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‘The Butterfingers Series’ by Khyrunnisa: A perfect gift for every child

The popular Butterfingers series of humorous books published by Penguin Random House India (Puffin) have been written by Khyrunnisa A. There are six books in the series so far, and the latest, Of Course It’s Butterfingers! was launched on December 9, 2018 in Trivandrum by Dr Shashi Tharoor, who has launched the previous five books too.

The first three books are sports-based novels – Howzzat Butterfingers! (2010), Goal Butterfingers! (2012) and Clean Bowled, Butterfingers! (2015) – and the next three are collections of short stories – The Misadventures of Butterfingers (2016), Run, It’s Butterfingers Again! (2017) and Of Course It’s Butterfingers! (2018)

They are hilarious books that centre around a high-spirited thirteen year old boy called Amar Kishen who, by virtue of being clumsy and accident-prone, has earned for himself the nickname Butterfingers.  He is a Class VIII student of Green Park High School and has a set of whacky friends to give him company in his never-ending misadventures.

About the series

Image result for howzzat butterfingers

‘The imaginative world conjured by Khyrunnisa in the Butterfingers stories is charming, witty and boisterous, full of good-humoured mischief and benign fun, stylishly and effortlessly evoked through the clear-eyed magic of her captivation prose

Through the Butterfingers series, Khyrunnisa has made possible the advent of a genuinely popular children’s literature in Indian writing in English with hilarious, believable experiences couched in fluent and entertaining language.

With sports at the heart of many stories, the Butterfingers books are delightful and make school sound like so much fun. Khyrunnisa’s Butterfingers is a gift to the children of our nation!’: Shashi Tharoor

‘Khyrunnisa A’s Butterfingers series has bowled over readers, cricketers and celebrities alike’ :The Hindu

‘The adolescent antics of the hero of the Butterfingers series are subtle primers for real-life challenges. At an age when superheroes and mythology rule the roost in children’s literature, writer Khyrunnisa A is a trail blazer. (Butterfingers) has a unique style….It is witty, based on the theme of sports and has real-life situations. However, it also has social criticism and attempts to develop interest in literature in a subtle way. Interestingly, the Butterfingers series is enjoyed by adults too, especially those interested in sports’: Times of India

Howzzat Butterfingers!

Image result for howzzat butterfingers‘What great fun. It brings back long lost memories of my Prep School days’ :Mansur Ali Khan ( Nawab of Pataudi)

Howzzat Butterfingers! packs in all the high-voltage drama that an inter school cricket match can supply….A great read for cricket lovers, both young and old.’: The Telegraph (Calcutta)

 The complete quote is, ‘The school story has always been the favourite genre of middle graders. But Indian authors have struggled to keep up with Hughes, Blyton, Brent-Dyer, Buckeridge and Rowling. This book gives them a run for their money with its plot – cricket, a hidden will and pranks – sheer readability and wholesomeness’.-The Week

Goal, Butterfingers!

rejacket of goal butterfingers

‘Goal is an enthralling offering’: The Hindu

‘Tastier than candy bars’: Deccan Chronicle

‘Packed with lots of fun and pranks that define childhood’: Sakal Times

Clean Bowled, Butterfingers!

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‘Clean Bowled, Butterfingers! is an exuberant mix of school, cricket and fun that bowled me over and kept me laughing from beginning to end. A delightful read’: VVS Laxman

‘Khyrunnisa does it again with this latest instalment of the Butterfingers saga. Clean Bowled is amusingly written, imaginatively plotted and always delightful, with martinet principals, jewel thieves, smelly gloves, exploding sapotas and an exciting cricketing climax. Wish I could be a kid again to savour the fun even more!’: Shashi Tharoor

The Misadventures of Butterfingers

jacket of misadventures of butterfingers

‘Khyrunnisa’s done it again!  She’s woken me up. And I take after my closest relative, the sloth, I sleep a lot ! Her racy and action-packed stories of Amar remind me of one of my favourite authors, Richmal Crompton . I got a crash course in Shakespeare, a memory recall of my own principal’s accident, and who doesn’t relate to roller skates disasters?  It’s a lovely, rollicking throwback to one’s school years. Amar is a desi “William”.
Khyrunnisa, I bow to thee’ :Cyrus Broacha

‘Butterfingers is back! That’s the good news for all those who have enjoyed Khyrunnisa’s wonderful character. And for those of you who don’t know who he is, what better way to begin than with these delightful short stories where a ghost walks the halls of the school and Shakespeare gets a mauling. Enjoy!’: Jerry Pinto

‘As a fellow butterfingers, I am a big fan of Amar of Class VIII. The whole world would be a dull place without dropped catches and broken dishes’ :Ruskin Bond

Run, It’s Butterfingers Again!

run it's butterfingers again cover

‘Whether you are sixty or sixteen, there is a character for all of us in this fifth instalment of Butterfingers, packed with the exploits of Amar and his friends who keep us thoroughly entertained till the last page. Exceptionally witty and cleverly plotted, Khyrunnisa has given us yet again a perfectly captivating read’. Shashi Tharoor

‘Driven by the hilariously original escapades of Amar and his friends, the stories in Khyrunnisa’s Run, It’s Butterfingers Again! offer a wonderfully crafted walk down memory lane, straight back to those everyday excitements and adventures that lurk in every classroom and in the life of every schoolchild.’ :Manu S. Pillai

Of Course It’s Butterfingers!

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Like a good game of cricket, this book keeps you hooked till the very end!’ :Mithali Raj, captain, Women’s National Cricket Team

‘Who’s at his every-disaster-has-a-silver-lining best? Who can snatch defeat (almost) from the jaws of victory? The Wizard of the Woeful … the Foremost Lord of the Foul-Up… the Bumbling Baron of Blunders…of course it’s Butterfingers! I laughed, loved it and look forward to the rematch’ :Robin Jeffrey, academic and writer.

Links

Author website

https://penguin.co.in/author/a-khyrunnisa/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyrunnisa_A.

https://www.amazon.in/Course-Its-Butterfingers-Khyrunnisa/dp/0143443267

Filed under: Author of the week

Charlie and Lola creator Lauren Child named children’s laureate

The much loved author and illustrator will succeed Chris Riddell as a national champion of books for youngsters

‘I learned a lot from television’ … Lauren Child.
‘I learned a lot from television’ … Lauren Child. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

Lauren Child, the author-illustrator of the much loved Charlie and Lola books, has been named the new Waterstones children’s laureate, succeeding fellow author and illustrator Chris Riddell to the two-year post.

In the lead-up to the announcement of her appointment on Wednesday, Child took the opportunity to criticise the pressure on parents to oversee all of their children’s time.

“I will be talking a lot about the need for children to be allowed to be creative, without being micromanaged and directed,” said Child, whose work also includes the Clarice Bean picture books and Ruby Redfort novels.

Adding that she believed children needed to be allowed the “freedom to discover”, Child said she had been inspired by feedback from readers. “One of the questions I get asked most by children is where do I get my ideas from – as if there’s a sort of place where you find ideas or it’s a talent,” she said.

A multiple award-winning writer and artist, Child criticised the burden on parents to fill their children’s lives with activities “as if you aren’t a good parent if you are not signing your child up to all sorts of activities or taking them to galleries”.

“The pressure on parents to keep filling their children with information and experiences is too much,” she added. “Being bored is how you create things.”

The new laureate began writing and illustrating books while working as an artist’s assistant to Damien Hirst. Her first books, I Want a Pet and Clarice Bean, That’s Me were both published in 1999. The Clarice Bean series has since gone on to sell 6m copies worldwide.

Lola in the Charlie and Lola books.
Lola in the Charlie and Lola books. Illustration: Lauren Child/Hachette Childrens

Most famous for the Charlie and Lola books – the first of which won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2000 – Child said that much of her own inspiration came from periods of boredom as a child. “My parents were like Charlie and Lola’s, where they were around, maybe in the garden or the next room, but not constantly interacting with us,” she said. “I remember hours and hours messing about with my sisters or sat in my own room making things.” The TV series that sprang from the books, on which Child is an associate producer, has since gone on to win Baftas and airs in more than 34 countries.

Speaking from Hull, the 2017 City of Culture, where she was presented with her medal by outgoing laureate Chris Riddell on Wednesday, Child said she hoped to work with artists as well as writers and illustrators during her time in office. “I would love to talk to other artists whose work I admire,” she explained. “I think it is important for children to know we have our influences and get inspiration from all around us.”

Child poverty will also be at the forefront of Child’s laureateship, and she added her voice to those critical of plans to scrap free dinners for primary schoolchildren. “Children can’t learn if they are hungry,” said the author, who has worked with Unesco on its Education of Children in Need programme. “How can we expect them to take on all this information when they are going without anything to eat?”

Also on her agenda over the next two years will be raising the profile of the artistry involved in children’s book illustration. “There is this misconception that illustrators are constantly thinking about children and what they want or what’s commercial, but that is not true. Most illustrators are doing it because they need to create and love illustrating,” she said.

The 51-year-old is the 10th writer to take the children’s laureateship, a role that originated in a conversation between the then poet laureate Ted Hughes and children’s writer Michael Morpurgo. As well as the medal, the recipient also receives £15,000 bursary.

Asked if Damien Hirst would figure in her plans, Child said it was too early to say, but added that the attitude of the renowned British artist, once the most prominent provocateur of the Young British Artists, had been an inspiration. “He wanted to employ people who wanted to do something else, who had a vision of what they wanted to create,” she said. “He was not precious about his work; he was very generous.”

One area that Child will not criticise will be children’s viewing habits. TV, she said, was neither good nor bad, and credited watching the box as a child for giving her the confidence to read. “My sister was a bookworm, but though I was a reader, it was not with that speediness that gives you confidence to choose books yourself.” Watching adaptations of books by E Nesbit and others, helped her find books with stories she would enjoy, she added. “I learned a lot from television,” she said. “I learned all about storytelling and writing dialogue, and some of those shows I watched drove me to books because I loved the adaptations.”

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I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information. Thomasine F-R.

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Courtesy: https://www.theguardian.com

Filed under: Author of the week

Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker Prize 2013 for “The Luminaries”

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand.

She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she also held an adjunct professorship, and an MA in fiction writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Her debut novel The Rehearsal (2008) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. It has since been published in 17 territories and 12 languages.

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields.  On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.  A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk.  Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Courtesy: http://www.themanbookerprize.com

CATTON, Eleanor (1985 – ) was born in Canada and raised in Canterbury. In 2007, she won the Sunday Star-Times short story competition, and in the same year she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington, winning the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for her manuscript, The Rehearsal.
Eleanor Catton won the audience award at Once Upon a Deadline, a one-day story contest in the 2008 NZ International Arts Festival Writers and Readers Week, and she was awarded the 2008 Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary. Catton was the recipient of the 2008 Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship through which she attended the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has been published in a range of journals, and magazines, including Turbine, Sport and Granta.
Her first novel, The Rehearsal was published in 2008 by Victoria University Press, and by Granta (UK) in 2009. The Rehearsal received the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Louise O’Brien described Catton in NZ Listener as ‘a new talent who has arrived fully formed, with an accomplished, confident and mature voice’.
In June 2009, The Rehearsal won the UK Society of Authors’ Betty Trask Award worth £8,000. The Rehearsal was also long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. The Rehearsal has also been translated and published in Holland, France, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, Germany, Israel and Brazil.
Justine Jordan wrote in The Guardian, ‘This astonishing debut novel from young New Zealander Eleanor Catton is a cause for surprise and celebration: smart, playful and self-possessed, it has the glitter and mystery of the true literary original. Though its impulses and methods can only be called experimental, the prose is so arresting, the storytelling so seductive, that wherever the book falls open it’s near-impossible to put down.’

Melissa Katsoulis of the The Times comments, ‘Timeframes overlap and collide in this ingenious ontological kaleidoscope of a debut, but the experimentalism — which demands that the reader keep all her wits about her — is tempered by a real knack for narrative and a cast of painfully familiar teenage characters who are all desperate to be as confident, cool, charismatic and funny as possible. These are qualities that the extraordinary Eleanor Catton has in spades.’
Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal was long-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010, honouring female authors in the English language. It also won the Amazon.ca First Novel award 2011.
She was a 2010 Arts Foundation New Generation Award recipient. Catton was awarded the 2012 University of Auckland Residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre.


