Monday, June 4, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 9

Katha Prize Stories 9 brings some of the best stories from sixteen languages, specially chosen by eminent writers, critics, scholars, and translated with flair. Real stories, they explore the magic of masterly writings that are excitingly new and exuberantly alive: see a butterfly take wing, feel the moon melt in your palm, exult in the energy of fire and ice.

The Telegraph
(Friday 28 January, 2000)

Katha Prize Stories collects translations of vibrant and original short stories in 16 Indian vernaculars that cover an attractive range of experience and styles – from Manipuri minimalism to Telugu dreamscapes. This is a remarkable selection – varied, lively and inspiring the reader to want to read more of the writers represented.

First City
(March 2000)

Profound, poignant and pulsating, the present collection of short stories published during 1998-99 is another testimony to the truly commendable work that Katha has been doing since its inception. Interestingly, the anthology celebrates the magic of 9,19,99, 1999- the ninth volume of 19 prize stories, this Katha’s ninety-ninth book, offered at the end of `99. Selected by a panel of distinguished editors, the collection has vignettes from contemporary literature in the 16 Indian languages.

The Hindustan Times
(March 12, 2000)

And love appears in these stories wearing many faces. And around this dominant theme are weaved various narratives which are complex yet refreshingly creative. The complexity can be judged from stories like Afsar Ahmed’s Headmaster”, Prawn Chanachur”, first published in Bangla as Arthaheen Katha Balar Nirbharata.

The Express Magazine
(January 30, 2000)

But to Katha’s credit, the team of translators, most of whom have worked with the writers and editors, has done a credible job.

- Sudipta Datta

The Asian Age
(February 20, 2000)

Each story is a comprehensive portrayal of love in all its complexity, refreshingly creative and lending to multiplle readings. And there is not just romantic love, as we know it. There is love for theatre and love for one’s native land, the love between a mother and a daughter, the mythic Draupadi’s love for her five husbands and love as lust. But, finally, as the editor Geeta Dharmarajan points out, love is simply human.

The Hindu
(Sunday March 19,2000)

The stories have been selected from a diverse range of journals and small literary publications and affirm that the late John Gardner said about American Fiction; that the best stories are being published not in the mainstream magazines but small journals spread across the country.

Katha in its sustained efforts at searching from this vast reservoir of talent, deserves praise for its efforts. And this Nineth volume lives up to the promise that it has shown when it was launched a decade ago.

- S Sivadas

The Pioneer
(March 4, 2000)

It is an invitation to explore the various manifestations of love – betrayal and fidelity, intutitions and perceptions, vindictiveness and melting love. But to say that the nienteen stories only deal with the emotion of love, “a thought experiment, a heuristic device to capture emotions that play on faces and eyes and fingertips “ would be to limit the scope of the subject of these stories.

The Statesman
(Monday 20 March , 2000)

A lot of the credit for the change in popular perception of Indian literature must go to organisations like Katha. The Katha Prize Stories Volume 9 is an anthology of what Katha deems to be “the best short fiction published during 1998-99 in sixteen Indian languages”. It has English language translations of 19 stories culled from various Indian language periodicals.

- Sayantan Dasgupta

The Authors

Keisham Priyokumar
Afsar Ahmed
Meghana Pethe
Jeelani Bano
Na D'Souza
Sarita Padki
Imran Hussain
My Dear Jayu
Roschen Sasikumar
Mohammad Khadeer Babu
Chandra Prakash Deval
Pratibha Ray
Prem Gorkhi
Minakshi Sen
Vibha Rani
Yogendra Ahuja
Gopini Karunakar

The Translators

Robin S Ngangom
Chandana Dutta
Sumedha Parande, The Editors of the Volume
Aateka Khan, The Editors of the Volume
Bageshree S
Mukta Rajadhyaksha
Rukmini Sekar
N Ramakrishnan
Nandana Dutta
Tridip Suhrud
Pranava Manjari N
Rashmi Chaturvedi
Aparna Satpathy, The Editors of the Volume
Hina Nandrajog, The Editors of the Volume
Kalyani Dutta
Vidyanand Jha, The Editors of the Volume
Nandita Aggarwal & Neer Kanwal Mani

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Manipuri: Robin S Ngangom (Sahitya)
Bangla: Debes Ray (Baromas, Dainik Pratidin)
Marathi: Usha Tambe (Huns, Miloon Saryajani)
Urdu: Sadique (Tanazur)
Kannada: Ramachandra Sharma (Karmaveera)
Malayalam: K Satchidanandan (Mathrubhumi)
Tamil: Jayamohan (Kalachcuvadu)
Asomiya: Pankaj Thakur (Prantik)
Gujarati: Kanti Patel (Vi)
Telugu: Amarendra Dasari (Andhra Jyothi)
Rajasthani: Vijaydan Detha (Binjaro)
Oriya: R P Mishra (Jhankara)
Punjabi: Rana Nayar (Nagmani)
Maithili: Udaya Narayana Singh (Sandhan)
Hindi: Asad Zaidi (Pahal)

Edited by
Geeta Dharmarajan
Nandita Aggarwal

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 336 pages
ISBN 81-85586-99-3 [PB]
Price: Rs 250 [India and the subcontinent only]

Buy now!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 8

An accessible celebration of the Indian experience in all its diversity. The works created by the Katha Award winners – be it a story set in contemporary Mumbai or a complex fable narrated by the Kunkna Dangi Adivasis of Gujarat – are moulded with intelligence and artistry. The stories in this volume are representative of some of the most sensitive works produced in bhashas.

The fourteen stories in this volume are representative of some of the most sensitive work produced in the bhashas. The languages featured here are Asomiya, Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Indian Review of Books

… the final product is a rich tapestry of present-day India, woven with the intricate and diverse patterns that constitute the fabric of this country, not necessarily echoing a oneness of a mythical commonality but preserving the unique qualities that make up the fibre of a specific language.

