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Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe

Born in 1930, Nigerian novelist and poet Chinua Achebe is probably black Africa’s most widely read novelist. His first work, Things Fall Apart, is regarded as a classic of world literature and has been translated into 40 languages.

Key works include: Things Fall Apart (1958), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), Beware, Soul Brother (1971). (In USA Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems (1973), Anthills of the Savanna (1987).

A member of the Ibo people, Chinua Achebe was born into a Christian family in what was then the British colony of Nigeria, but as a child found himself drawn to the customs of his non-Christian neighbours. Educated at a government-run school, he came to love English literature but became increasingly disturbed by the distorted representation of Africans that he found in the works of English writers. His indignation was directly responsible for his decision to become a writer.

Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), showed how the impact of Western influences on traditional Ibo African society was by no means beneficial. Without romanticising Ibo society, Achebe describes a well-ordered and self-sufficient world where “things” only begin to “fall apart” with the arrival of the Europeans. This was to be his theme in other works, such as Arrow of God (1964), which depicted Ibo culture and society in a realistic, unsentimental, often ironic fashion, and confirmed Achebe as one of black Africa’s finest literary voices.

In 1966 Nigeria suffered ethnic violence, and in 1967 civil war broke out, with the Ibos of the eastern region attempting to establish an independent Republic of Biafra. During the three-year struggle Achebe sought to publicise the plight of his people. His collection of poems about the war, Beware, Soul Brother, was published in 1971, appearing in the United States as Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems.

In 1971 he became founding editor of Okike, one of Africa’s most influential literary magazines, which he edited in the United States from 1972, having accepted the post of Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Returning to Nigeria in 1976 Achebe became Professor of English at the University. In 1984 he began work again on a novel which he had started in the 1970s but discontinued because it “seemed like a frivolous thing to be doing” in those troubled times. This eagerly awaited work, titled Anthills of the Savanna, was published in 1987, and described the failure of contemporary African politicians and intellectuals. It was short-listed for the Booker Prize of that year.

Chinua Achebe has received more than twenty honorary doctorates and several international literary prizes. He is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Books in our Library

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Lakshmi Nandan Bora

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Noted Assamese writer Lakshmi Nandan Bora will be honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman for 2008 this year i.e. in 2009 for his novel ‘Kayakalpa’.
The award, instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991, is given every year for an outstanding literary work in any Indian language mentioned in the schedule VIII of the Constitution and published during the past 10 years.
The award carries a cash prize of Rs five lakh.

The Saraswati Samman (सरस्वती सम्मान) is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any Indian language. It is named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India. It includes a monetary award of Rs five lakh (as of 2006). The Saraswati Samman was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation.

Candidates are selected from literary works published in the previous ten years by a panel that included scholars and former award winners. The selected work must have been written in a language listed as an Indian language in the Indian Constitution.

Bora, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his 1986 novel ‘Patal Bhairavi’, is considered as one of the foremost men of letters in Assam today.
‘Kayakalpa’ was chosen for the award after consideration of works published in 22 Indian languages by a selection committee headed by former Chief Justice of India G B Patnaik.

Past Recipients:
* 1991 – Harivanshrai ‘Bachchan’ for his autobiography in four volumes
* 1992 – Ramakant Rath
* 1993 – Vijay Tendulkar
* 1994 – Harbhajan Singh
* 1995 – Balamani Amma for poetry collection Nivedyam
* 1996 – Shamsur Rahman Faruqi for She`r-e Shor-Angez
* 1997 – Manubhai Pancholi
* 1998 – Shankha Ghosh for his anthology Gandharba Kabitaguccha
* 1999 – Indira Parthasarathy
* 2000 – Manoj Das for his novel Amrita Phala (The Nectar Fruit)
* 2001 – Dalip Kaur Tiwana for her novel Katha Kaho Urvashi
* 2002 – Mahesh Elkunchwar for his play Yugant

* 2003 – Govind Chandra Pande for his collection of 163 Sanskrit poems entitled Bhagirathi
* 2004 – Sunil Gangopadhyay for his novel Pratham Alo
* 2005 – K. Ayyappa Panicker for his collection of poems Ayyappa Panikarude Kritikal
* 2006 – Jagannath Prasad Das for his collection of poems Parikrama written in Oriya
* 2007 – Naiyer Masud for his collection of short stories Taoos Chaman Ki Myna (The Myna from Peacock Garden) written in Urdu


 

Filed under: Author of the week

Manju Kapur

 

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Manju Kapur is a professor of English at Miranda House in Delhi. Having done her graduation from Miranda House, Manju did her MA in English from Dalhousie University in Canada and went on do her M Phil from Delhi University. Her first novel, Difficult Daughters, received the Commonwealth Award for the Eurasian region. The book is set during India’s independence struggle and is partially based on the life of Kapur’s own mother, Virmati. With several books to her credit, Manju is, these days, busy “struggling with a novel based in both India and Canada, tentatively called The Immigrant. It’s about an NRI marriage.” Happy that women’s writing has come of age in India, she says, “Women have a lot of things to say. But, unfortunately not much is given to them. However, there is a lot of interest in what women have to say – and many, specially the regional women writers, write under tremendous personal pressure,” she says.

 

Books in your Library

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Call No. 823-MAN-H

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Call No. 823-MAN-D

 

 

Bibliography

Novels
Difficult Daughters. New Delhi: Penguin India, 1998; London: Faber and Faber, 1998.
A Married Woman. New Delhi: India Ink, 2002; London: Faber and Faber, 2003.
Home. New Delhi: Random House India, 2006; London: Faber and Faber, 2006.

