10 July 2008

Indian writing for the global market

[No, I’m not talking about the Kama Sutra]

If Indian translators aren’t recognised and rewarded for their contribution by the industry (readers and publishers included), perhaps, relying on India as their only literary marketplace is a dead end. In that case, could Indian translators not look upon the world as a larger market for their services?

When I think of some of my favourites, such as Michael Hoffman (famous for translations of Joseph Roth, Patrick Suskind, Wolfgang Koeppen) or Gregory Rabassa (famous for translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortazar), and the recognition and awards they have received, I’m inclined to think that the global market may provide a much-needed break for Indian translators.

Of course, Indian authors and their publishers – both Indian and international – have to accept the idea and make headway. I understand that Penguin, Picador and Harper Collins have already initiated programmes to put Indian authors (i.e. those who reside and write in India) on the global literary map, but their efforts have largely focused on Indian authors writing in English.

When it comes to translations, my kudos goes to a little-known publisher from Kolkata called Seagull Books – started in the early 1980s by Naveen Kishore – which has taken the initiative to publish English translations of Indian regional language books (mainly Bengali, but there’s more) and market them internationally. My collection of Mahasweta Devi’s writing couldn’t have been possible without Seagull Books.


Stephen said...

Golden Quill Book Awards.
Just read this, thought would share it with the team....Indiaplaza.in, one of India's leading online shopping destination has instituted the Indiaplaza Golden Quill Book Awards. This annual award is aimed at encouraging quality writing amongst Indian authors. Leading publishing houses in India have been invited to nominate their best books published in 2007. Five books will be short listed and evaluated by an eminent panel of judges for the final "Critics' Choice Award". The readers will nominate the "Reader's Choice Award" through the online voting system. The winners will win the "Golden Quill" trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh. The award will be given to an Indian author domiciled in India for original full length novel or a work of fiction in English or a translation into English of an original full length novel or work of fiction of any Indian language published in India in the previous calendar year.The panel includes Sir Mark Tully, writer and theatre critic Shanta Gokhale, Anita Nair, and novelist Mahasweta Devi. For details visit indiaplaza.in/goldenquill

runawaysun said...

Thank you, Stephen, for visiting my blog and providing information on Indiaplaza.in's Golden Quill Book Awards. I shall pass this information on in my circle of friends.

khare said...

Thanks Stephen. I especially liked Usha K R's
A Girl and A River
, She's been a revelation for me. So thanks. :)

runawaysun said...

@ khare
Perhaps you've written this comment (thanking Stephen) on my blog thinking Stephen is a regular reader of my blog. I'm not sure he is. You may want to thank Stephen by contacting him directly.