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]

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