Eleanor Catton’s second novel The Luminaries was published by Victoria University Press and Granta in 2013, and won the prestigious 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Courtesy: http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz

Filed under: Author of the week, , ,

Khyrunnisa A.

Khyrunnisa.A
The person

English literature has always been her first love; mathematics came next. That is why, in spite of all the pressures on her to take up a ‘safer’ career option, she stuck to her love and chose the road less taken. And she has no regrets.
Khyrunnisa’s family, comprising her parents and seven siblings, settled down in Trivandrum, for her father believed that Trivandrum was the best place to provide the children with good education. Khyrunnisa did her schooling in Holy Angels Convent, undergraduate studies in All Saints College and postgraduate as well as M Phil. in University College, Trivandrum.
She vividly recalls her love for reading books from childhood – Richmal Crompton, Jerome K Jerome, Angela Brazil, Enid Blyton being some of her favourites then. “At home, everyone loved books. We even used to fight for them,”she says with a laugh.
All the reading helped her master the language, and English was, naturally, her favourite subject in school. It was Sister Elfrieda, her teacher in English and Mathematics in Holy Angels, who encouraged Khyrunnisa and nurtured her taste for books.
“Teachers influenced me a lot,” says Khyrunnisa.

It was yet another teacher, Sister Amata, the then Principal of All Saints College, who advised her to take up a course she liked rather than opt for the popular medicine or engineering courses. “You have to take responsibility when you decide to do something of your choice. Face the challenges and prove that you were right,” said the Principal to a young Khyrunnisa.
She eventually did this, getting the third rank for BA English Literature in Kerala University.

Another teacher who influenced her and fostered her love for the subject was Leela Subramoni, the Head of the English Dept at All Saints.
After completing her post graduation, Khyrunnisa went back to Holy Angels and later, to All Saints, to teach English, a job she enjoyed very much. Later on, she joined the Punjab National Bank as a Management Trainee. During her training, she travelled all over India – Chennai, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Delhi and Nazafgarh, being some of the places where she worked. However, rather than taking up a permanent job with PNB, she rejoined All Saints and has been with them since 1982. “I love teaching and I love my students. I guess I share a rapport with them,” she adds.

Her writing

Khyrunnisa had never considered being a full fledged writer, though she used to take part in various writing competitions in school and college, thanks to her teachers. She has won many prizes and has written stories that were read out on AIR. But those were forgotten as years passed by and she grew busier with her teaching and her family.

“I spent most of my free time with my son. I used to make up stories for him as it was quite difficult to make him eat his food otherwise. Characters like Bluebottle, the policeman; Tommy, the fireman; Smiley and Minna, just popped out of nowhere doing all sorts of crazy things.”

One such creation of hers, Butterfingers, made it big when she won the second prize in Tinkle’s story writing competition for adults in 1996.

The turning point was when Prabha Nair, an Assistant Editor with Tinkle then, came down searching for her to let her know how well they all liked the story – ‘Butterfingers’ – and to see if the writer was “as bubbly as her story itself”.

Author Profile: Khyrunnisa A

Encouragement from Prabha got her to write several more prize winning short stories for the children’s magazine. During this time, Khyrunnisa was also writing a regular column on classics for the Indian Express and occasional articles for the Hindu, Outlook Traveller, Kerala Calling and other publications. Her stories continued to appear in Tinkle and some of her stories were published by Children’s Book Trust in anthologies. Unisun Publications brought out a volume of her prize winning stories.

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It was finally in 2006 that her pet character Butterfingers got his break, when Luis Fernandes, the Editor of Tinkle, asked her to create a regular character for their magazine. She was introduced to Abhijeet Kini, a young illustrator, who gave form to Butterfingers, just the way she wanted it (apart from the auburn hair which she requested be made black). And together they gave India one of its most loved comic characters.

What she loves most about Butterfingers

“He is just another boy – adorable, clumsy, funny and nothing extraordinary. He is a character anyone could relate to, which makes him endearing to most of us.”
She gets her ideas for Butterfingers’ clumsy acts from daily life – be it her husband’s fall in the bathroom or her mistaking a plastic centipede for a real one. Any tiny bit can inspire her to make a plot around it and give it a humorous twist.
“Weaving a story for children is not easy. It needs clarity, should be interesting and it must capture and keep their attention. I don’t like talking down to people and my stories aren’t the preachy type. I just want children to be happy when they read my stories,” says she.

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She also takes care to avoid any active evil, and when accused of being idealistic she says, “What’s wrong with being idealistic in books? I think reading should give joy and as long as my books do that, I’m happy.”

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She loves children, especially young boys, for being the carefree and fun-loving selves they are, unlike grown-ups who forget to be genuine and are more often superficial. Humour is another thing one would find in abundance in the author’s writings. Though she has done a few serious pieces for adult readers, most prefer her light-hearted stories.

Her favourite reads?

PG Wodehouse, Bill Bryson, Rohinton Mistry and Marquez among others. Aravind Adiga’s ‘White Tiger’ was something else that she enjoyed reading. She read it because she wanted to know if all the criticism it attracted was warranted, and ended up liking the book.

Plans for the future?

“I want to write more Butterfingers novels and other stories, settle down here and get things published,” says the author with a childlike enthusiasm and joy.

Article by Shradha S

shradha.s@yentha.com

Courtesy: http://www.yentha.com

Filed under: Author of the week, , , ,

Khyrunnisa A., the author of Butterfingers Series at KV Pattom on 14th Feb 2013

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Khyrunnisa A.

Khyrunnisa A., a prize-winning author of children’s fiction, created the popular comic character Butterfingers for the children’s magazine, Tinkle. Her Butterfingers stories are a regular feature of that magazine. Her first children’s novel, Howzzat Butterfingers!, was published by Puffin in 2010. Her stories appear regularly in Tinkle, Dimdima and other children’s magazines and she freelances for other publications too. A book of short stories, Lost in Ooty and Other Adventure Stories, was published by Unisun Publications in 2010. Some of her other stories have been published in various anthologies by Puffin, Children’s Book Trust and Unisun Publications.
She worked as Associate Professor of English at All Saints’ College, Trivandrum, and is now a full-time writer. You can reach her at khyrubutter@yahoo.com.

(Courtesy: http://www.penguinbooksindia.com )

Ms Khyrunnisa will interact with the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom on 14th February at 10.30 a.m. in the Library, as part of the “Meet the Author” programme to be organized by the Reader’s Club.

Author Khyrunnisa A. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Read an interview with Ms khyrunnisa A., here.

Howzzat Butterfingers! Goal, Butterfingers!

Review on ‘Howzzat Butter Fingers”

Review on Goal Butterfingers

Amar Vijaykumar (second from left) and his friends at the lauch of the book Goal Butterfingers in Thiruvananthapuram

Amar Vijaykumar (second from left) and his friends at the lauch of the book Goal Butterfingers in Thiruvananthapuram

Read the full story here

Filed under: Author of the week, , ,

Mo Yan wins the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

 

Mo Yan (a pseudonym for Guan Moye) was born in 1955 and grew up in Gaomi in Shandong province in north-eastern China. His parents were farmers. As a twelve-year-old during the Cultural Revolution he left school to work, first in agriculture, later in a factory. In 1976 he joined the People’s Liberation Army and during this time began to study literature and write. His first short story was published in a literary journal in 1981. His breakthrough came a few years later with the novella Touming de hong luobo (1986, published in French as Le radis de cristal 1993).

In his writing Mo Yan draws on his youthful experiences and on settings in the province of his birth. This is apparent in his novel Hong gaoliang jiazu (1987, in English Red Sorghum 1993). The book consists of five stories that unfold and interweave in Gaomi in several turbulent decades in the 20th century, with depictions of bandit culture, the Japanese occupation and the harsh conditions endured by poor farm workers. Red Sorghum was successfully filmed in 1987, directed by Zhang Yimou. The novel Tiantang suantai zhi ge (1988, in English The Garlic Ballads 1995) and his satirical Jiuguo (1992, in English The Republic of Wine 2000) have been judged subversive because of their sharp criticism of contemporary Chinese society.

Fengru feitun (1996, in English Big Breasts and Wide Hips 2004) is a broad historical fresco portraying 20th-century China through the microcosm of a single family. The novel Shengsi pilao (2006, in English Life and Death are Wearing Me Out 2008) uses black humour to describe everyday life and the violent transmogrifications in the young People’s Republic, while Tanxiangxing (2004, to be published in English as Sandalwood Death 2013) is a story of human cruelty in the crumbling Empire. Mo Yan’s latest novel Wa (2009, in French Grenouilles 2011) illuminates the consequences of China’s imposition of a single-child policy.

Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition. In addition to his novels, Mo Yan has published many short stories and essays on various topics, and despite his social criticism is seen in his homeland as one of the foremost contemporary authors.

A selection of major works in Chinese

Touming de hong luobo, 1986

Hong gaoliang jiazu, 1987

Baozha, 1988

Tiantang suantai zhi ge, 1988

Huanle shisan zhang, 1989

Shisan bu, 1989

Jiuguo, 1992

Shicao jiazu, 1993

Dao shen piao, 1995

Fengru feitun, 1996

Hong shulin, 1999

Shifu yuelai yue youmo, 2000

Tanxiangxing, 2001

Cangbao tu, 2003

Sishiyi pao, 2003

Shengsi pilao, 2006

Wa, 2009

Works in English

Explosions and Other Stories / edited by Janice Wickeri. – Hong Kong : Research Centre for Translations, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1991

Red Sorghum : a Novel of China / translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt. – New York : Viking, 1993. – Translation of Hong gaoliang jiazu

The Garlic Ballads : a Novel / translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt. – New York : Viking, 1995. – Translation of Tiantang suantai zhi ge

The Republic of Wine / translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt. – New York : Arcade Pub., 2000. – Translation of Jiuguo

Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh / translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt. – New York : Arcade Pub., 2001. – Translation of Shifu yuelai yue youmo

Big Breasts and Wide Hips : a Novel / translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt. – New York : Arcade Pub., 2004. – Translation of Fengru feitun

Life and Death are Wearing Me Out : a Novel / translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt. – New York : Arcade Pub., 2008. – Translation of Shengsi pilao

Change / translated by Howard Goldblatt. – London : Seagull, 2010. – Translation of Bian

Pow / translated by Howard Goldblatt. – London : Seagull, 2013

Sandalwood Death / translated by Howard Goldblatt. – Norman : Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2013. – Translation of Tanxiangxing

Selected Stories by Mo Yan / translated by Howard Goldblatt. – Hong Kong : The Chinese University Press,
20-?. – (Announced but not yet published)

Works in French

Le clan du sorgho : roman / traduit du chinois par Pascale Guinot et Sylvie Gentil avec la collaboration de Wei Xiaoping. – Arles : Actes sud, 1990. – Traduction de : Hong gaoliang jiazu

La mélopée de l’ail paradisiaque : roman / traduit du chinois par Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Éd. Messidor, 1990. – Traduction de : Tiantang suantai zhi ge

Le chantier : roman / traduit du chinois par Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Scandéditions, 1993 ; Paris : Seuil, 2007. – Traduction de : Zhulu

Le radis de cristal : récits / traduit du chinois par Pascale Wei-Guinot et Wei Xiaoping. – Arles : Picquier, 1993. – Traduction de : Touming de hong luobo ; Quishui

Les treize pas / traduit du chinois par Sylvie Gentil. – Paris : Seuil, 1995. – Traduction de : Shisan bu

Le pays de l’alcool / traduit du chinois par Noël et Liliane Dutrait. – Paris : Seuil, 2000. – Traduction de : Jiuguo

Beaux seins, belles fesses : les enfants de la famille Shangguan : roman / traduit du chinois par Noël et Liliane Dutrait. – Paris : Seuil, 2004. – Traduction de : Fengru feitun

La carte au trésor : récit / traduit du chinois par Antoine Ferragne. – Arles : Picquier, 2004. – Traduction de : Cangbao tu

Enfant de fer : nouvelles / traduit du chinois par Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Seuil, 2004

Explosion / traduit du chinois par Camille Loivier ; préf. de Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Éd. Caractères, 2004. – Paris : Éd. Caractères, 2004. – Traduction de : Baozha

Le maître a de plus en plus d’humour : roman / traduit du chinois par Noël Dutrait. – Paris : Seuil, 2005. – Traduction de : Shifu yuelai yue youmo

