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With poetry and a pen name

By Kannan Sundaram

Forced to drop out of school and virtually imprisoned at home, Salma’s firebrand poetry released her into a new public life

On a summer morning in 1994, I was working in my Kalachuvadu office. The room has large windows, and from my desk I can clearly see the front gate. A large vehicle had pulled up. Several heads came into sight, mostly women with saris firmly covering their hair. They walked into the front yard in a group.

We were expecting them. I knew one of them was Salma. She was coming to visit my father, the writer Sundara Ramaswamy. My father ran an open house, so we were used to visitors, some announced but most of them unannounced, dropping in at all times of the day. Food would always be cooked in excess; there were guest rooms upstairs. A Tamil literary magazine once wrote, “Don’t waste your money booking a hotel room when you go to Nagercoil. Just go to Suraa’s home.” Read more

Source: The Hindu


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Ambedkar University looks to promote literature in different languages

By Fareeha Iftikhar

In a bid to promote ‘progressive’ literature present in different Indian languages, the Ambedkar University (AUD) has started a new centre ‘School of letters’ for this academic session.

Offering a range of courses including MA in English, MPhils in Hindi, comparative literature and translation studies, and PhDs in English, Hindi, and comparative literature and studies, the school will cater to a total 62 students in the coming session.

“In this school, we want to break the barriers between languages. We will promote progressive literature present in almost all Indian languages by providing their translated versions in English and Hindi,” said Radha Chakravorty, the dean of the school.

Elaborating the name ‘School of letters’, Chakroborty said, “Earlier, we thought of naming it something like ‘school of languages’ or ‘linguistiucs’. But I think ‘School of letters’ is more suitable as it justifies the idea behind this center as letters make languages that eventually make literature.” Read more

Source: DNA India


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The success of mass market fiction is changing the rules of Indian publishing: Here’s how

By Kanishka Gupta

The last few years have witnessed a deluge of mass market writers in India: Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, Sudeep Nagarkar and more recently, Savi Sharma and Ajay K Pandey. While many people attribute this trend to the unprecedented success of Chetan Bhagat’s debut novel Five Point Someone, others say that it is because of the country’s ever expanding young, aspiring reader base, which has an insatiable appetite for these light, undemanding reads.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that this brand of writing has completely changed the different aspects of publishing, be it commissioning, retail or marketing. Editors no longer acquire books in isolation or on the basis of their individual tastes, but in close consultation with a sales team.

“Until Neilsen arrived in India, very few people were aware of the mass market phenomenon that was going on. The communication channels between sales and editorial were also not that great,” Sachin Garg, a bestselling writer and publisher of Grapevine books told me. In fact, distributors only started taking Grapevine seriously once their author Durjoy Datta’s book debuted at number 3 on the Neilsen Charts. ‘The sales figure of a book started being used as a metric for acquisitions and books were acquired for reasons other than the traditional reason of it being a well told story from the editor’s POV,’ says Anish Chandy of Juggernaut Books. Read more

Source: First Post 

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India: Submissions invited for The Hindu Prize 2017

Call for entries

Inviting submissions from publishers for The Hindu Prize 2017, instituted to recognise the best in Indian literary fiction in English every year.

How to Enter

Publishers can submit Indian fiction in English published between July 2016 and June 2017.

Only works of literary merit will be considered.

Publishers can send eight (8) of their best titles for the award.

Publishers with more than one imprint can submit eight (8) books from each imprint.

Publishers should send a list of their published titles (fiction) to enable the judges call in for books that have not been entered.

Publishers must send eight (8) copies of each book.
Only hard copies will be accepted.

Electronic copies will not be accepted.

All entries must reach The Hindu on or before May 31, 2017.

All entries must be marked to The Hindu Prize 2017 and sent to Shalini Arun, Associate Editor, The Hindu, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002.

Eligibility Criteria

The author must be an Indian citizen, an NRI holding a valid Indian passport or a domiciled resident of India. It is the publisher’s responsibility to verify this before submitting the book for consideration.

Authors who hold the Overseas Citizen of India card are NOT eligible.

Only original works in English will be eligible.

Works in Indian languages or translations are not eligible.

Entries must be in prose and can be full-length novels or a collection of short stories by a single author.

Self-published or electronically published books will not be accepted.

Children’s fiction or Young Adult fiction will not be eligible.

Books of authors who are on the panel of judges will not be considered.