The themes are varied and wide-ranging – feminist, ageist, revolutionary, dalit …

For the very first time Katha has given us the pleasure of reading a translation of the oral literature – orature as it is called nowadays – of the Kunkna Dangi Adivasis ... from Gujarat. “The Tale of Raja Manasinha and Rani Salavan” narrated originally by Dahyabhai Vadhu is a wonderful tale of princes and princesses and their adventures, so beautifully woven and so creatively translated that the very beginning enchants us … A must read for all those stuck on Disney tales – here’s something so refreshing, and at the same time so familiar, that it leaves us begging for more.

This is but an appetizer of what this volume actually contains. It is a collection that is rewarding in its choice of stories, the wide variety of language it sources, not to mention the wonderful readability it sustains, without in any way losing the individual character of each specific language literature. Go out and get it!

– N Kamala

The Hindu
(Sunday, January 17, 1999)

Over the past eight years, the Katha Prize Stories series have undoubtedly more than established the importance of regional fiction. Its publishers can justifiably take credit for creating a growing interest in regional literature.

Now, the Katha team has brought out another volume, the new Katha Prize Stories volume, that strays clear of the beaten track and establishes the immense talent waiting to explode on the literary horizon. It explores, for the first time, a range of ideas – from the man-woman relationship, folk literature of dalit sentiments and the feminist viewpoint.

Some of the stories leave you with a haunting feeling, while some shock you into accepting the harsh realities of life. Still others talk about compassion. Each story is a short journey but leaves one asking for more.

Oral literature has always been part of India’s culture but the tradition is gradually fading away. In an attempt to retain some of these folk traditions and dialects, Katha has gone through a process that few can sustain. It has established that popular language literature is still alive and has takers. Unfortunately, translations have to be most often in English.

Jayant Bhendre’s story “May We Be the Way the Lord Meant Us to be,” is a chilling account of urban terrorism. The arms of the mafiosi are long and through his seemingly simple story about a family in Mumbai, he shows the extent to which innocent lives are destroyed by terrorism.
S Diwaker with “Who Knows How to Live” talks about the cross that a family bears every generation.

The most ambitious translation is the story of Raja Manasinha and Rani Salavan, which was sung by the Kunkna Dangi Adivasis of Gujrat and translated from that dialect into Gujarati by Dayabhai Vadhu, a Kunkna tribal himself … one thing that stands out is the rich cultural heritage of the tribe.

- Suchitra Behal

Sunday Times
(January 24, 1999)

The vibrancy and vigour of an oral narrative, so closely rooted in the soil, are never dissipated even as the readers are transported into exotic kingdoms and heavenly courts. Sheer lyricism emanates out of every twist and turn of the tale, despite its iron framework of rules, motifs and established orders. Katha’s initiative is particularly praiseworthy because it gives to the readers a piece of little tradition at a time, when the new generation is looking westward for inspiration.

Inclusion of an oral folk story is just one among many “firsts” achieved by Katha this year. For the first time a Maithili story is included ...

… the Volume 8 is a winner, leaving very little scope for caviling.

Fourteen short stories, culled from thirteen Indian languages, present a breathtaking range of forms and content. Despite the diversity of locales and setting – urban, rural, ethereal, cross-border – trademark India is never to be missed in each one of them. The skirmishes between castes and communities, subjugation of the downtrodden, the loneliness and angst of the aged, fiendish designs of the political manipulator, survival of humanism even in the heart of darkness – the frames which build the social mosaic of present-day India run through the anthology. The multiplicity of approaches to storytelling which characterize this volume, establishes the short story as the most promising and popular genre in almost all the regions …

The process of selection of these stories is a year-long grind, involving myriad of imaginative minds. No wonder, it showcases the best that Indian literature has to offer in 1997. Barring a few patches like Kashmir, North East other than Assam, the whole Indian society finds expression in these stories. If the editor’s note be our guide, with the projects in hand, these parts will soon be mirrored in the future volumes. Given the quality of the present stories, that is something to look forward to.

– Chinmay Kumar Hota

The Express Magazine
(December 27, 1998)

Fourteen different ways of looking at India. All authentic, all insightful, all comprehensible. And though it’s the eighth volume in as many years, Katha has taken many more turns to get at the heart of the ethos it relives. There’s no denouement in the process, only more of sharing of the rich diversity of our storytelling experiences.

India comes alive in eminently readable translations for the benefit of the English reader. The collection is disturbing, heartwarming, nostalgic, resigned, hopeful, and full of despair by turns. If the quality of short stories selected for translation is anything to go by, Indian fiction in its various regional flavours seems to be doing just fine. And for the first time, Katha also includes an oral fable of the Kunkna Dangi Adivasis of Gujarat …

Those of us who’re tired of poorly edited and badly proofed Indian publications in English will particularly find Katha Prize Stories a delight. Read it.

Business Standard
(January 26, 1999)

In a country like India, both enriched and fractured by its multilinguality, Katha’s latest volume of prize stories-in-translation is a generous offering …

… there are moments of pure joy … perhaps the loveliest of which is Sriramana’s “Mithunam” translated by Syamala Kullury …

[One should approach the volume with] a desire to taste varied sensibilities and styles ...

India Today
(January 25, 1999)

Like Katha’s previous volumes, this one puts together from regional languages stories with a fascinating range of idea and topics. Fourteen stories explore diverse issues yet an underlying theme, that of survival, can be detected. Survival is explored through the dynamics of human relationship, be it a relationship between parents and children or between strangers. Another important thematic intervention is that of survival in the situation of urban violence. A novel attempt has been made in this volume: a written presentation of a living oral tradition from Gujarat. This is an interesting and important addition as it records for posterity traditions, which may otherwise die ...