Le supplice du santal : roman / traduit du chinois par Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Seuil, 2006. – Traduction de : Tanxiangxing

La joie : roman / traduit du chinois par Marie Laureillard. – Arles : Picquier, 2007. – Traduction de : Huanle shisan zhang

Quarante et un coups de canon / traduit du chinois par Noël et Liliane Dutrait. – Paris : Seuil, 2008. – Traduction de : Sishiyi pao

La dure loi du karma : roman / traduit du chinois par Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Seuil, 2009. – Traduction de : Shengsi pilao

Grenouilles / traduit du chinois par Chantal Chen-Andro. – Paris : Seuil, 2011. – Traduction de : Wa

La Belle à dos d’âne dans l’avenue de Chang’an : récits / traduit du chinois par Marie Laureillard. – Arles : Picquier, 2011

Le veau ; suivi de Le coureur de fond / traduit du chinois par Francois Sastourné. – Paris : Seuil, 2012

Works in Swedish

Det röda fältet / översättning: Anna Gustafsson Chen. – Stockholm : Tranan, 1997. – Originaltitel: Hong gaoliang jiazu

Vitlöksballaderna / översättning: Anna Gustafsson Chen. – Stockholm : Tranan, 2001. – Originaltitel: Tiantang suantai zhi ge

Ximen Nao och hans sju liv / översättning från kinesiska: Anna Gustafsson Chen. – Stockholm : Tranan, 2012. – Originaltitel: Shengsi pilao

Works in Spanish

Sorgo rojo / traducido del inglés por Ana Poljak. – Barcelona : Muchnik, 1992. – Título original: Hong gaoliang jiazu

Grandes pechos, amplias caderas / traducción, Mariano Peyrou. – Madrid : Kailas, 2007. – Título original: Fengru feitun

Las baladas del ajo / traducción de Carlos Ossés. – Madrid : Kailas, 2008. – Título original: Tiantang suantai zhi ge

La vida y la muerte me están desgastando / traducción de Carlos Ossés. – Madrid : Kailas, 2009. – Título original: Shengsi pilao

La república del vino / traducción de Cora Tiedra. – Madrid : Kailas, 2010. – Título original: Jiuguo

Shifu, harías cualquier cosa por divertirte / traducción de Cora Tiedra. – Madrid : Kailas, 2011. – Título original: Shifu yuelai yue youmo

Rana / traducido del chino por Yifan Li ; editado por Cora Tiedra. – Madrid : Kailas, 2011. – Título original: Wa

Works in German

Das rote Kornfeld : Roman / Deutsch von Peter Weber-Schäfer. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1993. – Originaltitel: Hong gaoliang jiazu

Die Knoblauchrevolte : Roman / Deutsch von Andreas Donath. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1997. – Originaltitel: Tiantang suantai zhi ge

Trockener Fluß und andere Geschichten / Aus dem Chines. von Susanne Hornfeck u.a. – Dortmund : Projekt-Verl., 1997

Die Schnapsstadt : Roman / Deutsch von Peter Weber-Schäfer. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 2002. – Originaltitel: Jiuguo

Die Sandelholzstrafe : Roman / Aus dem Chines. von Karin Betz. – Frankfurt am Main : Insel, 2009. – Originaltitel: Tanxiangxing

Der Überdruss : Roman / Aus dem Chines. von Martina Hasse. – Bad Honnef : Horlemann, 2009. – Originaltitel: Shengsi pilao

 

Courtesy: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2012/bio-bibl.html

Know More

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mo_Yan

Filed under: Author of the week

Jeet Thayil

Jeet Thayil was born in Kerala, India in 1959 and educated in Hong Kong, New York and Bombay. He is a performance poet, songwriter and guitarist, and has published four collections of poetry. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (2008). He currently lives in New Delhi. He is best known as a poet and is the author of four collections: These Errors Are Correct (Tranquebar, 2008), English (2004, Penguin India, Rattapallax Press, New York, 2004), Apocalypso (Ark, 1997) and Gemini (Viking Penguin, 1992).

Early life and career

Thayil is the son of the writer and editor, Padma Bhushan TJS George, who at various times in his life was posted in several places in India, in Hong Kong and New York. Thayil was mostly educated abroad. He received a Masters in Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College (New York), and is the recipient of grants and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Swiss Arts Council, the British Council and the Rockefeller Foundation.

His first novel, Narcopolis (Faber, 2011) is set mostly in Bombay in the 70s and 80s, and sets out to tell the city’s secret history, when opium gave way to new cheap heroin. Thayil has said he wrote the novel, “to create a kind of memorial, to inscribe certain names in stone. As one of the characters [in Narcopolis] says, it is only by repeating the names of the dead that we honour them. I wanted to honour the people I knew in the opium dens, the marginalised, the addicted and deranged, people who are routinely called the lowest of the low; and I wanted to make some record of a world that no longer exists, except within the pages of a book.”

He is the editor of the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe, U.K., 2008), 60 Indian Poets (Penguin India, 2008) and a collection of essays, Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora (Routledge, 2006).

He is the author of the libretto for the opera Babur in London, commissioned by the UK-based Opera Group with music by the Zurich-based British composer Edward Rushton.[2] The world premiere of Babur will take place in Switzerland in 2012, followed by tours to the United Kingdom (where it will show at theatres in London and Oxford) and India. At the work’s core is an exploration about the complexities of faith and multiculturalism in modern-day Britain. Its action hinges on an imagined encounter between a group of religious fundamentalists and the ghost of Babur, who challenges their plans for a suicide strike.

Thayil is also known as a performance poet and musician. As a songwriter and guitarist, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil (Mumbai, New Delhi).

In 2006 he told the Indian newspaper, The Hindu, that he had been an alcoholic (like many of the Bombay poets) and an addict for almost two decades: "I spent most of that time sitting in bars, getting very drunk, talking about writers and writing. And never writing. It was a colossal waste. I feel very fortunate that I got a second chance." These days, he says, the only addictions he has are poetry and coffee. "Coffee’s much easier to get than heroin."

He has worked as a journalist in New York, Mumbai and Bangalore. He has been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2012 as revealed by its judging panel, for his debut novel Narcopolis.

Style

Thayil has been writing poetry since his adolescence, paying careful attention to form.

In his prose, as in his poetry, he has introduced new areas of feelings and emotions to Indian literature, and has often concerned himself with the pleasures and pains of drugs and alcohol, sex and death – emblematic of Keats and Baudelaire. He is said to have more in common with figures such as William S. Burroughs and Roberto Bolano than writers traditionally connected with the firmament of Indian literature. The Indian poet, Dom Moraes, in his introduction to Thayil’s first book of poems (with poet Vijay Nambisan), Gemini, said that Thayil did not trouble his mind with the concerns of many Indian poets, their Indianness, that he did not make statements that were irrelevant to his work, that his concerns were mainly personal. Thayil, Moraes said, “works his feelings out with care, through colourations of mood rather than through explicit statements.”

His idiom is the result of a cosmopolitan blend of styles, and is yet, quite clearly, his own. About Narcopolis, Thayil said, “I’ve always been suspicious of the novel that paints India in soft focus, a place of loved children and loving elders, of monsoons and mangoes and spices. To equal Bombay as a subject you would have to go much further than the merely nostalgic will allow. The grotesque may be a more accurate means of carrying out such an enterprise.”

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 1-899179-01-1
  • Gemini, Penguin-Viking, New Delhi, 1992. (two-poet volume ), 0-670-84524-8
Fiction
As an editor
  • The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets, Bloodaxe, U.K, 2008
  • 60 Indian Poets, Penguin India, 2008.
  • 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

 

Courtesy: Wikipedia and Man Booker Prize website

Filed under: Author of the week,

Julian Barnes wins the 2011 Man Booker Prize

Julian Barnes has won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for his novella “The Sense of an Ending”

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Photo: REX

Born: 19 January 1946, in Leicester, to two French teachers. The family moved to London six weeks after Barnes was born.

Educated: At City of London School from 1957 to 1964, before taking up a place at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read Modern Languages, graduating in 1968.

Journalism career: After working for several years as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary supplement, Barnes was later a reviewer and then literary editor for the New Statesman and the New Review. During his early writing career he continued to work as a television critic for the New Statesman and the Observer.

Metroland: Barnes had his first novel, Metroland, published in 1980. The semi-autobiographical tale explored growing up in the suburbs of London and life in Paris as a post-graduate student. Themes of idealism and infidelity didn’t sit well with Barnes’ mother – who complained of a "bombardment" of filth after reading the novel – but fared rather better with the critics, and the novel was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award in 1981. Metroland was made into a film in 1997, starring Christian Bale and Emily Watson.

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Flaubert’s Parrot: Barnes garnered his first Booker Prize nomination for his third novel, Flaubert’s Parrot (1984). It details the life reflections of a fictional retired doctor and the Gustave Flaubert-obsessive Geoffrey Braithwaite, in three chronological sequences – through positive and negative mindsets, and finally via journal quotes from different stages of Braithwaite’s life. Flaubert’s Parrot lost out on the Booker Prize to Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, but picked up the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize the following year.

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Relationship with France: A keen interest in France, which often figures in his writing, has helped Barnes become the only writer to win prestigious French literary prizes the Prix Médicis (1986 – Flaubert’s Parrot) and the Prix Fémina (1992 – Talking It Over). His book Cross Channel, which examined Britain’s relationship with France in ten stories, was published in 1996, a year after he was made Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Barnes remains one of Britain’s best-loved authors across the channel, and was made Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004.

Booker Prize bridesmaid: Fourteen years after his first nomination, Barnes was again shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1998, for satirical science fiction novel England, England. He was also nominated in 2005, for Arthur and George, a story loosely based on the Great Wyrley Outrages of 1903. He lost out on both occasions.

Other writing: Barnes has also had non-fiction work published, including a collection on cooking (The Pedant in the Kitchen, 2003), and in the early 1980s penned crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

Man Booker Prize winner: Barnes finally secured the Man Booker Prize tonight – at the fourth time of asking – for The Sense of an Ending, a novella "about memory and friendship which has been ecstatically greeted by critics".

Courtesy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booker-prize/8834873/Julian-Barnes-profile.html

Filed under: Author of the week, ,

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee in his lab at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.

His book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” won the 2011 Pulitzer prize for general nonfiction.

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In Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s lab, a Stanley Kubrick-like space at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University, enormous white freezers with digital temperature readouts keep tissue at 80 below zero. Sterile work stations with transparent hoods and bacteria-scattering blowers emit an unearthly blue light. And there is a bountiful supply of mice that, thanks to the addition of a jellyfish gene, literally glow either red or green in the dark.

Under the microscope, their blood-forming stem cells, a particular interest of Dr. Mukherjee’s right now, shine like tiny Christmas lights. Just recently, he said, he and his team had discovered what may be a new mutation associated with the precancerous condition myelodysplasia.

“Cell culture is a little like gardening,” he added. “You sit and you look at cells, and then you see something and say, ‘You know, that doesn’t look right.’ “

Dr. Mukherjee, an oncologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia, known as Sid by his friends, is married to the MacArthur award-winning artist Sarah Sze and looks less like a scientist than like the leading man in a Bollywood musical. He belongs to that breed of physicians, rapidly multiplying these days, who also have literary DNA in their genome, and his first book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” comes out from Scribner on Nov. 16.

The book tells the stories of several cancer patients, and also of heroic researchers like Sidney Farber, who pioneered the treatment of childhood leukemia. But its main character, as the subtitle suggests, is the disease itself as it has been diagnosed, treated and thought about over the last 4,000 years.

In the early 1950s, Dr. Mukherjee points out in the book, cancer was still considered so unmentionable that a woman seeking to place an advertisement in The New York Times for a support group was told that the paper could not print either the word “breast” or the word “cancer.” How about “diseases of the chest wall,” an editor helpfully suggested. Then, a few decades later, cancer was in the public limelight, thought to be virtually curable if we just waged sufficient “war” against it.

What we understand now, thanks to advances in cell biology, Dr. Mukherjee writes, is that cancer is normalcy of a sort. Cancer cells are “hyperactive, survival-endowed, scrappy, fecund, inventive copies of ourselves,” he says, and adds: “We can rid ourselves of cancer, then, only as much as we can rid ourselves of the processes in our physiology that depend on growth — aging, regeneration, healing, reproduction.”

