it may have. However, it has been heartening to discover — at the London Book Fair — how many people have heard of Bookaroo.

How have you seen Bookaroo progress since it was founded in 2008?

It has been a phenomenal journey with its fair share of twists, turns and challenges, ranging from unpredictable sponsors to even more unpredictable weather. Passion, perseverance and positivity have enabled us to surmount obstacles so that without any guaranteed sponsorship, Bookaroo has now travelled to seven cities in India and one in Malaysia. Building a community of readers, writers, illustrators, poets and storytellers across continents has brought its own rewards. Read more

Source: The Indian Express


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Novelist Shahnaz Bashir wins “Talent of the Year” Award

Celebrated writer Shahnaz Bashir has won “Talent of the Year” Award for 2017. The Citizen’s “Talent of the Year” is given to a young person who shows “signs of extraordinary talent” in the creative sphere.

The award was constituted by the independent online daily – The Citizen in 2016 with a young photographer being the first recipient.

Shahnaz Bashir was the unanimous choice for this year’s Award, the jury said.

Shahnaz’s book – Scattered Souls – was shortlist for the award, and it later emerged as the winner of the award.

The award will be given to him in The Citizen’s 3rd anniversary celebrations program at India International Centre, New Delhi on March 18, 2017. Read more

Source: Kashmir Observer

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Sahitya Akademi awards presented to 24 authors

New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Twenty-four eminent authors writing in as many Indian languages were today conferred the Sahitya Akademi awards at the annual Festival of Letters.

The recipients were awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh each for their “outstanding books of literary merit”.

Distributing the awards, Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari said he hates to call it “award” and rather uses the word “honour”, as according to him the word award projects “monetary” side, which is nothing for writers of such merit.

 “In medieval times, Raja Inderjeet Singh rewarded Acharya Kheshavdass Mishra with some 20-odd villages for his writing, and one can quote so many instances like this. Now thinking of those days, this monetary award ranks nowhere.

“Thats why I say these writers are beyond any award. We, on our part, can only honour their writings and creations in ceremonies like these,” Tiwari said at the award ceremony.

The awarded literary works have been written in 24 Indian languages, including English, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Sanskrit, Bodo, Kashmiri, Manipuri, Nepali among others. Read more

Source: India Today

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‘Into a Black Sun: Vietnam 1964-65’: Takeshi Kaiko turns his reporting experience into fiction

By Iain Maloney

Journalist Takeshi Kaiko covered the Vietnam War for the Asahi Shimbun, later fictionalizing his experiences in this novel about a Japanese journalist in Saigon and the Vietnamese jungle.

Embedded with a U.S. Army company, the unnamed narrator leads the reader through the boredom and high drama of a war zone with philosophical objectivity and a wry sense of humor. After surviving a stint at the front he returns to Saigon, where he chases rumors between drinking sessions, attends writing groups, and enthusiastically explores the seedy underbelly of Saigon life. Tiring of this dissolute existence, he decides to rejoin the troops and follows them on a mission deep into enemy territory, where the novel reaches its climax.

“Into a Black Sun” is an irresistible blend of narrative and inquiry, a moving exploration of how war desiccates humanity. Read more

Source: The Japan Times

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Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Names 2016 Literature Award Winners

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

“Deceit and Other Possibilities,” Vanessa Hua’s debut collection of short stories published by Willow Publishing, has won the 2016 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in Adult Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) announced this week.

In the collection, released in September 2016, Hua explores the experiences of immigrants and ideas of identity, choice, home, and otherness.

“I’m thrilled to receive this award, and am grateful to be counted among such illustrious winners,” Hua told NBC News. “I’m indebted to librarians who make a place for all readers and spread the word about books that reflect the world we live in.” Read more

Source: NBC News

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Kiran Doshi wins ‘The Hindu Prize 2016’

Kiran Doshi, a retired diplomat and educationist from Gujarat, won The Hindu Prize 2016 on Sunday for his third major work of fiction, Jinnah Often Came to Our House, a book set against the political turmoil of the subcontinent from the early part of the 20th century, ending with the Partition and Independence.

Mr. Doshi was among the five authors shortlisted from nearly 60 entries for the seventh edition of the prize. The shortlisted works included Anil Menon’s Half Of What I Say, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s The Adivasi Will Not Dance, Kunal Basu’s Kalkatta and Manjula Padmanabhan’s The Island of Lost Girls.