Katha has brought the English-reading audience closer to regional language literature. One hopes this will eventually make international readers too focus on Indian literature beyond Indo-Anglian writing.

– Urmi A Goswami

The Statesman
(December14, 1998)

Mr A N Sehgal said Katha was a boon as it encouraged creativity in language. Katha was important since it helped people to appreciate literature written in different languages. He also said that whole-hearted efforts should be made to eradicate illiteracy as the nation approached the new millennium.

The Pioneer
(December14, 1998)

The Katha awards instituted eight years ago present a fascinating range of ideas and topics – philosophical questions, larger existential problems, social values, man-woman relationship and most elusive rasas – hasya and sringara.

These short stories also present a varied range of style from folk to oral literature, subaltern, feminist and experimental writings. The stories give an insight, where the media reports do not fully present the picture of real problems, and try to find a solution.

The Authors

Amar Mitra
Arupa Patangia Kalita
Damodar Mauzo
S Diwakar
Jayant Bendre
Mohinder Singh Sarna
Naveen Kumar Naithani
Sajid Rashid
Sarah Joseph
Sudhakar Ghatak
Vijayadan Detha
Kunkna Dangi Adivasis

The Translators

Krishna Paul
Anaeesh Bhatt
BHushan Arora
Dahyabhai Vadhu
Dilip Kumar Ganguli
Indu Ashok Gersappe
Krishna Barua
Malati Mathur
Maya Sharma
Rakesh Chaudhary
S N A Chary
Sonali Singh
Syamala Kallury
D Umapathy

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Assamese: Arup Kumar Dutta (Gariyoshi)
Bangla: Debes Ray (Desh)
Telugu: Amarendra Dasari (Andhra Bhoomi)
Marathi: Usha Tambe (Saptahik Sakal)
Maithili: Udaya Narayana Singh (Katha Disha)
Konkani: M L Sardessai (Jaag)
Gujarati: Ganesh Devy (Gadyaparva) - originally an oral tale, among Kunkna Dangi Adivasis
Hindi: Pankaj Bisht (Katha Desh)
Kannada: Vaidehi (Sudha)
Malayalam: Paul Zacharia (Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi Daily)
Tamil: Indira Parthasarathy (Navina Virutcham, Dalit)
Urdu: Sara Rai (Dastak)
Punjabi: Sutinder Singh Noor (Aarsee)
Rajasthani: Malashri Lal (Rajasthan Patrika)

Edited by
Geeta Dharmarajan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 224 pages
ISBN 81-85586-84-5 [PB]
Price: Rs 250 [India and the subcontinent only]

Buy now!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 7

As varied as variety itself, this collection brings to you trenchant, very Indian fictions that explore personal joys and sorrows, friendships and alienations, the everyday tenderness and harshness of life. This is a compelling collection of sixteen stories from Asomiya, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Tamil, and Urdu.

(March - April 1998)
… worthy additions to what is fast becoming a rich store of Indian literature in translation.

With Katha Prize Stories Volume 7, Katha continues its diligent dismantling of the barriers between “mainstream” and “regional” literature in India ... the stories in Volume 7 are thought provoking and imaginative, and a few sparkle especially bright.

– Latha Anantharaman
The Hindustan Times
(October 24, 1998)
Painstakingly selected by a jury of distinguished writers and scholars, it shows evidence of having been subsequently edited with love and diligence. This makes the volume a rare intellectual and emotional treat. Indeed, this volume comes as yet another proof of the fact that Katha has become a dependable deliverer of the best short fiction from India in the various languages every year.

The collection embraces a wide variety of concerns endeavouring to unveil hidden depths of the human mind. Couching this volume are brief biographical entries on the writers with sensitive insights into the responses of both the writer and the translator to the story. This makes the volume a worthwhile peek into the “backstage” of the immensely fecund world of literary creation in the bhashas. More than anything else, the Katha awards and their publication thus, encourage a participative impulse in the reader, involving him in the search for the best. This is, once again, a reminder that there is no dearth of raw material for creativity in India and also that there is abundant talent waiting to tap it. Though rooted in different linguistic spheres, these stories do not merely celebrate the local and the particular. Rather, invigorated by the vitality that these roots give, they successfully deal with common human preoccupations and predilections, nudging the reader to turn his eye both inward and outward.
Indian Review of Books
(April 16 – May 15 1998)
Crowded With Talent
Katha has done it again, has presented for our delectation a stimulating selection of stylish Indian fiction translated into English … it’s Brilliant. Sixteen excellent translations of memorable stories packed tightly in a magenta overcoat.

I have to admit that almost all the stories are favourites for different reasons. A grand collection indeed. The translators have obviously laboured with love. Their work is admirable, sensitive, evocative and subtly nuanced as I’m sure the originals are. Katha deserves a round of applause for continuing to give writers in Indian languages much-needed exposure, unearthing a cache of talented translators and revealing the wealth and diversity of literature that lies hidden and unappreciated in this amazing land of ours.

–Jaya Banerji
The Statesman
(Monday, February 9, 1998)
All the stories in this collection are representative of the wide diversity of Indian cultures, habits and customs and reveal the depth of talent available in our country. Katha’s attempt to showcase this talent is laudable.
The Telegraph
(January 2, 1998)
Katha Prize Stories Volume 7 edited by Geeta Dharmarajan and Meenakshi Sharma continues one of the most important publishing initiatives in recent years ... The volume is superbly produced, which makes it a welcome change from the unattractive get up of most books of translation in the country. The writers featured in the collection includes such established names as Prem Prakash, Vaidehi and Baldev Singh while newer talents include Nazir Mansuri, Brinda Charry and Phul Goswami. Another significant feature of this volume is the dominance of women writers. Something for Mr Rushdie to mull over perhaps.
Economic Times
(Sunday, February 8, 1998)
… Katha has commendably applied the mountain-will-come-to-Mohammed adage to bring the richness of India's literature to English habitues, in a manner uniquely its own. That is, sensitive translations of representative fiction writing in regional languages … Katha Prize Stories Volume 7 continues the task of keeping India in touch with itself via the creativity of its contemporary short story writers.