Dr. Mukherjee grew up in New Delhi; his father was a manager for Mitsubishi, and his mother had been a schoolteacher. He went to a Roman Catholic school there, where he was required to learn by heart a staggering amount of poetry, but attended college at Stanford, which he chose mostly because some cousins lived in California. After studying immunology at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, he went to Harvard Medical School.

By the time he got there, Dr. Mukherjee had pretty much decided to specialize in oncology, but the experience of actually encountering patients was transforming. “All of a sudden it’s as if the world had turned,” he said. “Everything suddenly becomes real, and your emotional responses become hyper-acute.”

And it was because of a patient, he added, that he began to write “The Emperor of All Maladies.” “I was having a conversation with a patient who had stomach cancer,” he recalled, “and she said, ‘I’m willing to go on fighting, but I need to know what it is that I’m battling.’ It was an embarrassing moment. I couldn’t answer her, and I couldn’t point her to a book that would. Answering her question — that was the urgency that drove me, really. The book was written because it wasn’t there.”

He wrote most of it in bed, propped up on pillows, and by mastering what he called the “art of full indiscipline.”

“Instead of saying, ‘I’ll get up every day at 5:30’ or, ‘I’ll write from 9 to 12,’ I did the complete opposite,” he said. “I said: ‘I will write during the day for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. I’ll write in stretches until the book is done.”

“The Emperor of All Maladies” (which Dr. Mukherjee adapted into an article for The New York Times Magazine last month) employs a complicated structure, looping around in time, juggling several themes at once and toggling between scientific discussions and stories of people, and yet Dr. Mukherjee says he wrote it in pretty much linear fashion from start to finish, without moving things around. He was influenced by both Richard Rhodes’s study “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” and Randy Shilts’s “And the Band Played On,” each a big book about a historical moment, but his real breakthrough came, he said, when he conceived of his book as a biography.

“I began wondering, can one really write a biography of an illness?” he said. “But I found myself thinking of cancer as this character that has lived for 4,000 years, and I wanted to know what was its birth, what is its mind, its personality, its psyche?” At times in the book he even personifies the illness, talking about its “saturnine” quality, its “moody, volcanic unpredictability.”

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Last week Dr. Mukherjee gave an upbeat lunchtime talk to a group of cancer fellows at Columbia, young physicians who are preparing to become oncologists. He spoke quickly, clicking through a series of PowerPoint slides, but occasionally slowed down to remind the fellows about the kinds of questions that were bound to come up in their board exam. Talking about drug treatments, he reminded them: “If something is good, more is not necessarily better. Not always.”

“Are cancer patients living longer?” he asked, and then answered his own question: it depends on which cancer and on when you start measuring. And yet in the treatment of myeloma, his main theme that day, changes had come so fast, he said, that everything he had learned at their age was already out of date, and a new generation of drugs — über-thalidomides, he called them — were changing the picture even as he spoke. Myeloma, a cancer of blood plasma cells, is still not curable but often now is very treatable.

Dr. David Scadden, a Harvard hematologist and oncologist who supervised Dr. Mukherjee when he was a cancer fellow, recalled that his enthusiasm was such that he sometimes seemed to levitate off the laboratory floor. “People who take care of cancer patients and also have the research dimension are people who are unsatisfied with how things are but optimistic about how they might be,” he said. “Sid has an internal hope machine.”

At one point in “The Emperor of All Maladies” Dr. Mukherjee calls oncology a “dismal discipline,” but, sitting in his office, he said his work did not make him feel dispirited. “What does it mean to be an oncologist?” he explained. “It means that you get to sit in at a moment of another person’s life that is so hyper-acute, and not just because they’re medically ill. It’s also a moment of hope and expectation and concern. It’s a moment when you get to erase everything that’s irrelevant and ask the most elemental questions — about survival, family, children, legacy.”

“Most days,” he added, “I go home and I feel rejuvenated. I feel ebullient.”

Courtesy: The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/books/09mukherjee.html?pagewanted=2

 

Author Website

ScreenShot001

http://sidmukherjee.com/

 

Filed under: Author of the week, , ,

Kannada writer S L Bhyrappa chosen for Saraswati Samman 2011

Kannada writer S L Bhyrappa was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman for his novel ‘Mandra’.

Prof Bhyrappa was selected by the jury headed by former Chief Justice of India G B Patnaik. The award, constituted by K K Birla Foundation, consists of Rs 7.50 lakh, a citation and a plaque.
"After consideration of the works published in 22 Indian languages during 2000-2009, the Chayan Parishad (jury) selected ‘Mandra’, a novel in Kannada by Prof Bhyrappa for the 20th Saraswati Samman," a statement said here.
The 75-year-old writer has so far authored 22 novels, the first being ‘Bheemakaya’ in 1959. He is one of the best selling novelists in Kannada over the past 25 years.
‘Mandra’ is one of the most acclaimed epic novels of Prof Bhyrappa.
Saraswati Samman was instituted in 1991 and is given every year on an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in schedule VII of the Constitution by an Indian citizen and published during the last 10 years.

 

Biography

SANTESHIVARA LINGANNAIAH (S.L.) BHYRAPPA

Date of Birth: 20-8-1931
Qualifications: M.A Philosophy, 1958; Ph.D in Aesthetics, 1963
Occupation: Professor of Philosophy (Retired)

Professor S.L. Bhyrappa is the bestselling novelist in the southern Indian language of Kannada over the last 25 years, the bestselling novelist in Marathi over the past decade and he has been a top five bestselling author in Hindi. He is a serious literary artist, always concerned with fundamental human conditions and predicaments. In addition to his profound knowledge of Indian philosophical and cultural traditions, Professor Bhyrappa has since childhood had intense personal experiences in both rural and urban settings. Drawing on this, his characters grow from the Indian soil. Seminars have been and are being held on his novels, and many volumes of literary criticism have been published on his works. His books have been assigned to the curriculum of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses by the universities in the state of Karnataka, and have been the subject of Ph.D dissertations.

Publications

Novels

2010
Kavalu (Branch)
2007
Aavarana (Veil); 22nd reprint within 18 months of publication
2002
Mandra (Musical note); 5th reprint
1998
Saartha (Caravan); 6th reprint
1996
Bhitti (Canvas [Autobiography]); 6th reprint
1993
Tantu (Fibre); 6th reprint
1990
Anchu (Edge); 5th reprint
1986
Sakshi (The Witness); 5th reprint
1983
Nele (The Foundation); 6th reprint
1979
Parva (The Epoch); 9th reprint
1976
Anveshana (Search); 7th reprint
1973
Daatu (Crossing Over); 8th reprint
1972
Grahana (The Eclipse); 7th reprint
1971
Jalapaata (TheWaterfall); 9th reprint
1971
Niraakarana (Rejection); 8th reprint
1970
Grihabhanga (The Broken Home); 8th reprint
1968
Tabbaliyu Neenaade Magane (Son, You Are An Orphan); 8th reprint
1968
Naayi-Neralu (The Dog and the Shadow); 10th reprint
1965
Vamshavriksha (Scion); 13th reprint
1965
Matadaana (Casting Vote); 9th reprint
1962
Doorasaridaru (Moved Apart); 10th reprint
1961
Dharmashree; 11th reprint
1960
Bheemakhaya (The Wrestler); 3rd reprint

Novels translated into English

2006
The Caravan (Saratha), transl. S. Ramaswamy (New Delhi: Oxford University Press)
2003
Crossing Over (Daatu), transl. Pradhan Gurudatta & David Mowat (Delhi: B.R. Publishing)
2000
The Witness (Sakshi), transl. S.L. Bhyrappa & Sharon Norris (Chennai: East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Limited)
1995
Scion (Vamshavruksha), transl. S.L. Bhyrappa & Sushuma Chandrasekhar (Chennai: East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Limited)
1994
Parva, transl. K. Raghavendra Rao (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi)

Academic publications in English

1968
Values in Modern Indian Educational Thought (New Delhi: National Council of Educational Research and Training)
1964
Truth & Beauty: A Study in Correlations (Baroda: M.S.University Press)
Research Papers published in various Journals like Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Darshana International, Journal of University of Baroda, etc.

Films based on S.L. Bhyrappa’s novels

2006
Naayi Neralu (The Dog and the Shadow) (Kannada) directed by G. Kasaravalli
2000
Matadana (Casting Vote) (Kannada) directed by T.N. Sitaram
1978
Vamshavriksha (Scion) (Telugu) directed by Mr. Babu
1976
Godhuli (The Orphan) (Hindi) directed by G. Karnad and B.V. Karanth
1975
Tabbaliyu Neenaade Magane (The Orphan) (Kannada) directed by G. Karnad and B.V. Karanth
1972
Vamshavriksha (Scion) (Kannada) directed by B.V. Karanth and G. Karnad

Television series based on S.L. Bhyrappa’s novels

2002
Grihabhanga (The Broken Home) (Kannada)

Awards

Literary awards

2010
Honorary D.Litt from Karnataka University-Dharwad
2007
Honorary D.Litt from Gulbarga University
2007
Hedgewar Award (Calcutta)
2007
NTR Award (Andhra Pradesh)
2006
Pampa (Karnataka State) Award
2005
Honorary D.Litt from Karnataka Government Open University, Mysore
2002
Samanyajnana Award for Contribution to Literature
2000
S. R. Patil Award for Contribution to Literature
2000
Gorur Award for Contribution to Literature
1996-97
Award of the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishat, Samvatsar Puraskar (Calcutta) for Tantu (Fibre)
1996
Masti Award for Contribution to Literature (Bangalore)
1998
Granthaloka (The Book World) Best Literary Work of the Year Award for Saakshi (The Witness)
1986
The Karnataka State Award for Total Contribution to Literature
1985
The Karnataka Sahitya (Literary) Academy Award for Contribution to Literature
1975
Central Sahitya Academy (Institute of Letters) Best Literary Work Award (New Delhi) for Daatu (Crossing Over)
1974
The Karnataka State Sahitya (Literary) Academy Best Literary Work of the Year Award (Bangalore) for Daatu (Crossing Over)
1968
The Karnataka State Sahitya (Literary) Academy Best Literary Work of the Year Award for Vamshavriksha (The Uprooted)

Awards for films based on S.L. Bhyrappa’s novels

2007
International Film Festival of Mumbai MAMI Best Film Award for Naayi Neralu (The Dog and the Shadow) (Kannada)
2006
Osian’s Asian Film Festival, CINEFAN, Jury Award in the Indian Film Category for Naayi Neralu (The Dog and the Shadow)
2006
Karachi International Film Festival Best Feature Film Award for Naayi Neralu (The Dog and the Shadow)
2006
Karantaka State Film Award for Naayi Neralu (The Dog and the Shadow)
2001
The Government of India Best Regional Feature Film Award for Matadana (Casting Vote) (Kannada)
1977
The Government of India Best Feature Film Award for Godhuli (The Orphan) (Hindi)
1972
The Government of India Best Feature Film Award for Vamshavriksha (Scion) (Kannada)

Scholarships and other honours (selected)

1992
One of the five member of the Indian Literary Delegation, invited to visit China by the Government of China
1983
Ford Foundation Award to visit the USA to study the cultural problems of Indian immigrants to the USA
1977
British Council Fellowship tenured at the School of Education, University of London

Conferences (selected)

2007
International Conference, University of Udine, Italy
2007
President, Association of Kannadighas Meeting, Dubai
2006
Association of Kannada Koota America, Washington DC, USA
1999
President of the 67th All India Kannada Literary Conference, Kanakapure, India
1998
President, World Kannada Sammelana, Phoenix, USA
1994
Inaugural Address, All Indian Marathi Literary Conference, Goa, India
1991
East-West Writers Meeting, Bled, Slovenia
1975
Representative of India, UNESCO Seminar on Moral Education, Tokyo, Japan
 
Chairman and President of over 25 literary conferences held in India

Membership of literary associations (selected)

1987-92
Executive Board, Central Sahitya Academy (Institute of Letters), New Delhi, India
1982-87
Executive Board, Karnataka Sahitya (Literary) Academy, Bangalore, India
Life Member: Indian Philosophical Congress

Novels translated into other Indian languages 
(publication information available upon request)

Vamshavriksha: Telugu, Marathi (3rd Edition), Hindi (4th edition) & Urdu.
Naayi-Neralu: Gujarathi, Hindi (3rd edition)
Tabbaliyu Neenaade Magane: Hindi (3rd edition)
Grihabhanga: All 14 Indian Languages by the National Book Trust, India
Niraakarana: Hindi (3rd edition)
Daatu: All 14 Indian Languages by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
Anveshana: Marathi, Hindi (2nd Edition)
Parva:Marathi (2nd Edition), Hindi (3rd Edition), Tamil, Telugu & Bengali
Nele: Hindi
Saakshi: Hindi
Anchu: Marathi, Hindi
Tantu:Marathi, Hindi (2nd Edition)
Saartha: Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi
Bhitti: Marathi, Hindi
Dharmashree: Sanskrit, Marathi
Naaneke Barayuttene: Marathi

Interests and hobbies

Dr Bhyrappa is an avid listener of both Indian and Western classical music and has an interest in art and sculpture. He has trekked in the Alps, the Rockies, Andes and in Fujiama, but the Himalayas including Manasa Sarovara remain as his greatest passion. He is widely travel covering all the continents except Australia. He has taken expedition to Siberia, Antartica and Alaska.