New Book

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The immigrant: New Delhi, Faber and Faber,2009

Short Stories
“The Necklace”, in The Harper Collins Book of New Indian Fiction: Contemporary
Writing in English. Ed. Khushwant Singh. New Delhi: Harper Collins, 2005. 73-
77.

Essays and Press Articles
“The Birth of a Baby”, in Birth and Birthgiving: The Power Behind the Shame. Ed. Janet
Chawla. New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications, 2006. 123-135.
“Speaking up for inter ‘community’ or cross class marriages”, in Outlook (New Delhi), 14
January 2007; on-line at <
http://communalism.blogspot.com/>

Courtesy:

Dr Dora Sales Salvador (dsales@trad.uji.es) and Dr Christopher
Rollason (rollason@9online.fr)

Filed under: Author of the week

Githa Hariharan

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Photo courtesy: Pratik Pukayastha)

Githa Hariharan

Githa Hariharan was born in 1954 in Coimbatore, India, and she grew up in Bombay and Manila. She was educated in these two cities and in the United States. She worked as a staff writer in WNET-Channel 13 in New York, and from1979, she worked in Bombay, Madras and New Delhi as an editor, first in a publishing house, then as a freelancer.

In 1995, Hariharan challenged the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act as discriminatory against women. The case, Githa Hariharan and Another vs. Reserve Bank of India and Another, led to a Supreme Court judgment in 1999 on guardianship.

Githa Hariharan’s published work includes novels, short stories, essays, newspaper articles and columns.

Her first novel, The Thousand Faces of Night (1992) won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1993. Her other novels include The Ghosts of Vasu Master (1994), When Dreams Travel (1999), In Times of Siege (2003), and the new Fugitive Histories (2009).

A collection of highly acclaimed short stories, The Art of Dying, was published in 1993, and a book of stories for children, The Winning Team, in 2004.

Githa Hariharan has also edited a volume of stories in English translation from four major South Indian languages, A Southern Harvest (1993); and co-edited a collection of stories for children, Sorry, Best Friend! (1997).

Hariharan’s fiction has been translated into a number of languages including French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Greek, Urdu and Vietnamese; her essays and fiction have also been included in anthologies such as Salman Rushdie’s Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997. Hariharan writes a regular column for the major Indian newspaper The Telegraph.

Githa Hariharan has been Visiting Professor or Writer-in-Residence in several universities, including Dartmouth College and George Washington University in the United States, the University of Canterbury at Kent in the UK, and Jamia Millia Islamia in India.

Courtesy: www.githahariharan.com

 

Author Website

 

 

Book in our Library

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The Thousand Faces of Night

Call No. 823 GIT-T

The Thousand Faces of Night, Githa Hariharan’s first novel, was published in 1992, and was awarded the Commonwealth Prize for the best first novel. That fact acted like a kind of recommendation for me to pick the novel up. The curiosity soon turned into surprise as it was difficult for me to plough through the chaotic nature of the novel. Rather than being called The Thousand Faces of Night, it should have been called The Thousand Thoughts of Githa Hariharan. Well, I have not counted whether there are really thousand thoughts here, but there are certainly quite a few thoughts, and it is not easy to recognise any kind of order amongst them. There is chaos even in the way the story is told, which in fact is a pity as it could have been a very good novel.

The greatest degree of chaos is in the development of the characters – of Devi, her mother, Sita, and the servant, Mayamma. When the book starts, Devi is in the USA. If she did any thing else there apart from getting into a relationship with Dan, a fellow black student, then it is not talked about. The justification given for this relationship, which was never meant to be anything but a temporary one, is that “Dan was Devi’s answer to the white claustrophobia of an all-clean, all-American campus”! Well, Devi returns soon home, to Madras, to her mother, Sita. The Devi one meets after her journey back to India, is not even a shadow of the Devi whom one comes across at the beginning. This Devi is one of the most boring, most colourless characters ever created. She has no initiative, no urge to do anything, and waits passively for others to arrange her life. Well, there are many people like her in the world. The question is then what was the necessity of sending her to US when that experience left no trace at all on her personality? Hariharan hints that Devi’s character developed as it did as a consequence of the many mythological stories told to her in her childhood by her grandmother. So stories after stories are told in this novel. At the beginning it is very interesting to read them. But soon they loose their meaning, perhaps the only time I ever got such a feeling reading our mythological stories.

Well, Devi’s mother arranges her meetings with suitable boys. Devi marries Mahesh. Why? Who knows? There is nothing to sustain the marriage, neither the husband nor the wife have any interest in making the marriage work. Mahesh is one more example of what a husband should not be. Devi lives like a stranger in her own home, with a stranger whom she has married, a father-in-law who quotes for her sayings from Sanskrit books, Mayamma a servant. Mayamma is the second important female characters of this book. She is introduced as if she would be the Indian equivalent of Mrs. Danvers in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, but soon turns out to be nothing but a victim of a heartless husband and mother-in-law, and whose life became worth living only after she came as a servant to Parvatiamma, Mahesh’s mother. Even Mayamma’s philosophical outlooks learnt from the hard life she had had to lead, cannot and do not influence Devi. Mayamma does not judge Devi, does not stop her when the latter decides to elope with Gopal, a musician next door. She could not have as after all she was the servant and Devi was the lady of the house, though she does not understand what that role implies.

