It’s that time of the year again. Jaipur Bookmark (JBM), a parallel segment of the Jaipur Literature Festival that has steadily emerged as South Asia’s biggest conclave on the business of books, begins on January 23.
To say translation is the key focus at JBM is putting it mildly. If you are interested in knowing more about the world of translation, are looking to discover new authors from Indian languages, or just have an interest in multilingualism, here is a list of translators you should absolutely listen to at JBM in particular, and the festival overall.
You don’t want to miss Katyal’s latest translation of Ravish Kumar’s Ishq Mein Sheher Hona, published in English as A City Happens in Love. He is a multilingual poet whose second book of poems How Many Countries Does the Indus Cross recently won the Editor’s Choice Award from The Great Indian Poetry Collective. He also teaches Creative Writing at Ambedkar University in Delhi.
Annie Montaut has played a significant role in taking Hindi literature to French audiences. She is a Professor Emeritus of Hindi Language and Literature at INALCO in Paris, and has translated various titles by stalwarts such as Nirmal Verma, Krishna Baldev Vaid, Jainendra Kumar, Alka Saraogi, Geetanjali Shree, Kedarnath Singh, Anupam Mishra and Ashis Nandy into French. Most recently, her translation of Krishna Baldev Vaid’s Guzra Hua Zamana was released as Requiem for Another Time.
Daniel Hahn is a freelance writer, editor, researcher and translator. He has in the past chaired the Translators Association, been a Director at the British Centre for Literary Translation, and an editor of the journal In Other Words. His translations include Creole (2002), The Book of Chameleons (2006), My Father’s Wives (2008) and Rainy Season (2009), all by Angolan novelist José Eduardo Agualusa. He recently won the International Dublin Literary Award, and generously donated half his award money towards establishing the TA First Translation Prize for debut literary translation.
Best known for his critically acclaimed novels Em and the Big Hoom and Murder in Mahim, Jerry Pinto is a writer and translator par excellence and has translated many seminal Marathi works into English. He is expecting his first translation from Hindi to appear soon. His quirky, dark sense of humour is unparalleled, and there’s nobody who can talk about “writing family” better than he can.
A bilingual editor, writer and translator, Manisha Chaudhry works in feminist publishing and translation. She is passionate about promoting reading among all children and publishes books for children in many Indian languages. She currently heads Manan Books, publishing for children, teachers and young people.
N Kalyan Raman
N Kalyan Raman has translated and published eleven Tamil fiction books by writers such as Ashokamitran and Perumal Murugan, including his recently published fable, Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat. In 2017, he also received the prestigious Pudumaipithan Award for his contribution to Tamil literature through translations. It is a rare opportunity to hear him speak, and I wouldn’t want to miss this.
Chowdhury is the Director of the National Book Trust and a well-known poet, novelist and activist. She won the GA Kulkarni Award for Translation of the novel Makam by Goa Hindu Association, Mumbai. Her own English translation of this novel Chinatown Days has received great attention as it is one of the first sociological accounts of Chinese slaves working in the tea gardens of Assam in the 1830s. Ask her to treat you to some of her mesmerising poetry if you catch her outside!
Rohini Chowdhury is a translator and children’s writer with more than 30 books to her credit. She works between pre-modern and modern Hindi and English, and translated the 17th century Braj bhasha text Ardhakathanak by Banarasidas to high praise and critical acclaim. She is currently translating Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas from the original Avadhi into free verse in English.
Ros Schwartz is an award-winning translator and writer, and has translated works of fiction and non-fiction from French. If you have read the latest English translation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, it was hers. She was awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009 and also received the John Sykes Memorial Prize for Excellence in 2017. She will deliver the keynote address at the translation session at JBM this year, which will not just discuss a translator’s activism in discovering new content, but also highlight issues concerning the art and “commerce” of being a translator. You want to be there for this.
Shahnaz Habib is the translator of Malayalam writer Benyamin’s Jasmine Days, which won the inaugural JCB Prize for Literature and the Crossword Book Award for Translation. She teaches writing at The New School and at Bay Path University, in the United States, and will be here to speak about her debut translation experience with Jasmine Days.
Teji Grover is a Hindi poet, painter, translator and environmental activist. She has five collections of poetry, one novel and a collection of short stories to her credit. She is a recipient of the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Award (1989) and the Raza Award for Poetry (2003). Grover has also translated several Scandinavian and Indian writers into Hindi, as well as several Hindi writers into English. She is the winner of the Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award for 2018.