Tag Archives: Sahitya Akademi Award

Writing Matters: In conversation with Anees Salim

By Archana Pai Kulkarni

Anees Salim

Acclaimed as one of our most gifted raconteurs, Anees Salim won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2018 for his novel, The Blind Lady’s Descendants. The book also won the Raymond Crossword Book Award for Best Fiction in 2015.

His other books include The Vicks Mango Tree (2012), Tales from a Vending Machine (2013), Vanity Bagh (Winner of the Hindu Prize for Best Fiction, 2013), and The Small-town Sea that won the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize for Best Fiction, 2017, and was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize as well as the Tata Literature Live! Award, the same year.

Salim is Creative Director, FCB Ulka, Kochi, and an avid traveller.


Archana
: Anees, welcome to Kitaab! Congratulations on winning the Sahitya Akademi Award for The Blind Lady’s Descendants.

You are known to be a literary hermit and have mentioned that these recognitions have made you unnecessarily wary and self-conscious. Do you worry that the baggage of expectations that comes with awards, coupled with a surge in readers’ interest in you, may be too invasive and affect your writing? What makes you shy away from social interaction and literary platforms, when being out there could mean better sales and a larger readership?

Anees: Thank you. Yes, recognitions have put extra load on me and I have started discarding more story ideas than I used to do in the past. I don’t know if readers’ interest in my books has affected my writing because I haven’t written a book since The Small-town Sea was published.

Coming to my lack of social interaction, it has always been like this. All my books were released without official launches or book tours. And most of them have done reasonably well. But you are right, a few public appearances could have helped the books do better. The truth is I find it extremely hard to change myself.

Archana: The characters in your novels are consummate storytellers, be it the unnamed protagonist of The Small-town Sea or Amar Hamsa in The Blind Lady’s Descendants. Stories are also told from the perspective of a fish or a bird, narrators buoyed up by the protagonist who presumes what they are witnessing. ‘What did they see?’ is a recurring adjunct, a narrative device you use to offer an unusual overview, which cannot be relied upon entirely. Could you elaborate upon the choice and use of this tool?

Anees: Well, I believe children are the most imaginative and fearless storytellers. They have a unique way of looking at mundane things and their points of view can sometimes make you feel liberated. As a child, I used to imagine how birds would see my home, how my school would appear to earthworms, how chickens would heave a sigh of relief when we demanded lamb biriyani.  Since The Small-town Sea is narrated by a thirteen-year-old – my youngest ever protagonist – I thought of using my favourite childhood pastime as a tool.

Archana: Death arrives early in some of your books. Your characters seem accepting of it, including their own. While there is a sense of melancholy and foreboding that shadows their rumination upon death, the characters succumb to it willingly, as if this cessation of their lives, however premature, is elemental and not so unpleasant, an inspiration even. They seem to meet death halfway, walk towards it, so to say. You also juxtapose a death with a birth. Amar in The Bind Lady’s Descendants is born on the very day that Javi, his doppelganger, dies. Vappa in The Small-town Sea dies three days after the unnamed protagonist’s thirteenth birthday. Why this preoccupation with death, and the mention of birth and death days alongside? What does the subject do for you as a writer?

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Mumbai-based writer Rahman Abbas wins Sahitya Akademi award

(From The Hindu. Link to the complete article given below)

City-based writer Rahman Abbas has won the Sahitya Akademi Award, 2018, for his Urdu novel, Rohzin.

Mr. Abbas’s novel is a love story set against the backdrop of the 2005 floods in Mumbai. The novel was published in 2016 and has been widely debated in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Canada and Europe.

Read the complete news at The Hindu link here

Translator of Perumal Murugan’s ‘One Part Woman’ declines Sahitya Akademi Award

Aniruddhan Vasudevan, the critically acclaimed translator of ‘One Part Woman’, has declined the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize 2016.

‘One Part Woman’ is a translation of ‘Madhorubagan’, a Tamil novel by award-winning author Perumal Murugan.

‘Madhorubagan’ – the tale of a couple from Tiruchengode, who face societal discrimination due to their inability to conceive a child – sparked uproar in 2014, with Hindu caste and religious groups holding protests.

The furore died down, but reared its ugly head again in 2017 when the Sahitya Akademi awards were announced and Aniruddhan’s name featured on the list. The agitators filed a petition in the Madras High Court against the book receiving the award.

In December 2017, the Madras High Court asked the Akademi to go ahead with their award ceremony as scheduled while ordering a stay on the English translation prize until further notice.

On Monday, the translator wrote to the Akademi and declined the award.

Kannan Sundaram, of Kalachuvadu Publications, which published ‘Madhorubagan’, told TNM, “He does not want to fight a legal battle to get the award. He also does not want eminent writers like Githa Hariharan, K Satchidanandan and others being scrutinized. He sees this (the fact that the case is still going on) as part of the ongoing problem of hounding Perumal Murugan, and does not want to be part of it.”

The controversy

In 2014, four years after Perumal Murugan’s much-acclaimed ‘Madhorubagan’ released, the Kongu Vellala Gounder community began protesting against the book. The caste, which has a stronghold over the Kongu region in Tamil Nadu, claimed that the book insulted the women of their community, in addition to disrespecting Hindu deities. A police-mediated ‘peace talk’ between Perumal Murugan and the caste-Hindu right-wing groups resulted in the writer tendering an unconditional apology.

Soon after this, Perumal Murugan announced his decision to stop writing in a post on Facebook, which said the author in him was dead. Following multiple criminal complaints, in 2016, the Madras High Court finally quashed all proceedings against the book and the writer.

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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

‘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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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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