About two-thirds into the book it starts getting interesting. The main character there is Sita, Devi’s mother. This Sita is a woman who knows her mind, has clear views on what she wants to achieve. Like the stray branches of the jasmine plant she prunes in her garden, she prunes the stray branches, thoughts, and actions in her life to achieve what she wants to. As a girl, her ambition was to become a great Vina player. She achieves that, but silences her craving for music for ever, when she pulls out the strings of her instrument when the instrument comes in the way of her being accepted as a good wife and a good daughter-in-law. The Sitas and Devis of this novel are very unlike the mythological characters of Sita and Devi. Sita of the novel is very firm in character and stops at nothing which could come in her way. Devi who carries the name of that great goddess, the goddess who vanquished demons as if they were flies, is a person without any back bone. The only times Githa Hariharan’s Devi exhibits any firmness of mind is when she gets into and out of senseless relationships – once with Dan and the next time with Gopal. Both relationships are doomed to be nothing other than temporary answers to the dilemma which Devi faces in her life – dilemma of not knowing what to do with it.

Hariharan is a talented writer. The book has quite a few interesting ideas. Unfortunately they are a bit disjointed.

 

Review courtesy:

Chandra Holm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Author of the week

Samuel Phillips Huntington

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Samuel Phillips Huntington

(April 18, 1927–December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist who gained prominence through his Clash of Civilizations (1993, 1996) thesis of a post-Cold War new world order. Previously, his academic reputation had rested on his analysis of the relationship between the military and the civil government, his investigation of coups d’état, and his more recent analysis of threats posed to the U.S. by contemporary immigration.

Biography

Huntington was born on April 18, 1927, in New York City.[1] He graduated with distinction from Yale University at age 18, served in the U.S. Army, earned his Master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University where he began teaching at age 23.[2] He was a member of Harvard’s department of government from 1950 until his death.From 1959 to 1962 he was an associate professor of government at Columbia University where he was also Deputy Director of The Institute for War and Peace Studies.

His first major book was The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations, (1957) which was highly controversial when it was published but today is regarded as the most influential book on American civil-military relations.[citation needed] He became prominent with his Political Order in Changing Societies (1968), a work that challenged the conventional view of modernization theorists, that economic and social progress would produce stable democracies in recently decolonized countries. As a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, and in an influential 1968 article in Foreign Affairs, he advocated the concentration of the rural population of South Vietnam as a means of isolating the Viet Cong. He also was co-author of The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies, a report issued by the Trilateral Commission in 1976. During 1977 and 1978, in the administration of Jimmy Carter, he was the White House Coordinator of Security Planning for the National Security Council.

Huntington died on December 24, 2008 at age 81 on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.[1]

Political Order in Changing Societies

Main article: Political Order in Changing Societies

In 1968, just as the United States’ war in Vietnam was reaching its apex, Huntington published Political Order in Changing Societies, which was a well thought-out critique of the modernization theory which had driven much US policy in the developing world in the prior decade.

Huntington argues that, as societies modernize, they become more complex and disordered. If the process of social modernization that produces this disorder is not matched by a process of political and institutional modernization–a process which produces political institutions capable of managing the stress of modernization–the result may be violence.

In the 1970s, Huntington applied his theoretical insights as an advisor to governments, both democratic and dictatorial. In 1972, he met with Medici government representatives in Brazil; a year later he published the report “Approaches to Political Decompression”, warning against the risks of a too-rapid political liberalization, proposing graduated liberalization, and a strong party state modeled upon the image of the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). After a prolonged transition, Brazil became democratic in 1985.

Huntington frequently cited Brazil as a success, alluding to his role in his 1988 presidential address to the American Political Science Association, commenting that political science played a modest role in this process. Critics, such as British political scientist Alan Hooper, note that contemporary Brazil has an especially unstable party system, wherein the best institutionalized party, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party emerged in opposition to controlled-transition. Moreover, Hooper claims that the lack of civil participation in contemporary Brazil stems from that top-down process of political participation transition.

 

Main Arguments

The Clash of Civilizations

For more details on this topic, see Clash of Civilizations.

 

A map of civilizations, based on Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”. Bright red = Japanese, dark red = Sinic, orange = Hindu, green = Islamic, medium-light blue = Orthodox, dark blue = Western, purple = Latin American, brown = African. Other colors (light green, yellow, turquoise) indicate mixed civilizations or perhaps attempts to found civilizations.

In 1993, Professor Huntington provoked great debate among international relations theorists with the interrogatively-titled “The Clash of Civilizations?”, an extremely influential, oft-cited article published in Foreign Affairs magazine. Its description of post–Cold War geopolitics contrasted with the influential End of History thesis advocated by Francis Fukuyama.

Huntington expanded “The Clash of Civilizations?” to book length and published it as The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order in 1996. The article and the book posit that post–Cold War conflict would most frequently and violently occur because of cultural rather than ideological differences. That, whilst in the Cold War, conflict likely occurred between the Capitalist West and the Communist Bloc East, it now was most likely to occur between the world’s major civilizations — identifying seven, and a possible eighth: (i) Western, (ii) Latin American, (iii) Islamic, (iv) Sinic (Chinese), (v) Hindu, (vi) Orthodox, (vii) Japanese, and (viii) the African. This cultural organization contrasts the contemporary world with the classical notion of sovereign states. To understand current and future conflict, cultural rifts must be understood, and culture — rather than the State — must be accepted as the locus of war. Thus, Western nations will lose predominance if they fail to recognize the irreconcilable nature of cultural tensions.