K. Satchidanandan, a member of the jury, pointed to the manner in which Jinnah Often Came to Our House, with its “unbiased wisdom, corrects all kinds of prejudices about political leaders and religious communities.” Read more

Source: The Hindu

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China: Nobel winner launches prize

By Liu Zhihua

China’s first Nobel Prize winner in physiology or medicine, Tu Youyou, celebrated her 86th birthday by signing an official agreement to donate 1 million yuan ($144,900) to establish the Peking University Tu Youyou Talent Award Foundation.

The initiative will provide financial support and incentives to the university’s students and young teachers of medicine.

Han Qide, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference-a legislative body-and Hao Ping, China’s vice-minister of education, also Party secretary of Peking University, witnessed the signing at Tu’s residence on Dec 25, a few days before her birthday on Dec 30. Read more

Source: China Daily 

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Muse India Young Writer Awards 2016 declared

The annual ‘Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award’ for 2016 goes to three writers, a poet and two novelists. Muse India is a reputed literary ejournal of 12 years standing with membership from over 50 countries.

It is dedicated to Indian literature either originally in English or by way of translation from regional languages. Instituted in 2011, the Muse India Young Writer award was given away for 2011 and 2012.

From 2015 with the sponsorship received from Satish Verma, an Ajmer based poet and social worker who runs a holistic therapies centre (SewaMandir), the award has been renamed. The award is aimed at recognising and rewarding outstanding literary talent among writersup to 35 years of age.

While the poetry prize goes to Goirick Brahmachari (New Delhi) for his work ‘For the Love of Pork’ (Les Editions du Zaporogue, Denmark); the fiction prize goes to two joint winners – Karan Mahajan (Delhi) for his novel ‘The Association of Small Bombs’ (HarperCollins); and Radhika Maira Tabrez (Rae Bareilly) for her novel ‘In the Light of Darkness’ (Readomania). The three winners will receive Rs 10,000 each. Read more

Source: The Hans India

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Excerpts: Son of the Thundercloud by Easterine Kire

son-of-thundercloud_e-bookGrey Earth

When he had been travelling for two weeks, perhaps more,   he could not be sure, Pele came to the base of a black mountain. His feet hurt and his white canvas shoes were brown with dust. There had been no big roads, just narrow mountain paths that he followed up and down until they brought him to some human settlement or a solitary dwelling. He would partake of the hospitality of the starving inhabitants and continue on his journey.

Everywhere he stopped, he was told he should go to the Village of Weavers. Rumour had it that there was enough food and water to be found there. They might let him stay and build a home. In the last habitation where he was told this, a man gave him detailed directions to the Village of Weavers.

Pele decided to go, if only to keep travelling. He did not know if he wanted to build a home. He did not know what he wanted; except hunger, thirst and physical pain, he felt nothing. The journey could take him anywhere, or nowhere. The mountain lay between him and the Village of Weavers. It was a hard climb and when he reached the top, the sun had begun to sink low on the horizon. Pele stopped in his tracks and looked around him. He had never seen such desolation in all his travels. Before him stretched miles of barrenness. The earth was so dry that the soil no longer looked like soil. It had cracked apart, every brittle vein and ligament exposed, looking more like sun-dried sponge with big holes running through the sod. The brown colour had gone from the soil and if the traveller were to describe it, he would call it grey, death-grey. It had long given up the struggle to sustain any form of life. His eyes scanned the horizon for people, though he asked himself how anyone could possibly survive here.

To the east, he saw a knot of houses. But as he began his descent, he saw that they were dilapidated sheds crumbling to the ground, the few remaining posts vainly holding up the overhanging roofs of thatch. They looked as desolate as the dead fields. Everything looked abandoned. He decided to spend the night in one of the ruins and set out early for whatever else lay in his path. He was some distance from the base of the mountain when he saw movement. Two  dark figures emerged out of the sheds and stopped by a large rock, looking up at him. Were they human or were they spirits? He could not tell. His pace slowed down; he was surprised that he could still feel fear after weeks of lonely travel. He watched as the figures began to move again, almost gliding through the air rather than walking  on the dead earth. And as they came closer, something calmed him a little.

It was only when they spoke that he realized they were human. ‘You have come far, traveller. We have no food, but you may shelter in our house. That is our way.  We  never turn   a traveller away and it will soon be night, so you may be our guest.’

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