Courtesy: http://slbhyrappa.com

Author Website

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Anant Pai (Uncle Pai)

The creator of ‘Indian comics’ and founder of Amar Chitra Katha on which generations of Indians grew up.

Anant Pai, (17 September 1929 – 24 February 2011) popularly known as Uncle Pai, was a renowned educationalist and creator of Indian comics, in particular the Amar Chitra Kathaseries in 1967, along with the India Book House publishers, and which retold traditional Indian folk tales, mythological stories, and biographies of historical characters. In 1980, he launchedTinkle, a children’s anthology, which was started under Rang Rekha Features, India’s first comic and cartoon syndicate, that lasted till 1998, with him as the Managing Director

Anant Pai suffered a massive heart attack and passed away on 24th Februay 2011 at 5 pm.

Today, Amar Chitra Katha, sells about three million comic books a year, in English and more than 20 Indian languages, and has sold about 100 million copies since it inception in 1967 by Anant Pai, and in 2007 was taken over by ACK Media.

Early life and education

Born in Karkala, Karnataka to Venkataraya and Susheela Pai, he lost his parents at the age of two. At the age of twelve, he came to Mumbai, where he studied in Orient School, Mahim. He studied chemistry, physics and chemical technology at the University of Bombay Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT now UICT) and was a dual degree holder from the University of Bombay.

Early career

Endowed with a passion for publishing and comics, his failed attempt at creating a children’s magazine (Manav, 1954) was followed by a career as a junior executive in the Times of India books division, putting him in the thick of affairs when Indrajal comics was launched by the Times Group.

The Amar Chitra Katha years

The idea behind starting a comicbook series devoted to Indian culture and history came to Pai from a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan in February 1967, in which participants could easily answer questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question "In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?".

He left his job and started Amar Chitra Katha the same year, with the help of late G. L. Mirchandani of India Book House, when most other publishers from Allied Publishers to Jaico had rejected the concept. Later, he took on the role of writer, editor and publisher. The series went on to become a publishing milestone for the Indian comic book scene, selling over 86 million copies of about 440 titles.

In 1969, Anant Pai founded Rang Rekha Features, India’s first comic and cartoon syndicate, and started the children’s magazine Tinkle in 1980. His involvement with the above, and the rapport he shared with his readers earned him the title "Uncle Pai".

Other works

Ramu and Shamu, Kapish, Little Raji, Rekha, Fact Fantasy, Funland and Funtime are some of the comic strips created by Pai, most of which continue to appear in newspapers and magazines. He has written and produced two video films, Ekam Sat (the Vedic Concept of God) and The Secret of Success, in English and Hindi.

Pai’s other works include a number of books on personality development for children and teenagers, ("How To Develop Self-confidence", "How to Achieve Success", "How To Develop A Super Memory", UBS Publishers) and a series of audio book versions of Amar Chitra Kathastories, "Storytime with Uncle Pai" (Universal Music India, Dec 2001), where he plays the role of narrator-storyteller.

Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – at the First Indian Comic Convention, New Delhi (Feb 19, 2011 – just 6 days before his death) was given to him by Pran, Creator of Chacha Chaudhury
  • Karpoorchand Puraskar of Uttar Pradesh Bal Kalyan Sansthan (1994)
  • Yudhvir Memorial Award in Hyderabad (1996)
  • Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Sahitya Academy Award (1996)
  • Dr. T. M. A. Pai Memorial Award in Manipal (1997)
  • University of Bombay Department of Chemical Technology’s Distinguished Alumnus Award (1999)
  • Millennium Konkani Sammelan Award, Illinois, U.S.A (2000)
  • Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation’s Award (2001)
  • Priyadarshni Academy Award (2002)
  • Vishwa Saraswat Sammaan (2003)

Personal life

He was a resident of Prabhadevi, Mumbai. He died on February 24 2011.He is survived by his wife, Lalita Pai.

 

Amar Chitra Katha

Amar Chitra Katha (Hindi: अमर चित्र कथा, amar citra kathā ?, "Immortal Captivating (or Picture) Stories") (Amar Chitra Katha PL)is one of India‘s largest selling comic bookseries, with more than 90 million copies sold in 20 Indian languages. Founded in 1967, the imprint has more than 400 titles that retell stories from the great Indian epics, mythology, history, folklore, and fables in a comic book format. It was created by Anant Pai, and published by India Book House. In 2007, the imprint and all its titles were acquired by a new venture called ACK Media. On September 17, 2008, a new website by ACK-media was launched.

Creation and creators

The comic series was started by Anant Pai in an attempt to teach Indian children about their cultural heritage. He was shocked that Indian students could answer questions on Greek and Roman mythology, but were ignorant of their own history, mythology and folklore. It so happened that a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan in February 1967, in which participants could easily answer questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question "In theRamayana, who was Rama‘s mother?".

Writers like Kamala Chandrakant, Margie Sastry, Subba Rao, Debrani Mitra and C.R Sharma joined the creative team of Amar Chitra Katha, with Anant Pai taking on the role of editor and co-writer on most scripts. The notable illustrators, other than Ram Waeerkar, wereDilip Kadam, Sanjeev Waeerkar, Souren Roy, C.D Rane, Geoffrey Fowler and Pratap Mullick.

The comics

The original printings of Amar Chitra were not in full colour—because of budgetary constraints, the panels were printed using yellow, blue and green. Subsequent issues, however, changed to full colour. All Amar Chitra Katha books stuck to a monthly (later fortnightly) 30-page format, with emphasis on lucid, entertaining storylines. In addition to the ‘singles’ format the stories are also available as hardcover 3-in-1 and 5-in-1 bundles. There are special editions of the epics like the Mahabharata which is available in a 3 volume 1300+ pages set.

Occasionally there were "bumper" issues with 90 pages, most collecting stories of a similar type from individual issues( Example: Monkey Stories From The Hitopadesha, Tales of Birbal and some being longer stories The Story of Rama). As the epic stories became more popular, the team began to publish stories based on Indian history, of men and women belonging to different regions and religions and also on stories based on Sanskrit as well as regional classics. The continuous popularity of the comics led to reprints being issued frequently, which ensured that the back-issues remained in print throughout the seventies and the eighties. At the height of its popularity, in the mid-eighties, it had been translated into Bengali, Marathi, Assamese, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Sanskrit and Urdu and selling half a million copies a month. Some titles were also translated into French, Spanish, German, Swahili, Fijian, Indonesian, and Serbo-Croat.

Towards the mid-nineties, the original comics were reprinted in sleeker and more durable editions, with thick cardstock covers and better colour separations. Today, Amar Chitra Katha has a national footprint across all major book retailers, hundreds of small bookstores, and tens of thousands of vendors. It is the best-selling children’s publication in most large format stores.

In 2007, the publisher created a new online store that offers all the titles with shipping worldwide. The titles are divided in following categories

  1. Fables & Folktales (e.g. Panchatantra)
  2. Mythology (e.g. The Ramayana)
  3. The Epics (e.g. The Ramayana)
  4. Humour & wit
  5. Biographies (e.g. Mahatma Gandhi)
  6. Literary Classics
  7. 3 in 1 Titles
  8. 5 in 1 Titles
  9. Special Issues

Cultural significance

Amar Chitra Katha was launched at a time when Indian society was slowly moving away from the traditional joint family system, because of (among other things) socio-economic constraints and urbanization. In a joint family system, grandparents would regale the children of the household with tales from folklore and the epics, and the Amar Chitra Katha series served to fill the void left by grandparents in the smaller nuclear families in urban areas. The choice of English as the primary language led it to reach the majority of children who studied in English medium schools.

Later, when the comic added historical topics, it proved very helpful to students. For most, Indian history, a jumble of names and dates, came alive as stories. The detailed research of architecture, costumes, regional flavours and facts ensured that the comics were widely accepted into the mainstream, both parents and teachers using them as educational aids. To an extent, these books, with their homogenized and unbiased character descriptions went a long way in promoting national integration and increasing inter-provincial awareness throughout the country.

It should be mentioned that the series steered clear of controversy, taming down content and violence and adhering to strict self-censorship.

In popular culture

In the film Gulaal, a major character, Rananjay Singh express his disapproval of traditional patriarchal rajput machoism by saying that he does not want to live in Amar Chitra Katha but real world.

Modernisation

Amar Chitra Katha has evolved over times. Now it is available as a digital media in more means from online access to mobile phones. ACK-Media has recently partnered with iRemedi Corp of Atlanta, GA to deliver Amar Chitra Katha comics on the iPhone platform. Popular Amar Chitra Katha Comics were launched on the iPhone platform by iRemedi and Apple on 5th December, 2009. Amar Chitra Katha comics have been adapted for the iPhone platform for readers to enjoy panel by panel reading experience on the iPhones and iPod touches on iRemedi’s ETHER MEDIA viewer solution. More information can be found at iRemedi’s website.

Popular ACK Titles may be found directly in Apple’s iTunes Appstore.

Criticism

The stories are often simplistic and sometimes rely on authentic but singular sources for the script. This has led to the criticism that they should not be considered as "history". The illustrations in Amar Chitra Katha created a generation of Indians who could visualize historical and mythological characters only through these. These were often not very thoroughly researched and true picturisations, but were later emulated in TV series like ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Ramayana’. A lot of these were derivatives of artist Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings and depictions. The simplistic portrayal of characters as villains and heroes (much like the ones in mainstream Hindi movies) betrayed an association with certain ethnic stereotypes. For example, all demons were portrayed with dark complexion.

Though some of these criticisms held valid in some comic series, many of the critics themselves are often politically motivated by the ideologies of their religion or academic institution; prejudice itself frequently forms the basis of some criticisms.

 

Courtesy: Wikipedia and various sources on Internet

Filed under: Author of the week, , ,

Howard Jacobson wins the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2010

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Howard Jacobson was named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Finkler Question, published by Bloomsbury.

London author and columnist Howard Jacobson has been longlisted twice for the prize, in 2006 for Kalooki Nights and in 2002 for Who’s Sorry Now, but has never before been shortlisted.

The Finkler Question is a novel about love, loss and male friendship, and explores what it means to be Jewish today.

Said to have ‘some of the wittiest, most poignant and sharply intelligent comic prose in the English language’, The Finkler Question has been described as ‘wonderful’ and ‘richly satisfying’ and as a novel of ‘full of wit, warmth, intelligence, human feeling and understanding’.

This is the third Man Booker winner published by Bloomsbury. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood won the prize in 2000 and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje in 1992. The publisher has had six shortlisted books including Cats Eye (1989), Alias Grace (1996) and Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood, Lies of Silence (1990) by Brian Moore, Crossing the River (1993) by Caryl Phillips and The Map of Love (1999) by Ahdaf Soueif.

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Sir Andrew Motion, Chair of the judges, made the announcement, which was broadcast by the BBC from the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall. Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man, presented Howard Jacobson with a cheque for £50,000.

Andrew Motion comments ‘The Finkler Question is a marvellous book: very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle. It is all that it seems to be and much more than it seems to be. A completely worthy winner of this great prize.’

Over and above his prize of £50,000, Howard Jacobson can expect a huge increase in sales and recognition worldwide. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book.

The judging panel for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was: Andrew Motion (Chair), former Poet Laureate; Rosie Blau, Literary Editor of the Financial Times; Deborah Bull, formerly a dancer, now Creative Director of the Royal Opera House as well as a writer and broadcaster; Tom Sutcliffe, journalist, broadcaster and author and Frances Wilson, biographer and critic.