Critics (for example articles in Le Monde Diplomatique) call The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order the theoretical legitimization of American-led Western aggression against China and the world’s Islamic cultures. Nevertheless, this post–Cold War shift in geopolitical organization and structure requires that the West internally strengthen itself culturally, by abandoning the imposition of its ideal of democratic universalism and its incessant military interventionism. Other critics argue that Prof. Huntington’s taxonomy is simplistic and arbitrary, and does not take account of the internal dynamics and partisan tensions within civilizations. Huntington’s influence upon U.S. policy has been likened to that of British historian A.J. Toynbee‘s controversial religious theories about Asian leaders in the early twentieth century.

The New York Times obituary on Samuel Huntington notes, however, that his “emphasis on ancient religious empires, as opposed to states or ethnicities, [as sources of global conflict] gained…more cachet after the Sept. 11 attacks.”[3] The LA Times columnist Jonah Goldberg observes that Professor Huntington, whom he called “one of the lions of 20th century social science,” was not shy at spotting trends and making predictions but he did so based on a solid grasp of the facts.[4] Goldberg reports that Huntington’s 1996 “The Clash of Civilizations” work:

“was deeply, and often willfully, misunderstood and mischaracterized by those who didn’t want it to be true. But after 9/11, it largely set the terms for how we look at the world. In it, he argued that culture, religion and tradition are not background noise, as materialists of the left and the right often argue. Rather, they constitute the drumbeat to which whole civilizations march. This view ran counter to important constituencies. The idea that man can be reduced to homo economicus has adherents among some free-market economists, most Marxists and others. But it’s nonsense on stilts. Most of the globe’s intractable conflicts are more clearly viewed through the prisms of culture and history than that of the green eyeshade. Tensions between India and Pakistan or Israel and the Arab world have little to do with GDP.”[4]


Who Are We and immigration

Professor Huntington’s latest book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, was published in May 2004. Its subject is the meaning of American national identity and the possible cultural threat posed to it by large-scale Latino immigration, which Huntington warns could “divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages“.

There is some criticism about this book. For details see Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity.


Others

Huntington is credited with coining the phrase Davos Man, referring to global elites who “have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”. The phrase refers to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders of the global economy meet.[5]

Selected Publications

 

HuntingtonClash

Courtesy : Wilkipedia

Filed under: Author of the week

Harold Pinter

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Harold Pinter, CH, CBE, Nobel Laureate (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008), was a renowned English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, political activist, and president of the Central School of Speech and Drama.[1][2] After publishing poetry as a teenager and acting in school plays, Pinter began his theatrical career in the mid-1950s as a rep actor using the stage name David Baron. During a writing career spanning over half a century, beginning with his first play, The Room (1957), Pinter wrote 29 stage plays; 26 screenplays; many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays; poetry; some short fiction; a novel; and essays, speeches, and letters.

He is best known as a playwright and screenwriter, especially for The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), all of which he adapted to film, and for his screenplay adaptations of others’ works, such as The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed almost 50 stage, TV, and film productions of his own and others’ works.[3] Despite frail health since 2001, he continued to act on stage and screen, the last being the critically-acclaimed October 2006 production of Samuel Beckett‘s Krapp’s Last Tape, during the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court. In addition to continuing to write (mostly poetry), give interviews, speak about political issues, and attend theatrical and cinematic premieres of his own and others’ works, he accepted the presidency of the Central School of Speech and Drama in October 2008.[1][2]

Pinter’s dramas often involve strong conflicts among ambivalent characters fighting for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own remembered versions of the past; stylistically, they are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, provocative imagery, witty dialogue, ambiguity, irony, and menace (“Biobibliographical Notes”). Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual human identity oppressed by social forces, the power of language, and vicissitudes of memory.[4] Like his work, Pinter has been considered complex and contradictory (Billington, Harold Pinter 388). Although Pinter publicly eschewed applying the term “political theatre” to his own work in 1981, he began writing overtly political plays in the mid-1980s, reflecting his own heightening political interests and changes in his personal life.[5] This “new direction” in his work and his “Leftist” political activism stimulated additional critical debate about Pinter’s politics.[5] Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary (“Biobibliographical Notes”; Merritt, Pinter in Play; Grimes).

Pinter was the recipient of nineteen honorary degrees and numerous other honors and awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the French Légion d’honneur. Academic institutions and performing arts organizations have devoted symposia, festivals, and celebrations to honouring him and his work, in recognition of his cultural influence and achievements across genres and media. In awarding Pinter the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, instigating some public controversy and criticism, the Swedish Academy cited him for being “generally regarded as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century.”[6] He received his nineteenth honorary degree from the Central School of Speech and Drama in absentia due to illness on 10 December 2008.[7] On 25 December, his wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, announced that he had died, from cancer, on 24 December 2008.[8][9][10][11]