For the most part, taken together the curiously timely yet timeless tales paint a mesmerising picture of India in her awesome diversity, reflected in the varied concerns of her people.

So, each story is a brush stroke.
(August 1998)
“The Whale” by Nazir Mansuri (Volume 7), for instance, has been translated with such finesse from the Gujarati by Nikhil Khandekar – and it must have been a ferociously difficult task, given the fact that the whole story depends upon its descriptions of the locale for its effectiveness, and the locale is pretty specialized – that is difficult to believe that it wasn’t written in English. Katha also considers fiction originally written in English and Volume 7 contains one of the best specimens that I have read for some time, “The Sisters,” written by Brinda Charry ... And to think we would have never got to read any of them, if it wasn’t for Katha. But the far bigger tragedy? We wouldn’t have known what we were missing.
The Week
(February 22, 1998)
Katha’s collection of short stories are a treasure, once again...

Each annual volume is a collector’s item bringing together, within the pages of a single publication, English translations of the best short fiction of the previous year in all the major Indian languages.

It used to be said that Indian language writing translations could never adequately capture the quality and spirit of the original. Year after year Katha has been triumphantly proving this proposition wrong. The boom in the last few years in English translations of Indian fiction – all the big names in Indian publishing have got into the act – owes much to Katha’s trail blazing effort.

In making Indian short fiction accessible to Indians themselves, in enabling literary enthusiasts in each language region to discover what their counterparts in other parts of the country are currently reading and writing about, Katha’s contribution is invaluable.

And, unlike almost all the other publishing houses where the quality of releases have fluctuated wildly, Katha has shown impeccable taste. Both in its choice of stories and in the quality of its translations, it has consistently upheld high standards ... all manage to convey what is essential for a good translation: the flavour of the original ...“Topi” ... is one of the finest stories I’ve read in my life.
India Today
(January 26, 1998)
Sound, phonetically aflame English translations have become the distinguishing trait of the Katha series. This volume doesn’t disappoint. The rich and vital sounds, dialects and peculiar flavours of various regions are astutely preserved ... the gifted raconteurs seem wholly clued into the grammar of gripping fiction ...

The absence of literary ornamentation and the gratifying synthesis of emotion and expression characterize almost all the introspective stories about loss and restoration.
The Express Magazine
(February 8,1998)
The Katha volumes are an accessible celebration of the Indian experience in all its diversity
… And one thing that the Katha series can always be commended for is its faithful adherence to the original text ...

Katha has several other achievements, the most important one being the cultivation of a whole new readership for translations of contemporary short stories drawn every year from Indian languages. Which is affirmed by the fact that each of the six previous volumes is into reprints ...

... Katha has filled a huge vacuum ... As the noted Hindi litterateur Bhisham Sahni pointed out while releasing the present volume, “Translations are vital for any meaningful study of literature, for there’s a limit to the number of languages you can learn.”

... the present volume, too, is a medley of voices, all distinct and complementary to each other. Katha is a celebration of the diversity of the Indian experience. If Brinda Charry’s “Sisters” sounds real, it is only because this is a refreshing Indian story with a very Indian use of the English language. It has been presented with its original sounds intact ...

“Sheesha Ghat,” Naiyer Masud’s disturbing tale of critical handicaps, for instance, yields as much meaning as the reader infuses into it. It must surely have been one of the most difficult stories to translate. Not that the others are any easier to reproduce. Sanjay Sahay’s brilliantly detailed Hindi short story about the corrupting influence of authority in Bihar, “Topi,” Khalid Javed’s poignant Urdu tale “Bure Mausam Mein”, which appears as the “Season of Fever”; Phul Goswami’s revealing study of contemporary Assam, “Co-Travellers” (“Sahajatri”); and Nazir Mansuri’s innovative Gujarati tale about the fishing community, “Bhuthar” (“The Whale”), must all have been a translator’s nightmare. But most of them have done well enough to be able to communicate the distinct richness of the voices of different regions.

Considering that the collection opens up to most of its reader’s worlds that wouldn’t otherwise exist for them, the publication of each Katha volume is a happy event. And as Bhisham Sahni would readily testify, the readers are the richer for it.

– Ashish Sharma
Business Standard
(Tuesday, February 3, 1998)
Katha has been consistently bringing the latest in Indian fiction. Katha Prize Stories Volume 7 ... carries this tradition forward ... Each story describes a different world, yet speaks of something universal. They draw heavily from immediate surroundings for both the setting and the imagery, which gives them a very Indian flavour. At the same time, they present a view of what lies beyond the apparent. They are like excerpts from life, magnified to allow the intricacies to come through. Together, the kaleidoscopic view of these “worlds” brings home the concept we know as India.

The translations ... have done justice to the original works. They keep the “untranslatable” untranslated, retaining the story’s original flavour.

... Katha offers a window to the contemporary literature scene in the country, and peeping, which has always been tempting, here actually proves exciting.

– Paritosh Bansal
The Pioneer
(Saturday, January 8, 1998)
Katha has done more for Indian writing in translation than what has been achieved by the efforts of Sahitya Kala Akademi and other such Government aided bodies put together. The December compilation of the “best short fiction published” during the year has become a much- awaited annual literary event ...

Katha definitely has carved a niche for itself in the West, more specifically certain Universities abroad where it has been included as primary reading in their syllabi. Such popularity can, however, be counterproductive. Indian readers exiled from the vernacular tradition can do without any souped-up version of what constitutes “Indian writing.” It needs to be added that these apprehensions are not founded on material fact, and the present collection bears testimony to the rigorous and fair selection procedure followed by Katha.