Sales of the books longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize have been stronger than ever before, with sales over 45% higher than last year.

(Courtesy: The Man Booker Prize)

 

 

The Finkler Question

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Howard Jacobson’s novel The Finkler Question begins with a mugging – of a man by a woman. Superficially at least, the female assailant relieves her victim of more than his belongings. She relieves him of his manliness. (Nothing is as unmanning as being manhandled by a woman.) The story, however, is more complicated than that.

The victim of this assault is Julian Treslove, a former producer of BBC arts programs and now a celebrity lookalike who looks like no celebrity in particular but is versatile enough to keep his job at the agency. With a Hampstead apartment not quite in Hampstead and two sons he doesn’t particularly care for (by different women, both ex-girlfriends), he is, to be blunt, a bit of a loser. Though prodigiously adept at falling in love, he is nevertheless unlucky in it. He is 49 years old, and single.

Treslove has spent the evening with two friends, both of whom are also single, their wives having died within a month of each other. Sam Finkler, Treslove’s childhood pal, is a philosopher in the Alain de Botton mould (Descartes for Daters, that kind of thing), while Libor Sevcik, a Mittel-European dandy and former Hollywood columnist, is their nonagenarian former tutor. Both are Jewish, unlike Treslove, who refers to Jewish people as "Finklers", "Jew" being too small and furtive a word, in his opinion, for people such as Finkler, who is big and has "extravagant features". To call Jews Finklers, Treslove thinks, is to challenge the negative stereotype of them. It never occurs to him that it is the stereotype that gives the word "Jew" its "dark" associations. But then Treslove, for all his powers of impersonation, could never be taken for one of life’s thinkers.

Nor, indeed, as one of life’s Finklers, though his female assailant begs to differ: when she mugs him, she says the words "you Jew". Or that’s what Treslove thinks she says. His philo-Semitism, or Finklerphilia, is such that he may be imagining it. Whatever the truth, his obsession with Jewishness grows as a result of the attack, as does his self-esteem. Both alight, in romantic fashion, on a "Finkleress" called Hephzibah, who is setting up a museum of Anglo-Jewish culture on the Abbey Road in North London. As Sevcik and Finkler argue about Israel (this, says Treslove, is "the Finkler question"), the museum comes under attack from vandals.

And it is here that Jacobson’s satire darkens, as that most protean of psychological phenomena, anti-Semitism (Finklerphobia?), rises from the filth like a golem.

Though perhaps a little schematic at times, The Finkler Question is an enjoyable novel. Jacobson’s ear is sharply attuned to modern anti-Semitism, to "the incessant buzzing of rumour and reproach" to which Jews are subjected and subject themselves. His portrait of the anti-Zionist crowd that meets under the name "ASHamed Jews" is frequently hilarious. One especially pitiless passage is reserved for a comedian who finds out he is Jewish "in the course of making a television program in which he was confronted on camera with who he really was". Jacobson continues: "In the final frame of the film he was disclosed weeping before a memorial in Auschwitz to dead ancestors who until that moment he had never known he’d had. ‘It could explain where I get my comic genius from,’ he told an interviewer for a newspaper, though by then he had renegotiated his new allegiance. Born a Jew on Monday, he had signed up to be an ASHamed Jew by Wednesday and was seen chanting ‘We are all Hezbollah’ outside the Israeli Embassy the following Saturday."

"You’re all too quick on your feet," says Treslove, in point of the Jewish sense of humour, to which Hephzibah replies, "Have to be . . . You never know when you might be packing your bags." Thus are comedy and catastrophe linked, as indeed they are by this novel, which is as politically timely as it is comically well-timed. One finishes it with an uncomfortable sense that this story has some way to go.

Reviewed by Richard King

Courtesy: The Sunday Morning Herald

Filed under: Author of the week, , ,

Vargas Llosa wins literature Nobel

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Peruvian writer and one-time presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa, a chronicler of human struggles against authoritarian power in Latin America, won the 2010 Nobel prize for literature on Thursday.

An outstanding member of the a generation of writers that led a resurgence in Latin American literature in the 1960s, Vargas Llosa was a champion of the left in his youth and later evolved into an outspoken conservative, a shift that infuriated much of Latin America’s leftist intelligentsia.

"I hope they gave it to me more for my literary work and not my political opinions," the 74-year-old author said at a news conference in New York.

"I think Latin American literature deals with power and politics and this was inevitable. We in Latin America have not solved basic problems such as freedom," Vargas Llosa said.

"Literature is an expression of life and you can’t eradicate politics from life," he added.

The Swedish Academy awarding the 10 million crown ($1.5 million) prize said Vargas Llosa had been chosen "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat."

The author of more than 30 novels, plays and essays, Vargas Llosa made his international breakthrough in the 1960s with "The Time of the Hero", a novel about cadets at a military academy. Many of his works are built on his experiences of life in Peru in the late 1940s and the 1950s.

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LITERARY FEUD

Long tipped as a potential winner, Vargas Llosa is the Latin America’s first Nobel winner for literature since Mexico‘s Octavio Paz took the prize in 1990.

He joins winners from the region that include Pablo Neruda of Chile and Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez — who Vargas Llosa famously punched in 1976.

The public punch is at the center of one of the literary world’s best-known feuds. The two friends ceased speaking to each other afterward and for decades the reason for the fight has been a mystery.

A photographer who captured Garcia Marquez — and his black eye — wrote about the incident in 2007 and suggested it concerned Vargas Llosa’s wife.

In the 1970s, Vargas Llosa, a one-time supporter of the Cuban revolution, denounced Fidel Castro’s communism, maddening many of his leftist literary colleagues like Garcia Marquez.

The writer said he never had any desire to become a politician when he ran for president in 1990 as Peru battled high inflation and the Maoist Shining Path insurgency. He lost to Alberto Fujimori, who has since been convicted of harboring paramilitaries.

Frustrated after his unsuccessful election run, Vargas Llosa went to live in Spain but remains influential in Latin America as an acclaimed writer and columnist.

Vargas Llosa has become a staunch supporter of free markets and has harshly criticized a new wave of populist left-wing leaders led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Peru’s conservative president, Alan Garcia, said the Nobel award was long overdue.

"This was an enormous act of justice … We have waited for this since our youth," Garcia said, whom the writer criticized last month for not punishing human rights crimes committed years ago by Peru’s military.

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STORYTELLER

The Nobel committee reached Vargas Llosa before dawn in the United States.

"He’s actually having a two-month stint there in Princeton teaching, so I was sort of embarrassed for phoning him so early. But he had been up since 5 o’clock preparing a lecture for Princeton," said Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Nobel committee, praising the writer’s story-telling prowess.

"He has a number of masterpieces in narration because essentially he’s a narrator, he’s a storyteller. My goodness, what a storyteller!"

In "The Feast of the Goat", a 49-year-old woman returns to the Dominican Republic, haunted by memories of her childhood when the nation was led by brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo.

It tells of her efforts to overcome a traumatic past:

"Were you right to come back? You’ll be sorry, Urania… returning to the island you swore you’d never set foot on again…," he writes.

"To prove to yourself you can walk along the streets of this city that is no longer yours, travel through this foreign country and not have it provoke sadness, nostalgia, hatred, bitterness, rage in you."

This was the fourth of this year’s Nobel prizes, following awards for medicine on Monday, physics on Tuesday and chemistry on Wednesday.

 

Courtesy: http://www.reuters.com

(Additional reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr in New York, Mia Shanley in Stockholm, Mike Collett-White and David Cutler in London; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

Books

Beginning and first major works

Vargas Llosa’s first novel, The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros), was published in 1963. The book is set among a community of cadets in a Lima military school, and the plot is based on the author’s own experiences at Lima’s Leoncio Prado Military Academy.This early piece gained wide public attention and immediate success.Its vitality and adept use of sophisticated literary techniques immediately impressed critics,and it won the Premio de la Crítica Española award.Nevertheless, its sharp criticism of the Peruvian military establishment led to controversy in Peru. Several Peruvian generals attacked the novel, claiming that it was the work of a "degenerate mind" and stating that Vargas Llosa was "paid by Ecuador" to undermine the prestige of the Peruvian Army.

In 1965, Vargas Llosa followed The Time of the Hero with The Green House (La casa verde), about a brothel called "The Green House" and how its quasi-mythical presence affects the lives of the characters. The main plot follows Bonifacia, a girl who is about to receive the vows of the church, and her transformation into la Selvatica, the best-known prostitute of "The Green House". The novel immediately received an enthusiastic critical reception, confirming Vargas Llosa as an important voice of Latin American narrative.The Green House won the first edition of the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize in 1967, contending with works by veteran Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti and by Gabriel García Márquez.This novel alone accumulated enough awards to place the author among the leading figures of the Latin American Boom.Some critics still consider The Green House to be Vargas Llosa’s finest and most important achievement.Indeed, Latin American literary critic Gerald Martin suggests that The Green House is "one of the greatest novels to have emerged from Latin America".

Vargas Llosa’s third novel, Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral), was published in 1969, when he was 33. This ambitious narrative is the story of Santiago Zavala, the son of a government minister, and Ambrosio, his chauffeur.A random meeting at a dog pound leads the pair to a riveting conversation at a nearby bar known as "The Cathedral".During the encounter, Zavala searches for the truth about his father’s role in the murder of a notorious Peruvian underworld figure, shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way. Unfortunately for Zavala, his quest results in a dead end with no answers and no sign of a better future. The novel attacks the dictatorial government of Odría by showing how a dictatorship controls and destroys lives.The persistent theme of hopelessness makes Conversation in the Cathedral Vargas Llosa’s most bitter novel.

1970s and the "discovery of humor"

In 1971, Vargas Llosa published García Márquez: Story of a Deicide (García Márquez: historia de un deicidio), which was his doctoral thesis for the Complutense University of Madrid. Although Vargas Llosa wrote this book-length study about his then friend, Nobel prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, they have not spoken to each other in more than 30 years. In 1976, Vargas Llosa punched García Márquez in the face in Mexico City at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, ending the friendship. Neither writer has publicly stated the underlying reasons for the quarrel.A photograph of García Márquez sporting a black eye was published in 2007, reigniting public interest in the feud.Despite the decades of silence, in 2007, Vargas Llosa agreed to allow part of his book to be used as the introduction to a 40th-anniversary edition of García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, which was re-released in Spain and throughout Latin America that year.Historia de un Deicidio was also reissued in that year, as part of Vargas Llosa’s complete works.

Following the monumental work Conversation in the Cathedral, Vargas Llosa’s output shifted away from more serious themes such as politics and problems with society. Latin American literary scholar Raymond L. Williams describes this phase in his writing career as "the discovery of humor".His first attempt at a satirical novel was Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (Pantaleón y las visitadoras), published in 1973.This short, comic novel offers vignettes of dialogues and documents about the Peruvian armed forces and a corps of prostitutes assigned to visit military outposts in remote jungle areas. These plot elements are similar to Vargas Llosa’s earlier novel The Green House, but in a different form. As such, Captain Pantoja and the Special Service is essentially a parody of both The Green House and the literary approach that novel represents. Vargas Llosa’s motivation to write the novel came from actually witnessing prostitutes being hired by the Peruvian Army and brought to serve soldiers in the jungle.

From 1974 to 1987, Vargas Llosa focused on his writing, but also took the time to pursue other endeavors.In 1975, he co-directed a motion-picture adaptation of his novel, Captain Pantoja and the Secret Service.Following that unsuccessful production, he was elected President of the International PEN, a worldwide association of writers.During this time, Vargas Llosa constantly traveled to speak at conferences organized by internationally renowned institutions, such as the University of Jerusalem and the University of Cambridge.

In 1977, Vargas Llosa published Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (La tía Julia y el escribidor), based in part on his marriage to his first wife, Julia Urquidi, to whom he dedicated the novel.She later wrote a memoir, Lo que Varguitas no dijo (What Little Vargas Didn’t Say), in which she gives her personal account of their relationship. She states that Vargas Llosa’s account exaggerates many negative points in their courtship and marriage while minimizing her role of assisting his literary career.Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is considered one of the most striking examples of how the language and imagery of popular culture can be used in literature.The novel was adapted in 1990 into a Hollywood feature film, Tune in Tomorrow.