Creative Life

Playwright
THE ROOM (1957); THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (1957); THE DUMB WAITER (1957); A SLIGHT ACHE (1958); THE HOTHOUSE (1958); THE CARETAKER (1959); SKETCHES: The Black and White; Trouble in the Works (1959); Last to Go; Request Stop; Special Offer (1960); That’s Your Trouble; That’s All; Interview(1964); A NIGHT OUT (1959); NIGHT SCHOOL (1960); THE DWARFS (1960); THE COLLECTION (1961); THE LOVER (1962); TEA PARTY (1964); THE HOMECOMING (1964); THE BASEMENT (1966); LANDSCAPE (1967); SILENCE (1968); SKETCH Night (1969); OLD TIMES (1970); MONOLOGUE (1972); NO MAN’S LAND (1974); BETRAYAL (1978); FAMILY VOICES (1980); and with VICTORIA STATION and A KIND OF ALASKA under the title OTHER PLACES (1982); SKETCH Precisely (1983); ONE FOR THE ROAD (1984); MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE (1988); THE NEW WORLD ORDER (1991); PARTY TIME (1991); MOONLIGHT (1993); ASHES TO ASHES (1996); CELEBRATION (1999); SKETCH Press Conference (2002); SKETCH Apart From That (2006).
Screenwriter
THE CARETAKER (1962); THE PUMPKIN EATER (1963); THE SERVANT (1963); THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM (1965); ACCIDENT (1966); THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (1967); THE GO-BETWEEN (1969); THE HOMECOMING (1969); LANGRISHE GO DOWN (1970) adapted for TV 1978; A LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU (1972) not filmed; THE LAST TYCOON(1974); THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1980); BETRAYAL (1981); VICTORY (1982) not filmed; TURTLE DIARY (1984); THE HANDMAID’S TALE (1987); REUNION (1988); THE HEAT OF THE DAY (1988); THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS (1989); THE TRIAL (1989); THE DREAMING CHILD (1997) not filmed; THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR (2000) not filmed; SLEUTH (2007)
Radio
VOICES (2005).
Director
Plays
THE COLLECTION (with Peter Hall) (1962); THE LOVER and THE DWARFS (1963); THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (1964); Robert Shaw’s THE MAN IN THE GLASS BOOTH London (1967) and New York (1968); James Joyce’s EXILES (1970); Simon Gray ‘s BUTLEY (1971); John Hopkin’s NEXT OF KIN (1974); Simon Gray ‘s OTHERWISE ENGAGED London (1975) and New York (1977); William Archibald’s THE INNOCENTS New York (1976); Noel Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT (1976); Simon Gray ‘s THE REAR COLUMN (1978); Simon Gray ‘s CLOSE OF PLAY (1979); THE HOTHOUSE (1980); Simon Gray ‘s QUARTERMAINE’S TERMS (1981); Robert East’s INCIDENT AT TULSE HILL (1981); Jean Giraudoux’s THE TROJAN WAR WILL NOT TAKE PLACE (1983); Simon Gray ‘s THE COMMON PURSUIT (1984); ONE FOR THE ROAD (1984); Tennessee Williams’ SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (1985); Donald Freed’s CIRCE AND BRAVO (1986); Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s VANILLA (1990); PARTY TIME and MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE (1991); THE NEW WORLD ORDER (1991); David Mamet’s OLEANNA (1993); LANDSCAPE (1994); Ronald Harwood ‘s TAKING SIDES (1995); Reginald Rose’s TWELVE ANGRY MEN (1996); ASHES TO ASHES 1996; Simon Gray ‘s LIFE SUPPORT 1997; ASHES TO ASHES in Italy (1997); ASHES TO ASHES in France (1998); Simon Gray ‘s THE LATE MIDDLE CLASSES (1999); CELEBRATION and THE ROOM (2000); NO MAN’S LAND (2001); Simon Gray ‘s THE OLD MASTERS (2004)

Films

BUTLEY (1974)