The sixteen stories that adorn Katha 7 highlights the freedom “mother-tongue” writers enjoy over Indian writers writing in English. There is no conscious effort to “root” their narratives on a self-consciously created Indian milieu. There is therefore, in their writing, a quality of universal reference … And yet, this universal quality filters out of a consciousness that is local and rooted. Which explains the recurring motifs of poverty, loneliness of women, disaffection with the system, family relations, etc. Both these features – universality and local consciousness – counterpoise each other in helping the collection escape trite generalizations.

Naiyer Masud’s “Sheesha Ghat” is possibly the most difficult in the selection. Along with “The Whale,” it is among the more symbolic and complex of these stories. Created with a great lyrical quality that is preserved in translation, there is a haunting, almost magical balance in the tale, especially in the interplay of symbols and in the interaction between extraordinary characters.

Over all, Katha 7 impresses. If you like reading quality fiction, you can read it without apologizing for not being able to read the original. The translations are quality, non niche efforts, with Katha doing what it does without compromising integrity for regional and such like considerations. Readers of Katha 7 will eagerly await Katha 8.
– Debraj Mookerjee
The Hindustan Times
(Sunday Magazine, October 25, 1997)
Katha Prize Stories Volume 7 ... comes as yet another proof that Katha has become a dependable deliverer of the best short fiction from India in the various Indian languages every year. The collection embraces a wide variety of concerns endeavouring to unveil hidden depths of the human mind.

–Meenakshi Bharat
The Authors
Baldev Singh
Brinda Charry
B Chandrika
Khalid Jawed
Nayyar Masood
Nazir Mansuri
Phul Goswami
Prem Parkash
Ram Swaroop Kisan
Sanjay Sahay
Suchitra Bhattacharya
Tarun Kanti Mishra
Che Yoganathan
The Translators

Mridula Nath
B Chandrika
Devinder Kaur Assa Singh
Elizabeth Bell
Indira Chandrasekhar
Jasjit Mansingh
Jatindra Kumar Nayak
N Kalyan Raman
N Kamala
Maozzam Sheikh
Nikhil Khandekar
Pradipta Borgohain
Pranava Manjari N
G J V Prasad
Reema Anand
Shama Futehally
Shyam Mathur
Zakir Zaheer
The Nominating Editors & Journals
Assamese: Indira Goswami (Prantik)
Bangla: Shirshendu Chakravarti (Desh)
English: Ananda Lal
Gujarati: Ganesh Devy (Gadyaparva)
Hindi: Asad Zaidi (Hans)
Kannada: Shantinath K Desai (Udayavani)
Malayalam: Paul Zacharia (Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi Daily)
Oriya: Yashodara Mishra (Jhunkara)
Tamil: R Chudamani (Dinamani Kathir, India Today)
Urdu: Sara Rai (Soughat, Shabkhoon)
Punjabi: Kartar Singh Duggal (Aarsee)
Rajasthani: Vijayadan Detha (Jagati Jot)
Edited by
Geeta Dharmarajan
Meenakshi Sharma
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 224 pages
ISBN 81-85586-74-8 [PB]
Price: Rs 250 [India and the subcontinent only]

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 6

As the nation celebrates fifty years of independence, KPS 6 presents an electrifying perspective on the plurality of experiences that is India. Fourteen provocative stories from ten regional languages and an equally stimulating narrative originally written in English imaginatively recreate the political, cultural and social upheavals affecting Indian today. The languages featured are Asomiya, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu.

India Today
(February 15, 1997)

Fluent Fiction: A rewarding collection of regional language literature.

At a time when being Indian and being published abroad spells big money, big fame and bigger media hype, this series shows something remarkable: qualitatively, contemporary Indian writing in regional languages is just as good as Indian writing in English.

For the past six years, Katha has been bringing out what it considers is the best in Indian short fiction over each year. This anthology of fourteen stories is no exception. Painstakingly selected and translated into English, the collection offers an insight into an India progressing towards fifty years of independence, an Indian which is going through social, political and cultural upheavals. For this, we have to thank the translators (or should we say transcreators?) as much as the editors. In translation, the stories retain their vibrancy and their subtleties without forsaking the refinement of narrative technique …

If one is keen on window shopping the contemporary literary scene in the country, there could not have been a better showcase than this book. All the stories retain a whiff of the region they are rooted in. At the same time, they have the universality that the best of fiction demands.

– Soumya Bhattacharya

(January 8, 1997)

The sixth volume of Katha is an extension of the expected: excellent stories, most of them in regional languages, put together in a committed manner as always. There are thirteen short stories in regional languages, and one that was originally written in English. The stories reflect the multicultural tapestry of India as they narrate the individual creative experiences of some of the most talented writers in contemporary times. For those who have read the previous volumes of Katha – in fact, even one – this volume only echoes the standards it has set for itself through its predecessors. In other words, it makes for a fine read.

The Indian Express
(January 12, 1997)

Banking on a steady steam of creative translators, many of whom have transformed the act into an art, the Katha Prize Stories make available a small share of the regional goldmine denied to most readers. These collections negate all regional, national and thematic straitjackets and it is India, resplendent in all its diversity, that comes alive in story after story.

By demonstrating a sustained excellence, the recently released sixth volume of Katha Prize Stories establishes itself as an organic extension of its predecessors. The thematic concerns that manifest themselves in this anthology represent not only the dominant issues that kept the country preoccupied in 1995-96, but also those themes that have become a perennial part of the collective consciousness of India.

– Pallavi Rastogi

Business Standard
(New Delhi, December 27, 1996)

Katha’s Sixer on India’s fifty

Since its inception in 1990, the Katha Prize Stories series had become something of an institution in the world of Indian literature …

Releasing the book at a quiet function attended by Nirmal Verma and Rajendra Yadav, among other luminaries, Dr Manmohan Singh commented on the impact some of the characters in the stories made on him.

