Thursday, April 5, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: An Introduction

The Katha Prize Stories is an annual anthology of stories from various regional languages in translation. Every December Katha also gives out awards for the best short stories published in the preceding year in different languages. Each author receives the Katha Award for Creative Fiction and the editor of the regional language journal that first published the award-winning story, the Katha Journal Award. Each translator gets the Katha Award for Translation and the AK Ramanujan Award goes to a translator who can, with felicity, translate between two or more Indian languages. A category for oral literature has been introduced this year to celebrate the living tradition of storytelling in our country. The award winning entries are then published in the Katha Prize Stories (KPS). Thirteen such volumes have been published so far. Work on Volume Fourteen and Fifteen is under way.

From each language an eminent personality is chosen as our Nominating Editor. The Nominating Editor is then required to go through all the short stories published in the various journals and magazines in the previous year in a particular language and nominate three. The diverse tastes of editors of diverse magazines and journals ranging from a popular commercial weekly to a quiet small magazine can only add to the richness of the collection. In English, our Nominating Editor also considers unpublished stories. We always try to include as many languages as possible though the KPS series does not even try to be representative. We do not look for known writers necessarily but for Classics of a high literary quality that will stand the test of time.

The three nominated stories are then sent for rough translations. The story, which reads most powerfully in terms of language, style and content, is chosen. This is then sent for a final round of refined translation. After the story comes in to Katha, an intense round of editing is done on the story. Then it is sent to the writers and translators for their approval and suggestions to see that the translation has not deviated from the original in its essence or that there are no inadvertent deletions. These suggestions are incorporated into the story keeping in mind the house style. The same process of sending and getting the story back from the writers and translators for suggestions and alterations happens at least two or three times. Once the story takes its final shape, it is published in the Katha Prize Volume.
Check this space for details and media reviews for our collection!

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