Television

Simon Gray’s THE REAR COLUMN (1980); THE HOTHOUSE (1982); MOUNTAIN LANGUAGE (1988); PARTY TIME (1992); LANDSCAPE (1995); ASHES TO ASHES Italy (1998).
Actor
Theatre
Toured Ireland with Anew McMaster repertory company (1951-52) Donald Wolfit Company, King’s Theatre, Hammersmith (1953-54) Rep at Chesterfield, Whitby, Huddersfield, Colchester, Bournemouth, Torquay, Birmingham, Palmers Green, Worthing, Richmond (1953-59) THE CARETAKER – Mick Duchess Theatre (1960) THE HOMECOMING – Lenny Watford Theatre (1969) OLD TIMES – Deeley Los Angeles (1985) NO MAN’S LAND – Hirst Almeida & Comedy Theatre (1992-3) THE HOTHOUSE – Roote Chichester Festival Theatre, Comedy Theatre (1995) LOOK EUROPE! – Tramp, Almeida Theatre (1997) THE COLLECTION – Harry, Gate Theatre, Dublin (1997) & Donmar Warehouse (1998), ONE FOR THE ROAD – Nicolas, New Ambassadors Theatre, London (2001) & Lincoln Center Festival, New York, USA (2001), SKETCH Press Conference, Royal National Theatre (2002)
Film
THE SERVANT – Society Man (1964) ACCIDENT – Bell (1967) THE RISE AND RISE OF MICHAEL RIMMER – Steven Hench (1970) TURTLE DIARY – Man in Bookshop (1985) MOJO – Sam Ross (1997) MANSFIELD PARK – Sir Thomas (1998) THE TAILOR OF PANAMA – Uncle Benny (2000)
Television
A NIGHT OUT – Seeley (1960) HUIS CLOS by Jean Paul Sartre – Garcia (1965) THE BASEMENT – Stott (1967) ROGUE MALE by Clive Donner – Lawyer (1976) LANGRISHE, GO DOWN – Shannon (1978) THE BIRTHDAY PARTY – Goldberg (1987) BREAKING THE CODE by Hugh Whitemore – John Smith (1997) CATASTROPHE by Samuel Beckett – Director (2000) WIT by Margaret Edson – Father (2000)
Radio
PLAYERS – Narrated by Harold Pinter with Edward de Souza FOCUS ON FOOTBALL POOLS and FOCUS ON LIBRARIES (1951) HENRY VIII – Abergevenny (1951) MR PUNCH PASSES – Narrator (1951) A NIGHT OUT – Seeley (1960) THE EXAMINATION – Reading (1962) TEA PARTY – Reading (1964) MONOLOGUE – Man (1975) ROUGH FOR RADIO by Samuel Beckett – Man (1976) BETRAYAL – Robert (1990) THE PROUST SCREENPLAY – The voice of the Screenplay (1995) I HAD TO GO SICK by Julian McLaren Ross – Reading (1998) MOONLIGHT – Andy (2000) A SLIGHT ACHE – Edward (2000)
Awards
CBE, 1966; Shakespeare Prize (Hamburg) 1970; European Prize for Literature (Vienna) 1973; Pirandello Prize (Palermo) 1980; Chilean Order of Merit, 1992; The David Cohen British Literature Prize 1995; Honorary fellow of Queen Mary College, London; Laurence Olivier Special Award 1996; Molire d’Honneur, Paris in recognition of his life’s work, 1997; Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence 1997; BAFTA Fellowship 1997; Companion of Literature, RSL 1998; The Critics’ Circle Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts 2000; Brianza Poetry Prize, Italy 2000; South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, 2001; S.T. Dupont Golden Pen Award 2001 for a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature; ‘Premio Fiesole ai Maestri del Cinema’, Italy, 2001; World Leaders Award, Toronto, Canada, 2001; Hermann Kesten Medallion for outstanding commitment on behalf of persecuted and imprisoned writers, awarded by German P.E.N., Berlin, Germany, 2001; Companion of Honour for services to Literature, 2002; Diploma “ad Honorem”, Teatro Filodrammatici, Milan , Italy 2004; Evening Standard Theatre Awards, 50th Anniversary – Special Award, 2004; Wilfred Owen Poetry Prize, 2005; Frank Kafka Prize, 2005; Nobel Prize for Literature, 2005; European Theatre Prize, 2006; Serbian Foundation Prize, 2006; St George Plaque of the City of Kragujevac, 2006; Legion d’Honneur, 2007

Honorary degrees from the Universities of Reading 1970; Birmingham 1971; Glasgow 1974; East Anglia 1974; Stirling 1979; Brown (Rhode Island) 1982; Hull 1986; Sussex 1990; East London 1994; Sofia (Bulgaria) 1995; Bristol 1998; Goldmiths, University of London 1999; University of Aristotle, Thessaloniki 2000; University of Florence, Italy, 2001; University of Turin, Italy, 2002 and National University of Ireland, Dublin 2004; University of Leeds 2007.

Filed under: Author of the week,

Jeet Thayil

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Born in Kerala, Jeet Thayil is a performance poet, songwriter and musician. He has authored four collections of poetry in English, and is editor of the forthcoming Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (2008). Educated in Hong Kong, New York and Mumbai, he is currently based in Bangalore. As a musician who plays guitar, he works with ‘Bombay Down’ (NYC) and ‘Sridhar/ Thayil’ (Bangalore).
Writes poet Vijay Seshadri of his work: “He seems to be one of the most contemporary writers I know, and contemporary precisely because he has such command of the poetic and historical past, and because his invented language has such depth, archaeological richness, and reality.”

Thayil’s is a distinct and versatile poetic voice. His idiom is the result of a cosmopolitan blend of styles, and is yet, quite clearly, his own. The strength of this writing is that it has been able to locate that elusive, borderless terrain between the musical cadence and the spoken voice, between lyric power and intellectual rigour.

In these poems from a recent book, These Errors Are Correct (published only in India), the theme of belonging is implicated in a variety of idiosyncratic ways: whether it’s belonging to a drug (“the thick sweet amaze of heroin”) or to a tribe empowered by metaphor (“it takes a lot/ of cash to keep me/ in the poverty to which I’m accustomed.”); whether it’s belonging to the hard-won zones between the local and the global, “between the spirit and the flesh” or to the spaces “between/ thought and its correct/ articulation.”

Thayil’s poetry leaves the reader with a sense of danger, of language teetering wildly on the edge of some precipice, between centuries, between continents, between fleetingly improvised realms, suspended somewhere between history and invention, reality and nowhereness.

As a reader, you’re convinced that something’s got to give; you’re convinced that this precarious equipoise between music and metaphor cannot hold. That it does — and sometimes spectacularly — is tribute to the fact that for all its praise of “a mind of sky, of rubber”, Thayil’s work is grounded in an internalised and finely honed understanding of poetic form.