Dr Manmohan Singh … [referred in his speech to how] “Literature creates awareness; that role needs to be preserved. Katha’s work is of tremendous significance in building a new India. All of us in public life need to ensure that Katha flourishes.”

– Nilanjana S Roy

The Authors

Anil Vyas
Dhruba Hazarika
Irathina Karikalan
Jayanta Kumar Chakravarthy
P Lankesh
N S Madhavan
Mohinder Singh Sarna
Priya Vijay Tendulkar
Pudhuvai Ra Rajani
Rawindra Pingé
Shaukat Hayat
P Vatsala
Vishnu Nagar
Yashodara Mishra

The Translators

Sharada Nair
Hephzibah Israel
Kaveri Rastogi
Keerti Ramachandra
Mahasweta Baxipatra
Mitra Phukan
Prachi Deshpande
K M Prema
K E Priyamvada
Roomy Naqvy
Sara Rai
Satjit Wadva

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Assamese: Harekrishna Deka (Gariyoshi)
English: Makarand Paranjape
Gujarati: Prabodh Parikh (Parab)
Hindi: Asad Zaidi (Hans)
Kannada: Nataraj Huliyar (Lankesh Patrike)
Malayalam: K Satchidanandan (Malayala Manorama, India Today)
Marathi: Sudha Naravane (Loksatta, Dipavali)
Oriya: Pratibha Ray (Jhunkara)
Tamil: Ambai (Sathangai, Kavithaasaram)
Urdu: Gopi Chand Narang (Aajkal)
Punjabi: Kaptar Singh Duggal (Aarsee)

Edited by
Geeta Dharmarajan
Meenakshi Sharma

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 224 pages
ISBN 81-85586-52-7 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

Buy now!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 5

A compelling read, this volume showcases the breath taking potential of the Indian short story and affirms that good writing transcends all barriers, linguistic and thematic. Fifteen stories that explore a stunning range of themes, settings and literary styles. Twelve Indian languages feature in this volume. The languages are Asomiya, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

India Today

Prize Catch … the best of India Translated.

"World Class"

In its search for excellence from a pan-Indian selection of contemporary fiction, Katha without doubt, comes out a winner. It has been so ever since its first volume of translated Indian fiction in 1990. Five years down the line, things get only better.

“We had wanted the selection to be more eclectic than in the previous years,” says editor Geeta Dharmarajan in her introduction. She seems to have succeeded. Prize Stories Volume 5, is like a brilliant and stunning patchwork quilt, every piece standing out and holding its own because of its colour, its texture, its unique design. The collection offers a very vast sweep – of languages, styles, content, fertility, arranged marriage, being an Indian abroad, a curious peep into the future and a nostalgic look at the past, are just some of the pegs around which the authors spin out their tales so attractively soaked in the idiom of their land, their province.

But there’s nothing provincial about them. Quintessentially homespun, each translated short story emerges as a highly polished and rounded work of fiction, which can easily hold its own anywhere. These are truly the “world class stories” the editors had hoped for. In a selection so fine it’s difficult to pick out those stories that are more excellent then others. But any reader immediately singles out the favourites. Three stories that will continue to haunt me are “Unclaimed” (translated from Kannada), “Wing” (translated from Marathi) and “The Pigman” (translated from Malayalam). “Unclaimed,” taking off from the modest shop of a picture framer, soars high into realms of empathy and compassion. The here-and-now needs of a slum dweller make lofty sentiment seem absurd. “Wings,” the story of a “choiceless” arranged marriage in the family is seen through the eyes of a little girl, Meenu. The trauma of such a marriage impacts even the little Meenu who despite her innocence, can ultimately picture herself as a helpless victim of custom. This is one of the longer works in this volume and perhaps because of this the characters appear a little more finely honed. Delving into the psyche of a disturbed mind, is the fascinating story, “The Pigman,” put together through the unusual format of pages from a diary. The narrative is extremely lucid and in a way, is almost frightening in its clarity.

All three stories are remarkable in their sensitivity and in their lack of embellishment. The style is always straight and uncluttered even if the content is often complex and the prose becomes all the more energetic because of this simplicity of style. The sheer pleasure derived from these Prize Stories says it all for the vibrancy and vigour of India in language fiction.

For those of us who can speak just one or two of our languages, Katha is a godsend. Translators of Indian stories must have just the right, light touch to be able to change the language and yet not lose the culture. The editor echoes a fairly common sentiment when she says, “English, we are told is a ‘cold’ language, incapable of capturing the nuances and emotions of an Indian story.” In the hands of the Katha translators, it’s not so. It is to their credit that none of the stories here seem to have lost any of the vitality, warmth or magic of the original.

– Gouri Salvi
The Authors

Ajit Thakor
U R Anantha Murthy
Asha Bage
Diptiranjan Pattanaik
Harekrishna Deka
Jayant Kaikini
Prasenjit Ranjan Gupta
N Prabhakaran
Shirish Dhoble
T Sreevalli Radhika
Syed Muhammad Ashraf
Tarapada Ray
Thomas Joseph
Usha K R

The Translators

Keerti Ramachandra
Anupama Prabhala Kapse
Aruna Bhowmick
Charusheela Sohoni
Chitta Ranjan Das
D N Bezboruah
Gauri Deshpande
C T Indra
Narayan Hegde
Paul Zacharia
Saleem Kidwai
Upendra Nanavati
Vanajam Ravindran

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Assamese: Indira Goswami (Gariyoshi)
Bangla: Hiranmay Karlekar (Sharadiya Ananda Bazar Patrika)
English: Gurcharan Das
Gujarati: Upendra Nanavati (Gadyaparva)
Hindi: Ashok Vajpeyi (Samaas)
Kannada: H Y Sharada Prasad (Udayavani, Sudha)
Malayalam: K Satchidanandan (India Today)
Marathi: Arvind Dixit (Sadhana)
Oriya: Jiwan Pani (Jhunkara)
Tamil: Vijayalakshmi Quereshi (Unnatham)
Telugu: Madhurantakam Rajaram (Andhra Prabha Sacithra Vara Patrika)
Urdu: Sadiq-ur-Rahman Kidwai (Daar Se Bichhre)

Edited by
Geeta Dharmarajan
Meenakshi Sharma
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 224 pages
ISBN 81-85586-35-7 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

Friday, April 13, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 4

Seventeen stories from Asomiya, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu, that recreate the fascinating fabric that is India, urban and rural. Woven into them is a range of emotions – from the plutonic to the oedipal, the humorous to the poignant, the simple to the intricate.

