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‘A writer can build only half a bridge’

By Tishani Doshi

Kiran Nagarkar is an author who generates an extreme level of devotion among his fans. Some, including the author himself, would say that there aren’t enough of them, but if a fan-o-meter were somehow employed, his followers would surely win top prizes for fervency. His play Bedtime Story and first novel Saat Sakkam Trechalis, (republished in English as Seven Sixes are Forty Three) are both landmarks in Marathi literature.

Of his Sahitya Akademi Award-winning novel Cuckold, Nagarkar says he takes no credit. It was an inspired piece of writing where he was just the “third rate secretary.” Nayantara Sahgal has described his Ravan & Eddie trilogy as India’s fourth great epic, after the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the struggle for freedom under M.K. Gandhi. In person Nagarkar is tall and gregarious, prone to self-deprecation and chuckling. Excerpts from an interview.

What kind of home did you grow up in?

I grew up in a poor family but that was because my grandfather died early. So my father had to educate his seven or eight brothers and sisters. I’d always known that my grandfather was a Brahmo Samaji but it’s now coming to light that he went (to America) with Vivekananda in 1893 and 1903. Obviously, he did not make the kind of impact that Vivekanandaji made.

But it’s curious, a friend of mine did some research, and found that my grandfather was asking for independence of India in 1893, at a time when neither Gandhiji or anyone else was asking for it. Read more

Source: The Hindu


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‘Every word has a body and a soul’

By Rashme Sehgal

At 92, Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer Krishna Sobti is still razor-sharp, and remembers a life lived in two radically different eras

The moment you write the first line of your book, you (will have) imparted half your strength to it,,” says acclaimed Hindi writer Krishna Sobti. “Once this first sentence has been penned, the writer in me knows that this sentence has to be nurtured… You know you have to take care of this sentence. And the other sentences that will follow.” Indeed, Sobti is an instinctive writer—she does not plot out her stories in advance but allows them to evolve on the strength of this first sentence.

Dressed in her trademark gharara, her head covered with a blue dupatta, Sobti, now 92, sits comfortably on her favourite chair in the living room of her fifth floor apartment in east Delhi. “I always make three drafts for all my books. The third time over, I like to read the story out aloud. If anything has to be changed, I will change it then. Once the manuscript is off my table, I never look at it again,” says the writer who won the Sahitya Akademi award for Zindaginama, her book set in rural Punjab that looks at critical social issues of the time. Read more

Source: The Hindu

 


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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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I have aged but not my perspective or writing: Padma Shri Keki N Daruwalla

He is one of India’s foremost poets and short story writers, a Padma Shri recipient and was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984, which he returned in 2015. Even at the age of 80, the writer is all about smiles, saying that age has had no impact on his perspective or writing.

“I do not think growing old has had any lasting impact. I like to write about contemporary things and things that matter. I have aged but not my perspective or my writing. I am now 80 years old and I am just grateful that I can still come up with things, which are not only well liked and read but also equally relevant,” Keki N. Daruwalla told IANS in an interview.

And why not, if you look at his just-released book “Daniel Comes to Judgement” (Niyogi Books/Rs 395/214 pp). Vignettes from the vast repository of a wordsmith who can straddle myth and reality with ease, the 20 short stories breathe life into metaphors, coalesce fact with fancy and still sound fascinatingly credible. Read more

Source: The Indian Express


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New Release: Suspected Poems by Gulzar

gulzar“He had the blue cow tattooed on his right shoulder

He would have been killed in the riots yesterday

But they were good people—

Seeing a cow, they let him go!”

Written in Gulzar’s inimitable style, the poems in his newest volume of poetry reflect and comment, sometimes elliptically through a visual image, sometimes with breathtaking immediacy and directness, on the political reality in the country today. Powerful, poignant and impossible to ignore or gloss over, the fifty-two threads that make up Suspected Poems unfold across the entire political spectrumfrom the disturbed climate in the country and the culture of intolerance to the plight of the aam aadmi, from the continued oppression of Dalits and minority communities to fluctuating Indo–Pak relations.

Published by Penguin, Suspected Poems has been translated into English by Pavan K. Varma. Suspected Poems will be available in a special keepsake bilingual edition.

About the Author:

Gulzar is one of India’s leading poets; he has published several volumes of poetry and short stories (many of which are available in translation) and is also regarded as one of the country’s finest writers for children. A greatly respected scriptwriter and film director, he is one of the most popular lyricists in mainstream Hindi cinema. He gained international fame when he won an Oscar and a Grammy for the song ‘Jai ho’. Gulzar received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2004. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He lives and works in Mumbai.

About the Translator:

Pavan K. Varma is the author of The Great Indian Middle Class, Being Indian, Becoming Indian and several other books. After a long and distinguished diplomatic career, he served as cultural adviser to the chief minister of Bihar, and was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2014 to 2016

 


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India: Vannadasan, Jerry Pinto, Nasira Sharma among 24 authors named for Sahitya Akademi award

Noted Tamil writer Vannadasan, English novelist Jerry Pinto and Hindi author Nasira Sharma were among the 24 authors named for the Sahitya Akademi Award 2016.

They were cited for Oru Siru Isai, Em and the Big Hoom and Paarijat respectively.

Boluwaru Mohammad Kunhi was named for Swatantryada Ota in Kannada, Edwin JFD Souza for Kale Bhangar in Konkani and Gita Upadhyay for Janmabhumi Mero Swadesh in Nepali.