Courtesy: Arundhathi Subramaniam

Book in our Library

9780143064428

Bibliography

Poetry
These Errors Are Correct, Tranquebar Books (EastWest and Westland), Delhi,  2008
English, Penguin, Delhi and Rattapallax Press, New York, 2004. ISBN 1-892494-59-0
Apocalypso , Aark Arts, London, 1997, ISBN 1-89917901-1
Gemini-2, Penguin-Viking, New Delhi, 1992. (two-poet volume )

as Editor
The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets: Bloodaxe, U.K, 2008, Penguin India, forthcoming.
Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora, Routledge, 2006
Give the Sea Change and It Shall Change: 56 Indian Poets, Fulcrum, 2005
Vox2: Seven Stories, Sterling Newspapers, India, 1997

Links

MySpace: music of Jeet Thayil and Suman Sridhar
Softblow, Varnamala, Saltpublishing: websites featuring Jeet Thayil’s poems
Book Post: Jeet Thayil interviewedy by Hemant Sareen


Filed under: Author of the week,

Gyanpeth Awards 2005, 2006

 

image

Kunwar Narayan(Hindi), 2005

(b. 1927) -– Kunwar Narayan was born in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. He received a Master’s degree in English literature from Lucknow University. He is a businessman by profession. He has served as Vice-chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy in 1976-79 and as a member of the editorial board of Naya Pratik ( The New Symbol), a monthly magazine edited by S. H. Vatsyayan, during 1975-78. Among his important works are Chakravyooh (Poetry), Teesra Saptak (Poetry), Parivesh Hum Tum (Poetry), Koi Doosra Naheen (Poetry), Atmajayee (Epic), Akaron Ke Aas-Paas (Short Stories) and Aaj Aur Aaj Se Pehley (Criticism). Among the honours he has received are Hindustani Academy Award, Prem Chand Award, Tulsi Award, Vyas Samman, Kumarn Asan Award and Sahitya Akademi Award (1995). Address : S-371,Greater Kailash, New Delhi 110 048.

In the early 1950s, shortly after Independence, the nai kavita (new poetry) movement in Hindi brought together the prayogvad (modernist experimentalism) and the pragativad (political progressivism) that had emerged in the preceding two decades. Among the younger progressives and experimentalists who established their reputations in the new poetic movement were Kunwar Narayan and Kedarnath Singh. Kunwar Narayan was born in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, in 1927, and received a Master’s degree in English literature from Lucknow University. He is a businessman by profession and lives in Lucknow. His short stories are collected in Akaron ke ass pass (In the Vicinity of Shapes; 1971) and among his volumes of poetry are Atmajayi (Self-Conquerer; 1965) and Apne samane (Before Us; 1979). He has served as vice-chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy (the state academy of music and the performing arts) in 1976-79 and as a member of the editorial board of Naya Pratik (The New Symbol), a monthly magazine edited by S. H. Vatsyayan, during 1975-78. His honors include the Hindustani Academy award for poetry in 1971 and the Uttar Pradesh government’s Premchand Puraskar for fiction in 1972-73. Since the 1960s, Hindi readers have regarded Narayan as one of the more difficult contemporary experimental poets in the language, concerned with a wide range of historical, political, cultural, and psychological issues.

 

Shastri-King's Award-opt

Satya Vrat Shastri (Sanskrit), 2006

(or Satyavrat Shastri) is a Sanskrit scholar. He is an honorary professor at the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was the Head of the Department of Sanskrit and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Delhi, where he was the Pandit Manmohan Nath Dar Professor of Sanskrit [1970-1995]. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Sanskrit from the Punjab University, and his Ph.D from the Banaras Hindu University.[1]

Satya Vrat Shastri was also the Vice-Chancellor of Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri, Orissa, and a visiting professor at the Chulalongkorn and Silpakorn Universities in Bangkok, the Northeast Buddhist University, Nongkhai, Thailand, the University of Tubingen, Tübingen, Germany, the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He also taught Sanskrit to Thailand‘s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn [1977-1979]. [2] [3] [4]

Satya Vrat Shastri has written several poetic works in Sanskrit. His current research projects are the Sanskrit inscriptions and Hindu temples in Thailand, Kalidasa Studies, a critical edition of the Yogavasishtha, the Sanskritic vocabulary of South East Asia, and the Rama story in South East Asia.

  • Brhattaram Bharatam ( A Kavya in Sanskrit ) Sarasvati Susama, Journal of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, Vol. XII, No. 1, Samvat 2014

  • Sribodhisattvacaritam (A Kavya in Sanskrit), First Ed. Self Publication, Delhi, Samvat 2017 (A.D. 1960) pages iv+ 120, Second Ed. Meharchand Lacchmandas, Delhi 1974,

  • Srigurugovindasimhacaritam (A Kavya in Sanskrit) (With a Foreword by Dr. V.Raghavan), First Ed. Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Patiala, 1967, Second Ed. Sahitya Bhandar, Meerut, 1984,

  • Sarmanyadesah Sutaram Vibhati (A Kavya in Sanskrit), Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad, Lucknow, 1976

  • Indira Gandhi-caritam (A Kavya in Sansktir), Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan, Delhi, 1976,

  • Thaidesavilasam (A Kavya in Sanskrit) (With a Foreword by Prof. Visudh Busyakul), Easten Book Linkers, Delhi 1979

  • Sriramakirtimahakavyam (A Kavya in Sanskrit) ( with a foreword by Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Princess of Thailand), Moolamall Sachdev and Amarnath Sachdeva Foundations, Bangkok, First Ed. 1990 , Second Ed. 1991, Third Ed. 1995.

  • Patrakavyam (A Kavya in Sanskrit), Eastern Book Linkers, Delhi 1994

  • New Experiments in Kalidasa (Plays), Eastern Book Linkers, Delhi 1994

Author website

Raveendra Kelkar (Konkani), 2006

Filed under: Author of the week

Stephen R. Covey

stephen-r-covey

Recognized as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey has dedicated his life to demonstrating how every person can truly control their destiny with profound, yet straightforward guidance. As an an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, his advice has given insight to millions.