This collection reiterates that the KPS volumes have indeed become “an anxiously awaited yearly event, watched alike by discerning readers in India and abroad as well as by writers, translators and literary journals.”

India Today

Katha is literally a literary institution. It’s a non-profit making society devoted to “enhancing the pleasures of reading.” Every year it publishes in English a collection of short stories originally written in various Indian languages. This year, women and children come first, stories with adult males as the central characters are in a minority … This collection paints striking portraits of male-female relationships …

Translation is the essence of national integration. The discovery of the wealth of Indian creative writing through translation is an inspiration. Katha is part of this discovery.

– Gillian Wright
The Economic Times
(December 25, 1994)

To capture the vibrancy of one language into another requires monk-like devotion. To prepare and present each year, in time, a collection of short stories written in regional languages, translated into English, must bring the zeal closer to frenzy, but nothing deters the Katha team from keeping up to its standards.

Earlier their goal was to provide good, creative English translations of the regional short stories selected by them. Now, the editor argues, the language should be “not ‘bad,’ yet able to let us be ourselves without having to hide our deepest sentiments and emotions behind the restrained façade of ‘proper’ English.” In other words, a bhasha like any other Indian language, capable describing all Indian experiences …

Of the seventeen stories put forward this year, fifteen have been selected from regional languages, while two – “The Weight” and “Zero Sum Game” – were originally written in English. “Zero Sum Game” by Bibhas Sen is pure, unalloyed fun in lucid English. Deriving his subject from something as unliterary as the GATT treaty, the writer has produced a beautiful piece of humorous literature … The other fifteen stories are social in context …

The stories are all exquisitely written and translated pieces, but the one that stands apart for its skilful portrayal of inner conflicts, nodal swirls, artistic competence and, of course, its almost flawless translation is “The Bed.” It doesn’t merely make you think, it shakes up your entire thinking process so that even much later, the images keep coming back to your mind.
Katha undoubtedly provides some of the best Indian short stories written in 1993.

– Sharad Chandra
The Book Review

Katha Prize Stories Volumes 3 and 4

In these days of slipping and sliding values and short-term methods one can only applaud Katha for choosing to walk the “Euclid’s line” in favour of rigorousness and eclecticism …

Awards are presented to the nominators, the authors of the stories, the translators and the editors of the journals where the stories first appeared. The last named category (instituted since 1993) is unusual and remarkable since it highlights the contribution of fiction editors to encourage excellence in fiction. Comprehensive notes accompany each volume representing one knows not how many hours of labour. This is where the Foundation justifies its claim to being a “research” organisation …

Volumes 3 and 4 … are products of the “amrita-manthans” of 91-92 and 93-94. In the first volume eleven Indian languages are represented. The second contains thirteeen stories, the two new entrants being Konkani and Oriya. Especially heart warming is the surfacing of Konkani creativity, a language of a small coastal region ambivalent about its script not very long ago …

In treating the stories of the volume thematically three concerns emerge. The first brings to the fore the uniqueness of the experience of the people of different regions of India …
The second trend …[appears to be] the creative use of Indian archetypes in the modern context …

The two volumes together affirm that on the showing of three years, ’91 to ’94, Indian fiction is thriving … Volume 4 has improved on the quality of production as well. In this as well as other areas, the series of Katha Prize Stories attains the standard of perfection that Katha Vilasam strives for.

– Kalyani Dutta
The Authors
Bibhas Sen
Gauri Deshpande
Madhurantakam Narendra
Manoj Kumar Goswami
Mithra Venkatraj
Pratibha Ray
Swapnamoy Chakraborti
Bolwar Mahamad-Kunhi
Kanji Patel
N S Madhavan
Prakash Narayan Sant
Surendra Prakash
Thanjai Prakash
Vandana Bist

The Translators
Nivedita Menon
Dhananjay Kapse
Gopa Majumdar
Narendra Nair
C Revathi
Sachidananda Mohanty
H Y Sharada Prasad
Gauri Deshpande
Jayeeta Sharma
C N Ramachandran
Sacheen Pai Raikar
Sarala Jag Mohan
Lakshmi Kannan
Vijaya Ghose

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Hindi: Vijay Mohan Singh (India Today)
Bangla: Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhyay (Aajkaal)
Kannada: Ramachandra Sharma (Prajavani, Udayavani)
Marathi: Ganesh N Devy (Mauj, Saptahik Sakal)
Telugu: Allam Rajaiah (India Today)
Urdu: Anisur Rahman (Zehn-e-Jadeed)
English: Rukmini Bhaya Nair
Tamil: Gnani (Subhamangala)
Assamese: Pankaj Thakur (Journal Emporium)
Malayalam: K Satchidanandan (Kala Kaumudi, India Today)
Gujarati: Shirish Panchal (Gadyaparva)
Konkani: Chandrakant Keni (Chitrangi)
Oriya: Sachidananda Mohanty (Jhankara)

Edited by: Geeta Dharmarajan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 272 pages
ISBN 81-85586-20-9 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 3

KPS 3 celebrates both emerging and established writers – the pioneers and the path-breakers who delve with great sensitivity and perception into the moral and psychological paradoxes of our lives.