Later novels

Vargas Llosa in 1982

Mario Vargas Llosa at the Miami Book Fair International of 1985

Vargas Llosa’s fourth major novel, The War of the End of the World (La guerra del fin del mundo), was published in 1981 and was his first attempt at a historical novel.This work initiated a radical change in Vargas Llosa’s style towards themes such as messianism and irrational human behaviour.It recreates the War of Canudos, an incident in 19th-century Brazil in which an armed millenarian cult held off a siege by the national army for months.As in Vargas Llosa’s earliest work, this novel carries a sober and serious theme, and its tone is dark.Vargas Llosa’s bold exploration of humanity’s propensity to idealize violence, and his account of a man-made catastrophe brought on by fanaticism, earned the novel substantial recognition. Because of the book’s ambition and execution, critics have argued that this is one of Vargas Llosa’s greatest literary pieces.Even though the novel has been acclaimed in Brazil, it was initially poorly received because a foreigner was writing about a Brazilian theme.The book was also criticized as revolutionary and anti-socialist.Vargas Llosa claims that this book is his favorite and was his most difficult accomplishment.

After completing The War of the End of the World, Vargas Llosa began to write novels that were significantly shorter than many of his earlier books. In 1983, he finished The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (Historia de Mayta, 1984).The novel focuses on a leftist insurrection that took place on May 29, 1962 in the Andean city of Jauja. Later the same year, during the Sendero Luminoso uprising, Vargas Llosa was asked by the Peruvian President Fernando Belaúnde Terry to join the Investigatory Commission, a task force to inquire into the horrific massacre of eight journalists at the hands of the villagers of Uchuraccay.The Commission’s main purpose was to investigate the murders in order to provide information regarding the incident to the public.Following his involvement with the Investigatory Commission, Vargas Llosa published a series of articles to defend his position in the affair.In 1986, he completed his next novel, Who Killed Palomino Molero (Quién mató a Palomino Molero?), which he began writing shortly after the end of the Uchuraccay investigation.[Though the plot of this mystery novel is similar to the tragic events at Uchuraccay, literary critic Roy Boland points out that it was not an attempt to reconstruct the murders, but rather a "literary exorcism" of Vargas Llosa’s own experiences during the commission.The experience also inspired one of Vargas Llosa’s later novels, Death in the Andes (Lituma en los Andes), originally published in 1993 in Barcelona.

It would be almost 20 years before Vargas Llosa wrote another major work: The Feast of the Goat (La fiesta del chivo), a political thriller, was published in 2000 (and in English in 2001). According to Williams, it is Vargas Llosa’s most complete and most ambitious novel since The War of the End of the World.Based on the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who governed the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961, the novel has three main strands: one concerns Urania Cabral, the daughter of a former politician and Trujillo loyalist, who returns for the first time since leaving the Dominican Republic after Trujillo’s assassination 30 years earlier; the second concentrates on the assassination itself, the conspirators who carry it out, and its consequences; and the third and final strand deals with Trujillo himself in scenes from the end of his regime.The book quickly received positive reviews in Spain and Latin America, and has had a significant impact in Latin America, being regarded as one of Vargas Llosa’s best works.

In 2006, Vargas Llosa wrote The Bad Girl (Travesuras de la niña mala), which journalist Kathryn Harrison approvingly argues is a rewrite (rather than simply a recycling) of Gustave Flaubert‘s Madame Bovary (1856). In Vargas Llosa’s version, the plot relates the decades-long obsession of its narrator, a Peruvian expatriate, with a woman with whom he first fell in love when both were teenagers.

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Fiction

Non-fiction

  • 1971 – García Márquez: historia de un deicidio (García Márquez: Story of a Deicide)
  • 1975 – La orgía perpetua: Flaubert y "Madame Bovary" (The Perpetual Orgy)
  • 1990 – La verdad de las mentiras: ensayos sobre la novela moderna (A Writer’s Reality)
  • 1993 – El pez en el agua. Memorias (A Fish in the Water)
  • 1996 – La utopía arcaica: José María Arguedas y las ficciones del indigenismo (Archaic utopia: José María Arguedas and the fictions of indigenismo)
  • 1997 – Cartas a un joven novelista (Letters to a Young Novelist)
  • 2001 – El lenguaje de la pasión (The Language of Passion)
  • 2004 – La tentación de lo imposible (The Temptation of the Impossible)
  • 2007 – El Pregón de Sevilla (as Introduction for LOS TOROS)
  • 2009 – El Viaje a la Ficcion

Drama

  • 1952 – La huida del inca
  • 1981 – La señorita de Tacna
  • 1983 – Kathie y el hipopótamo

Vargas Llosa’s essays and journalism have been collected as Contra viento y marea, issued in three volumes (1983, 1986, and 1990). A selection has been edited by John King and translated and published as Making Waves.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

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Later life and political involvement

Like many other Latin American intellectuals, Vargas Llosa was initially a supporter of the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro.He studied Marxism in depth as a university student and was later persuaded by communist ideals after the success of the Cuban Revolution.Gradually, Vargas Llosa came to believe that Cuban socialism was incompatible with what he considered to be general liberties and freedoms. The official rupture between the writer and the policies of the Cuban government occurred with the so-called Padilla Affair, when Castro imprisoned the poet Heberto Padilla. Vargas Llosa, along with other intellectuals of the time, wrote to Castro protesting the Cuban political system and its imprisonment of the artist. Vargas Llosa has identified himself with liberalism rather than extreme left-wing political ideologies ever since.Since he relinquished his earlier leftism, he has opposed both left- and right-wing authoritarian regimes.

With his appointment to the Investigatory Commission in 1983 he experienced what literary critic Jean Franco calls "the most uncomfortable event in [his] political career".Unfortunately for Vargas Llosa, his involvement with the Investigatory Commission led to immediate negative reactions and defamation from the Peruvian press; many suggested that the massacre was a conspiracy to keep the journalists from reporting the presence of government paramilitary forces in Uchuraccay.The commission concluded that it was the indigenous villagers who had been responsible for the killings; for Vargas Llosa the incident showed "how vulnerable democracy is in Latin America and how easily it dies under dictatorships of the right and left".These conclusions, and Vargas Llosa personally, came under intense criticism: anthropologist Enrique Mayer, for instance, accused him of "paternalism",while fellow anthropologist Carlos Iván Degregori criticized him for his ignorance of the Andean world. Vargas Llosa was accused of actively colluding in a government cover-up of army involvement in the massacre.US Latin American literature scholar Misha Kokotovic summarizes that the novelist was charged with seeing "indigenous cultures as a ‘primitive’ obstacle to the full realization of his Western model of modernity". Shocked both by the atrocity itself and then by the reaction his report had provoked, Vargas Llosa responded that his critics were apparently more concerned with his report than with the hundreds of peasants who would later die at the hands of the Sendero Luminoso guerrilla organization.

Over the course of the decade, Vargas Llosa became known for his staunch neoliberal views. In 1987, he helped form and soon became a leader of the Movimiento Libertad.The following year his party entered a coalition with the parties of Peru’s two principal conservative politicians at the time, ex-president Fernando Belaúnde Terry (of the Popular Action party) and Luis Bedoya Reyes (of the Partido Popular Cristiano), to form the tripartite center-right coalition known as Frente Democrático (FREDEMO). He ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 as the candidate of the FREDEMO coalition. He proposed a drastic economic austerity program that frightened most of the country’s poor; this program emphasized the need for privatization, a market economy, free trade, and most importantly, the dissemination of private property. Although he won the first round with 34% of the vote, Vargas Llosa was defeated by a then-unknown agricultural engineer, Alberto Fujimori, in the subsequent run-off.Vargas Llosa included an account of his run for the presidency in the memoir A Fish in the Water (El pez en el agua, 1993).Since his political defeat, he has focused mainly on his writing, with only occasional political involvement.

A month after losing the election, Vargas Llosa attended a conference of intellectuals in Mexico at the invitation of Octavio Paz, that country’s most eminent writer (as it happens, this was the month before the announcement that Paz himself was to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature). The conference, entitled, "The 20th century: the experience of freedom", was dedicated to discussing the collapse of communist rule in central and eastern Europe. It was broadcast on Mexican television from 27 August to 2 September. In an address delivered 30 August 1990, Vargas Llosa embarrassed his host by condemning the Mexican system of power, which was based on the permanent rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which at that point had been in power for sixty-one years, and which Vargas Llosa criticized by name. He declared, "Mexico is the perfect dictatorship. The perfect dictatorship is not communism, not the USSR, not Fidel Castro; the perfect dictatorship is Mexico. Because it is a camouflaged dictatorship."Referring to the PRI, he added, "I don’t believe that there has been in Latin America any case of a system of dictatorship which has so efficiently recruited the intellectual milieu, bribing it with great subtlety." The statement, "Mexico is the perfect dictatorship" became a cliché in Mexicoand internationally, until the PRI finally lost the presidency of Mexico in 2000.

Vargas Llosa has mainly lived in London since the 1990s,but spends roughly three months of the year in Peru. Vargas Llosa also acquired Spanish citizenship in 1993; he frequently visits Spain for various conferences and enjoys vacationing there.In 1994 he was elected a member of the Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy)and has been involved in the country’s political arena. In February 2008 he stopped supporting the People’s Party in favor of the recently created Union, Progress and Democracy, claiming that certain conservative views held by the former party are at odds with his classical liberal beliefs. His political ideologies appear in the book Política razonable, written with Fernando Savater, Rosa Díez, Álvaro Pombo, Albert Boadella and Carlos Martínez Gorriarán.He continues to write, both journalism and fiction, and to travel extensively. He has also taught as a visiting professor at a number of prominent universities.

 

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ONV Kurup And Akhlaq Khan Shahryar Selected For Jnanpith

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Veteran Malayalam poet and film lyricist O N V Kurup has bagged the Jnanpith award for 2007. He is the fifth Jnanpith laureate from Kerala and the second poet from the state to win the prestigious award. During his seven-decade-long career, the winner of the country’s highest literary honour bagged several state and national awards, including the Padmashree in 1998.

Kurup, 79, began his illustrious poetic career during his school days. His first work, Poruthunna Soundaryam, was published in 1949. He became a college lecturer in 1957 and continued as an academician for the next 30 years. He started writing lyrics for films in 1955 and over the years has bagged state awards for the best lyricist 12 times.

Reacting to his winning the Jnanpith, Kurup said, “I am writing for better days for humankind. I am still drawing inspiration for writing from the life of my coastal village. The award is recognition of the Malayalam language.”

 

Ottaplakkal Neelakandan Velu Kurup,popularly known as O.N.V. Kurup, is a Malayalam poet and lyricist from Kerala, India, who won Jnanpith Award,the highest literary award in India for the year 2007. He is acknowledged by the people of Kerala as one of the greatest living poets in India. O. N. V. Kurup is also a lyricist in Malayalam cinema. He received the Padmashri Award from the Government of India in 1998. In 2007 he was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate by University of Kerala, Trivandrum. He is also called O.N.V., without the surname. O. N. V. is known for his leftist leaning.He was the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency for the Lok-Sabha elections in 1989.

Biography

O.N.V. Kurup was born to O. N. Krishna Kurup and K. Lakshmikutty Amma, on May 27, 1931 at Chavara, Kollam in Kerala.He lost his father when he was eight. His childhood days were spent in the village where he attended the public ‘Government School, Chavara’. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from SN College, Kollam, he moved to Thiruvananthapuram city (Trivandrum) where he joined Travancore University (now Kerala University) and pursued Master of Arts (postgraduate) in Malayalam literature.

O.N.V. was a lecturer at Maharajas CollegeErnakulam, University College – Trivandrum, Arts and Science College – Kozhikode, and Brennen CollegeThalassery. He joined Government Women’s College – Trivandrum as the Head of Malayalam Department. He was also a visiting professor at Calicut University. He retired from service in 1986.

ONV received the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary honour, for the year 2007.He is the fifth Jnanpith laureate from Kerala and the second Malayalam poet to win the prestigious award.According to a statement by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the trust which presents the award, Kurup began his career as a "progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology".

He is now settled in Vazhuthacaud in Thiruvanathapuram, with his wife Sarojini, son Rajeev, and daughter Mayadevi.

Poetry

O. N. V.’s first published poem was ‘Munnottu’ (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly in 1946. His first poetry collection named Porutunna Soundaryam, came out in 1949. He published a book named Dahikunna Panapatram (The Thirsty Chalice) which was a collection of his early poems during 1946-1956.