Some of Stephen R. Covey’s milestones:

  • Over 20 million books sold (in 38 languages)
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century
  • Authored four titles with sales exceeding one million copies each: First Things First , Principle-Centered Leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Latest book, The 8th Habit , has sold nearly 400,000 copies
  • International Man of Peace Award
  • National Fatherhood Award (father of 9, grandfather of 44)
  • Author of the best-selling nonfiction audio in history (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
  • No. 1 best-selling hardcover book on family (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families)
  • MBA from Harvard, doctorate degree from Brigham Young University
  • Board of directors for the Points of Light Foundations
  • Co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, the leading global professional services firm with offices in 123 countries
  • International Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Awarded eight honorary doctorate degrees

Courtesy: http://www.stephencovey.com

Books

Dr Stephen R Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

(Available in the Library: Call No.155.25  COV-H)

Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been a top-seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. Celebrating its fifteenth year of helping people solve personal and professional problems, this special anniversary edition includes a new foreword and afterword written by Covey exploring the question of whether the 7 Habits are still relevant and answering some of the most common questions he has received over the past 15 years.

 

The 8th Habit

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Everyday Greatness

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Author website

Filed under: Author of the week

Michael Crichton

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John Michael Crichton, M.D. pronounced /ˈkraɪtən/ [1], (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008[2][3]) was an American author, film producer, film director, medical doctor, and television producer best known for his science fiction and techno-thriller novels, films, and television programs. His books have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. His works were usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology.

Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. He was the author of The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Disclosure, Timeline, State of Fear, Prey, and Next. He was also the creator of ER, but most famous for being the author of Jurassic Park, and its sequel The Lost World, both adapted into high grossing films and leading to the very successful franchise.

Biography

Crichton was born in Chicago,[4] Illinois, to John Henderson Crichton and Zula Miller Crichton, and raised in Roslyn, Long Island, New York.[1] He has two sisters, Kimberly and Catherine, and a younger brother, Douglas.

He attended Harvard College as an undergraduate, graduating summa cum laude in 1964.[5] Crichton was also initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He went on to become the Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellow from 1964 to 1965 and Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, obtaining an M.D. in 1969, and did post-doctoral fellowship study at the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, from 1969 to 1970. In 1988, he was Visiting Writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While in medical school, he wrote novels under the pen names John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. A Case of Need, written under the latter pseudonym, won the 1969 Edgar Award for Best Novel. He also co-authored Dealing with his younger brother Douglas under the shared pen name Michael Douglas. The back cover of that book contains a picture of Michael and Douglas at a very young age taken by their mother.

His two pen names were both created to reflect his above-average height. According to his own words, he was about 2.06 meters (6 feet 9 inches) tall in 1997.[6] Lange is a familyname in Germany, meaning “tall one” and Sir Jeffrey Hudson was a famous 17th century dwarf in the court of Queen Consort Henrietta Maria of England.

Crichton has admitted to having once, during his undergraduate study, plagiarized a work by George Orwell and submitted it as his own. According to Crichton the paper was received by his professor with a mark of “B−”. Crichton has claimed that the plagiarism was not intended to defraud the school, but rather as an experiment. Crichton believed that the professor in question had been intentionally giving him abnormally low marks, and so as an experiment Crichton informed another professor of his idea and submitted Orwell’s paper as his own work.[7]

Crichton was married five times and divorced four times. He was married to Suzanna Childs, Joan Radam (1965–1970), Kathy St. Johns (1978–1980) and Anne-Marie Martin, the mother of his only child, daughter Taylor Anne. At the time of his passing, Crichton was married to Sherri Alexander.

Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, after a private battle against cancer, according to a statement released by his family.[2][8][9]

Books

crichton2

Crichton’s works are frequently cautionary in that his plots often portray scientific advancements going awry, commonly resulting in worst-case scenarios. A notable recurring theme in Crichton’s plots is the pathological failure of complex systems and their safeguards, whether biological (Jurassic Park), military/organizational (The Andromeda Strain) or cybernetic (Westworld). This theme of the inevitable breakdown of “perfect” systems and the failure of “fail-safe measures” can be seen strongly in the poster for Westworld (slogan: “Where nothing can possibly go worng ..” (sic) ) and in the discussion of chaos theory in Jurassic Park.

Contrary to certain perceptions, Crichton was not anti-technology. Although his works often portray scientists and engineers as arrogant and closed-minded to the potential threat a technology represents, there is always a well-educated author surrogate who states that failures are simply part of the scientific process and one should simply maintain a state of awareness and preparation for their inevitable occurrence.

The use of author surrogate was a feature of Crichton’s writings from the beginning of his career. In A Case of Need, one of his pseudonymous whodunit stories, Crichton used first-person narrative to portray the hero, a Bostonian pathologist, who is running against the clock to clear a friend’s name from medical malpractice in a girl’s death from a hack-job abortion.

Some of Crichton’s fiction uses a literary technique called false document. For example, Eaters of the Dead is a fabricated recreation of the Old English epic Beowulf in the form of a scholarly translation of Ahmad ibn Fadlan‘s 10th century manuscript. Other novels, such as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, incorporate fictionalized scientific documents in the form of diagrams, computer output, DNA sequences, footnotes and bibliography. However, some of his novels actually include authentic published scientific works to illustrate his point, as can be seen in The Terminal Man and the more recent State of Fear.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Crichton Movies


Filed under: Author of the week, ,

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