With stories from ten regional languages and one from English and writing that ranges from the traditional to the avante-garde KPS 3 makes for memorable reading.

The languages featured are Asomiya, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Indian Express
(March 27, 1994)

The stories in this collection … invariably focus attention on trends in short fiction writing today. This genre seems to be flourishing best in regional literature, a veritable gold mine, and Katha’s pioneering efforts to bring out translated versions of these meet an exigent need. They moisten the barren patch of short fiction in English …

Making a selection from a sea of stories is … a tall order. The spread of stories in the volume cuts across opposing regions and the attention paid to make sensitive translations of the originals comes through in the near flawless end products. Apart from a few editing errors, there is perhaps little here to condone.

– Ranjini Rajagopal

The Economic Times
(April 3, 1994)

A pan-Indian panorama

While going through the book, it is hard not to be impressed not only by the stories it contains, but also by the method of their selection, presentation and production. Put together more or less in the manner of Pushcart Prize Stories, Katha Prize Stories 3 offers to English language readers, some of the best short fiction written in regional Indian languages.

With a truly pan-Indian perspective it makes the writers in the country’s many different regions and languages, aware of each other’s works and of the problems and themes currently engaging their attention. Its selections for the yearly edition being strictly restricted to the stories published during the previous year Katha Prize Stories has established itself in a surprisingly short period of three years as an anxiously awaited yearly event watched alike by discerning readers in India and abroad, as well as by writers, translators, and literary journals. Because of the care for quality it has already become a matter of prestige for writers, translators, nominators, journals to find their names included in that year’s Katha collection.

Katha Prize Stories 3 present’s seventeen stories selected from ten Indian languages, chosen by a panel of writers and scholars distinguished not only for their writing but also for their dedication to the cause of literature. The stories focus on the general global problems of erosion of human values (“The Village,” “Yatra”), utter moral deterioration (“Salaam America”), the clash between old traditions and modern ways and the pain suffered by the old on witnessing what appears to them a false life (“Unnikatha”), artificial sophistication which isolates people from each other (“The Island”), women’s rebellion and liberation (“The Verdict,” “No Regrets”) and the travails of prostitution (“The Manic Nymph”). At least one story takes up the much discussed problem of AIDS, calling it “Another name for the Deluge.” The specific Indian problem of caste discrimination (“Ashoka”) is also represented, as is the internationally prevalent problem of the abuse of child labour (in “Fireworks”).

The stories have all previously been published, discussed, debated and recognized for their artistic excellence and, in most cases, deservedly awarded a literary honour. The featured writers are well known, celebrated names. But “Fireworks” stands out as extremely relevant in the present socio-political condition.

“Fireworks” touches upon the cruel, almost inhuman practice of employing young children in industrial sectors, in hazardous jobs, without even the barest modicum of safety measures. There children are not only robbed of their innocent childhood, of those tender years which for them will never come back, of killing their dreams and longings even before they could take a proper shape, but are denied any security, and the opportunity to acquire education or skills. If literature can serve any purpose in life narratives of this nature should be sufficient to wake up the so-called custodians of law.

Only the translations are new to this collection. These are very well done, on balance. It is the first publication which gives as much recognition to translators and the job of translation as to the original writing and original writers … it is a book to be read and recommended to readers wanting to know contemporary Indian literature.

– Sharad Chandra

The Economic Times
(April 3, 1994)

Translating sights and smells of everyday life

All the seventeen prize winning stories … gracing Volume 3 … carry in them the smells and sights of everyday life, the churning of minds and hearts in a fast changing age where force of gravity is a law best forgotten … Katha seems determined to be an ongoing story of endeavour.

– Chitra Padmanabhan

The Book Review

Katha Prize Stories Volume 3 … is a reading of depth and concentration in the slow unfurling wisdom about the human predicament. In many ways it is a fundamental collection …

Katha Prize Stories Volume 3 is an important collection. There are seventeen stories in the book ... All have a quiet vivacity in dealing with the human predicament. And many of the stories are literary paradigms upon which a whole social milieu rests.

The Authors

Himanshi Shelat
Paul Zacharia
Suma Josson
Maitreyi Pushpa
Bhagirath Misra
Nataraj Huliyar
Indira Goswami
Era Murugan
Bipin Patel
Sara Joseph
Cho Dharman
Prabha Dixit
M Mukundan
Pravin Patkar
Madhurantakam Rajaram
Nayyar Masood
Abraham Verghese

The Translators

Aditya Behl
M Asaduddin
Digish Mehta
Gita Krishnankutty
Indira Goswami
N S Jagannathan
Kasturi Kanthan
Manu Shetty
Meenakshi Sharma
Mitra Mukherjee Parikh
Neerada Suresh
Ranga Rao
Renuka Ramachandran
K M Sherrif
Subhas Gole
A J Thomas

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Assamese: Atulananda Goswami (Sutradhar)
Gujarati: Gulam Mohammed Sheikh (Abhiyan, Gadyaparva)
Bengali: Anil Gharai (Pratikshana)
English: Rukun Advani
Hindi: Ranjendra Yadav (Hans)
Kannada: D R Nagaraj (Lankesh Patrike)
Malayalam: K Satchidanandan (Malayala Manorama, Matrubhumi, Kerala Kaumudi)
Marathi: Vilas Sarang (Mauj)
Tamil: Venkat Swaminathan (Subhamangala)
Telugu: Vakati Panduranga Rao (Andhra Prabha)
Urdu: Shamsul Haq Usmani (Aajkal)

Edited by: Geeta Dharmarajan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Simrit Brar
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 280 pages
ISBN 81-85586-15-2 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

Buy now!