Books submitted for The Hindu Prize 2016 will not be considered.

Employees of The Hindu and their family are not eligible to participate.

For more details, contact R. Krithika @ 0422-2212572 extn 314/334 or email krithika.r@thehindu.co.in

Source: The Hindu

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Indian authors writing in English language

By Ankita Ghosh

While we were busy reading mostly American and European authors to satiate our hunger for novels written in the English language, a quiet and cautious breed of writers were steadily reinventing the idea of English language novels for us, here in the heartland of the subcontinent.

These writers came to be loosely known as ‘Indian authors writing in English language’. As the 21st century progressed and our desperate need to be readily anglicized was reversed by the chronic desire to be homebound, more and more people began reading them and soon they became a phenomenon.
These authors usually fall into two distinct categories. The first category of authors is headed by Chetan Bhagat, Ravinder Singh, Manju Kapur, Anuja Chauhan and the likes. They have equally been loved and loathed. The middle class that was reluctantly welcoming English into their households, loved them as they spoke of a transitioning India and wrote about its average citizens. Read more
Source: Meri News

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Where the Light Gets In: In conversation with Ambai

The eve of International Women’s Day saw people gather at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) in Delhi to celebrate the life and work of Dr C S Lakshmi, who writes under the pseudonym Ambai. The Tamil feminist writer and historian is the recipient of the Hutch-Crossword award, Pudumaipiththan memorial lifetime achievement award, the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award of Tamil Literary Garden and the Kalaignyar Mu Karunanidhi Porkizi award for fiction.

In conversation with editor and publisher Karthika VK, Ambai spoke fondly of her girlhood and her family. “I often slept with a book by my side, instead of a toy,” she says, fondly recollecting how her house was sprawling with hard-bound books. “There were only two ways to get out of the house — either by getting married or by pursuing higher education, and I chose the latter, of course,” she adds. Her father did not approve of her choice because he knew that once the bird eaves the nest, she’ll never come back home. “And he was right!,” exclaims Ambai, “I never looked back.” Read more

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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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Russian poet laments the lack of awareness about contemporary Indian authors

Eminent Russian poet and essayist Maxim Amelin has lamented lack of awareness about present-day Indian writers among Russian readers, which he blamed on the absence of “direct communication” between the two countries.

Only a handful of contemporary writers, for example Arundhati Roy, enjoys some familiarity back in Russia and for that matter in Europe, but that too because their writings got to be translated in native languages, Amelin observes.

“It’s a far cry from Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay whose works are hugely popular in Russia and several other European countries,” Amelin told PTI on the fringes of the 41st Kolkata International Book Fair where he was a guest. Read more

Source: DNA India

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The Ethics of Translation

By Chandan Gowda

A linguist narrated an anecdote that I haven’t been able to forget. A translator in medieval China complained of budget cuts for the work of translation: “In earlier days, a hundred translators worked together, in one large room, to translate a text. This number is now reduced to forty.” Besides the charms of collective authorship of translated texts, in contrast with the modern figure of the solo translator, the anecdote had held up the value of translation in China.

Translations open up pathways of imagination between cultural communities. While their value appears obvious, a few cautionary observations, especially with reference to contemporary English translations from Indian language, might be worth recalling.

Since great stories about village India or tribal India, to name just two spheres of experience, are likely to be written in Indian languages, only translations, in English or Indian languages, can come to the rescue of curious minds. More generally, an interest in the best works of Indian literature and political thought can be presumed to exist, either now or at another point in time. So far, so good. Read more

Source: Bangalore Mirror

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India: JNU Chairs for four languages

By Basant Kumar Mohanty

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is set to introduce Chairs in four Indian languages to carry out research on comparative literature reflecting the social milieu.

The Centre of Indian Languages under the School of Language Literature and Culture Studies of JNU will set up Chairs on Odia, Malayalam, Punjabi and Telugu.

The chairperson of the centre, Professor Anwar Alam, said that the culture department of the Odisha government had pledged Rs 5 crore to JNU as assistance to start the Chair. The governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab and Kerala have also positively responded to JNU’s request for funds.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed by JNU and the Odisha government soon.

“Our focus will be to bring out comparative literature to understand the social milieu and the value system as reflected in literature in different languages during different periods. The research will not be limited to one language or any specific period,” Alam said. Read more

Source: The Telegraph