Eight poets were also honoured: Jnan Pujari (Meghmalar Bhraman/Assamese), Anju (Ang Maboroi Dong Dasong/Bodo), Kamal Vora (Anekek/Gujarati), Prabha Varma (Shyamamadhavam/Malayalam), Sitanath Acharya (Kavyanirjhari/Sanskrit), Gobinda Chandra Majhi (Nalha/Santhali), Nand Javeri (Akhar Katha/Sindhi) and Papineni Sivasankar (Rajanigandha/Telugu). Read more

Source: First Post

 

 


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Nepali literature in India: Descriptions of some works competing for the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award

By Mahendra P Lama

In 1992, Nepali was recognised as the 19th official Indian language and included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. It has been recognised as one of the modern languages of India by the Sahitya Akademi, or Academy of Letters, of the Indian government since 1975; and the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award has been bestowed on the best literary works of Indian Nepali writers along with other Indian languages every year.

The process for picking the best literary work is well laid down. First, a comprehensive ground list of published works is prepared. Next, five to eight books are identified as potential competitors. Finally, three jury members sit, deliberate and decide the best work. Among the nine books that competed for the award in 2015, Gita Upadhyay’s Janmabhumi Mero Swadesh; Gupta Pradhan’s Samaika  Prativimbaharu; Kalusingh Ranapaheli’s Prashna Chinha; Sudha M Rai’s Bhumigeet; Rajendra Bhandari’s Shabdaharuko Punarbas and Basant Kumar Rai’s Kehi Kathaharu are worthy of mention.

Indianness of Indian Gorkhas

The entire plot of Gita Upadhyay’s novel is woven around the mobilisation of village folks in and around Tezpur, Assam against the highhandedness of the British Indian government and their joining the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi. Villagers living in the vicinity of Kaziranga forest are thrown out and their homes burnt as the area was declared a reserved forest. An Indian Gorkha named Chabilal Upadhyay leads the protests. The British tried to divide communities and geographies at the lowest possible level. Read more

Source: The Kathmandu Post 

 


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India: The fifth edition of the Chandigarh Literature Festival begins on a serious note

City Beautiful is doused in the multi-hued colours of literature, courtesy the fifth edition of the Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF), which kick-started on Thursday. A galaxy of renowned authors, including critically acclaimed authors and proud recipients of Sahitya Akademi Award, Kiran Nagarkar and Nayantara Sahgal, have come calling to city, as part of the fest organised by Adab Foundation, to light up the embers of love for literature in the hearts of the not-so-voracious readers and to exchange meaningful ideas with the ones already hooked to their works.

The highlight of the inaugural day of CLF 2016 was the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in literature to one of postcolonial India’s most significant writers – Kiran Nagarkar. The celebrated author, whose work Cuckold soon found its place among one of India’s most beloved contemporary Indian novels, observed, “I am overjoyed after receiving the honour from Adab Foundation. The festival (CLF) has brought Chandigarh on the National literary map.”

The award ceremony was soon followed by a panel discussion on an intriguing subject—‘Freedom and the writer,’ which saw the participation of Karthika V.K., Kiran Nagarkar, Meenal Baghel and Nayantara Sahgal. Read more


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India: Amitav Ghosh to get Lifetime Achievement Award 2016, in Tata Literature Live!

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh

Acclaimed Indian-American fiction author Amitav Ghosh has been named for this year’s Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Indian literary space, an official said on Tuesday. The award will be presented to him at the upcoming four-day Tata Literature Live! annual awards ceremony scheduled for November 20 in Mumbai. “I am deeply honoured to be receiving this award… It’s a privilege to be included in a list of such distinguished honorees,” the 60-year-old Ghosh reacted. Some of the past recipients have been Kiran Nagarkar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Khushwant Singh, V.S. Naipaul and Mahasweta Devi.

Among the most celebrated writers in India, Ghosh has a universal following and is famed for the meticulous historical research that is woven into his writings. Honoured with Padma Shri in 2007, Ghosh’s some best known books, many of them award-winners, are ‘Ibis Trilogy – Sea of Poppies’, ‘River of Smoke’ and ‘Flood of Fire’, preceded by ‘The Circle of Reason’ and ‘The Shadow Lines’, which won the Sahitya Akademi Award. Other books penned by him include ‘The Calcutta Chromosome’, ‘The Glass Place’, ‘The Hungry Tide’, ‘In An Antique Land’, ‘Dancing in Cambodia’, ‘At Large in Burma’, ‘The Imam and The Indian’, and the latest ‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and The Unthinkable’. Read more


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New Release: Death Under The Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean by Ruskin Bond

death-under-the-deodars

In a brand-new collection of stories set in the 1960s -70s Mussoorie of a bygone era, renowned author Ruskin Bond brings to life a mystery and murder featuring the elderly Miss Ripley-Bean and her friends. The book titled, Death Under The Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean is published by Penguin India.

The eight stories in the book are classic Ruskin style – full of wit and memorable characters, and will enthrall and delight children as well as adults. As the elderly Miss Ripley-Bean, her Tibetan terrier Fluff, her good friend Mr Lobo, the hotel pianist, and Nandu, the owner of the Royal, mull over the curious murders, the reader will be enthralled and delighted – until the murderer is finally revealed.

About the Author 

Ruskin Bond’s first novel The Room on the Roof was written when he was seventeen. He received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has published a number of novellas, short story collections, books of essays and articles, poems and children’s books. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014. Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, Delhi and Shimla. As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He returned to India in 1955.

He currently resides in Landour, Mussoorie with his adopted family.