Poetic works

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List of Poetry by O. N. V.

# Name Translation in English Year of Publishing
1 Daahikunna Paanapaathram The Thirsty Chalice 1956
2 Marubhumi The Desert  
3 Neelakkannukal Blue Eyes  
4 Mayilpeeli Peacock Feather 1964
5 Oru Thulli Velicham A Drop of Light  
6 Agni Shalabhangal Fire Moths 1971
7 Aksharam Alphabet 1974
8 Karutha Pakshiyude Paattu Song of a Black Bird 1977
9 Uppu The Salt 1980
10 Bhumikku Oru Charama Geetham A Dirge for the Earth 1984
11 Shaarngka Pakshikal   1987
12 Mrigaya Hunting 1990
13 Thonnyaksharangal Nonsense Alphabets 1989
14 Aparahnam Afternoon 1991
15 Ujjayini Ujjain 1994
16 Veruthe Gratis (For Nothing)  
17 Swayamvaram Swayamvara 1995
18 Bhairavante Thudi Drum of Bhairavan  
19 Oyenviyude Ganangal * Songs of O.N.V.  
20 Valappottukal ** Pieces of Bangle  
*Collection of 1500 songs. **Poems for children

Prose list

List of Prose by O. N. V.

# Name Translation in English Year of Publishing
1 Kavitayile Samantara Rekhakal Parallel Lines in Poetry  
2 Kavitayile Pratisandhikal Crisis in Poetry  
3 Ezhuthachan – Oru Padanam Ezhuthachan – A Study  
4 Patheyam Food carried  
5 Kalpanikam Imaginative  
6 Pushkin – Swatantrya Bodhatinte Durantagatha    

As a lyricist

In addition to the valuable contributions he had given to the Malayalam literature, he is one of the leading lyricists in Malayalam film/play/album industry. He was the part of many plays by Kerala People’s Arts Club (KPAC) which has a major remark in the revolutionary movements of Kerala. Kalam Marunnu (1956) was his first film which was also the first film by the famous Malayalam composer G. Devarajan. Since then he has been active in film till date and was honoured with one national award and thirteen state awards (the most by a Malayalee). He has penned for about 900 songs in about 232 films and a numerous songs for plays and albums. His partnerships with Salil Chowdhury and M. B. Sreenivasan was so popular in Malayalam film industry. He has made many hit songs with popular music directors, including G. Devarajan, V. Dakshinamoorthy, M. S. Baburaj, Raveendran, M. K. Arjunan, K. Raghavan, Shyam, Johnson, M. G. Radhakrishnan, S. P. Venkatesh, Ouseppachan, and Vidhyadharan.

Awards

Awards from State / Central Governments

O. N. V. has won two major awards from the Kerala State and two from the Indian government.

National Film Awards

Kerala State Film Awards

He won the Kerala State film awards for the Best Lyricist thirteen times:

Asianet Film Awards

Other awards and recognition

  • 1981 – Soviet Land Nehru Award for Uppu (A noted poetic work of Dr. Kurup)
  • 1982 – Vayalar Rama Varma Award for Uppu
  • 2007 – Honorary Doctorate (honoris causa) by University of Kerala
  • 2008 – Ezhuthachan Award
  • 2009 – Ramashramam Trust Award

Positions Held

ONV has served and headed various office of state and central government organisations. Notably:

  1. Executive Member, Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi from 1982-86.
  2. Chairman, Kerala Kalamandalam – the State Akademi of Classical performing Arts(1996).
  3. Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Academy in 1999.

He also has been the part of various delegation at international events. Some of the notable among them being:

  1. Visited USSR as member of an Indian Writers Delegation to participate in the 150th birth anniversary of Leo Tolstoy.
  2. Represented India in the Struga Poetry Evenings, Yugoslavia (1987)
  3. Attended CISAC Asian Conference in Singapore(1990).
  4. Visited USA to participate in FOKANA Conference(1993).
  5. Visited USA to inaugurate literary seminar in Kerala Centre, New York (1995).
  6. Presented poems on Beethoven and Mozart in the Department of German, University of Bonn.
  7. Indian delegate to the CISAC World Conference held in Berlin (1998).

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Love was the central theme of his poems and the several lyrics he wrote for films. While remaining a humanist poet, he never disassociated from the Leftist ideals in which he had deep faith. Entering the poetic world through the pro-Communist theatre movement,O N V had written scores of songs for dramas, especially for the Kerala Peoples’ Arts Centre (KPAC), which are still on the tongues of the Malayalis. Along with distinguished lyricists like Vayalar Ramavarma and P Bhaskaran, O N V was one of the leading poets who could inspire a generation to lean to the Left through revolutionary songs with a romantic tinge.

O N V’s portrayal of nature has an extraordinary charm with which he lured readers into the core of his work. And when nature faced threats, he came out with a dirge for earth `Bhoomikoru Charamageetham’ (Lament for the Earth). O N V is the fifth recipient of the country’s highest literary honour for Malayalam language, after G Sankara Kurup, S K Pottekkat, Thakazhi Shivashankara Pillai and M T Vasudevan Nair. He is the second among Malayalam poet to receive the honour after the first-ever Jnanpith was awarded to the late G Sankara Kurup.

“I consider this as an honour for Malayalam poetry. I truly believe that Malayalam poetry does not lag behind poetry in any other language and I accept this honour recalling the invaluable contributions from the illustrious pioneers of Malayalam literature,” O N V, who is on a tour of the Gulf, said on hearing the news. Sharing the elation of the literary fraternity, Jnanpith laureate M T Vasudevan Nair said this was a moment of great joy for entire Kerala. “O N V has been writing poetry for over six decades. He still retains the poetic flair in his mind without losing its vibrancy,” Nair said. State Culture Minister M A Baby said he considered this as an honour for entire Keralites as O N V continues to be the `beloved poet’ of Malayalees.

Listen ONV’s poems

 

 

 

Akhlaq Mohammed Khan ‘Shahryar’

(Jnanpith , 2008)

Dr. Akhlaq Mohammed Khan ‘Shahryar’ is an Indian academician, and a doyen of Urdu poetry in India, as a lyricist in Hindi films, he is most noted for his lyrics in films, Gaman (1978), Umrao Jaan (1981) and Anjuman (hindi film) (1986), by Muzaffar Ali, he writes under his pen name ‘Shahryar’.

He was awarded the 1987 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for his poetry collection, Khwab Ka Dar Band Hai(1987)

He remained a professor of Urdu at Aligarh Muslim University, and in 1996, retired as chairman of the Urdu Department at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, where he stays now

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Biography

Early life and education

Akhlaq Mohammed Khan was born on 16 June 1936, at village Anwalla, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh in a Muslim Rajput family. He received his early education at Bulandshahr and later studied at Aligarh Muslim University.

Career

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He started his career as a literary assistant at Anjuman Tarraqqi-e-Urdu, there after he joined Aligarh Muslim University as a lecturer in Urdu, he was appointed professor in 1986, and in 1996, he retired as chairman of the Urdu Department at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, where he now lives and devotes his time entirely to poetry, and also co-edits the literary magazine "Sher-o-Hikmat" (Poetry and Philosophy),.

Works

His first poetry collection Ism-e-azam was published in 1965, the second collection, Satvan dar (Satva yet in English), came in 1969, the third collection titled Hijr ke mausam was released in 1978, his most celebrated work, Khwab Ke dar band hain, came in 1987, and also won him the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for the year. He has also published five collections of his poetry in devnagari script.

  • Ism-e-azam, 1965.
  • Satvan dar, 1969.
  • Hijr ke mausam, 1978.
  • Khwab Ke dar band Hain, 1987.
  • Neend ki Kirchen – (English: Neend That Churches) .
  • Through the Closed Doorway: A Collection of Nazms by Shahryar, tr. Rakhshanda Jalil. 2004, Rupa & Co., ISBN 812910458X.
  • Shahryar, Akhlaq Mohmmad Khan : Influence of the western criticism on the Urdu criticism, Aligarh.
  • Dhud ki Roshni (English: Dhud of Roshni): Selected Poems of Shahryar, 2003, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 8126016159.

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Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010: Rana Dasgupta

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SOLO by Rana Dasgupta, was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010 Best Book. The award was given away by Dr Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs at an award ceremony in New Delhi on 12 April 2010.

Solo is a kaleidoscopic novel about the life and daydreams of Ulrich, a one hundred-year-old man from Bulgaria. Set in a country that has belonged sometimes to Asia and sometimes to Europe, Solo is a book about lost roots, broken traditions and wasted ambitions – and the ways human beings overcome those failures.

In a press release by the Commonwealth Foundation, the judges said that they ‘chose Solo for its innovation, ambition, courage and effortless elegant prose. A remarkable novel of two halves, this is a book that takes risks and examines the places where grim reality and fantastical daydreams merge, diverge, and feed off each other. Solo, the judges concluded, is a tour de force, breathtaking in its boldness and narrative panache.’

Present on the occasion were Professor M G K Menon, President, India International Centre, Dr Mark Collins, Director, Commonwealth Foundation, Mr Charles Gray, Global Head of Financial Services, Macquarie Group, Hon Justice Nicholas Hasluck AM, Chair, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General. The evening was moderated by Barkha Dutt, Indian TV Journalist and Columnist.

Siddon Rock by Glenda Guest from Australia was declared of the winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2010 Best First Book.

The 2010 pan-Commonwealth panel of judges which decided the overall winners was chaired by Hon Justice Nicholas Hasluck AM (Chair of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize), and comprised of the four regional chairpersons: Elinor Sisulu (Africa); Antonia MacDonald-Smythe (Caribbean and Canada); Muneeza Shamsie (South Asia and Europe); and Anne Brewster (South East Asia and Pacific), along with the Delhi-based local judge Makarand Paranjape, twice regional chair of the Prize.

Rana Dasgupta

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Rana Dasgupta (born November 5, 1971 in Canterbury, England) is a British-Indian novelist and essayist. He grew up in Cambridge, England and studied at Balliol College, Oxford, the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud in Aix-en-Provence, and the University of Wisconsin邦adison. He lives in Delhi, India.
His first novel, Tokyo Cancelled (2005), is an examination of the forces and experiences of globalization. Billed as a modern-day Canterbury Tales, thirteen passengers stuck overnight in an airport tell thirteen stories from different cities in the world, stories that resemble contemporary fairytales, mythic and surreal. The tales add up to a broad exploration of 21st century forms of life, which includes billionaires, film stars, migrant labourers, illegal immigrants and sailors. [1] Tokyo Cancelled was shortlisted for the 2005 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.

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Dasgupta’s second novel, Solo (2009) is an epic tale of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries told from the perspective of a one hundred-year old Bulgarian man. Having achieved little in his twentieth-century life, he settles into a long and prophetic daydream of the twenty-first century, where all the ideological experiments of the old century are over, and a collection of startling characters – demons and angels – live a life beyond utopia. Rana Dasgupta has been awarded the 」10,000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for his novel Solo.

 

About the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

The Commonwealth Foundation established the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1987. The objectives of the prize are to promote new voices, reward achievement, encourage wider readership and greater literacy, thereby increasing appreciation of different cultures and building understanding between cultures. The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize is chaired by Justice Nicholas Hasluck, distinguished Australian author and leading judicial officer.

 

Courtesy: www.connect.in.com/ranadasgupta/biography-1937561.html

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Boots ‘n’ berets

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Author of ‘She is a Jolly Good Fellow’ Sajita Nair at an interview with Metroplus. Photo:V Sreenivasa Murthy

I swear I met an ex-army officer who has written a chick-lit book. Sajitha Nair was one of the first women to join the Army and after serving a term of five years as a Short Service Commission officer, Sajitha turned writer with “She’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

Sajitha was one of those people who had the words, but never the opportunity. Even while she served the country, got married and started a family, she let the literature in her live.

Growing up with a parent in the Army and having been in the Army herself, Sajitha is well versed with Army life and lingo, and she makes it available to us civilians through her book, which Sajitha says, can be considered semi-autobiographical.

The issue of assets

She has narrated the story of two women officers who need to prove to their male counterparts they are assets to the Indian Army rather than merely those with assets; a struggle that she had also endured.

Of Deepa Shekhar and Anjali Sharma her two leading ladies in “She’s a Jolly good Fellow”, Sajitha says Deepa is a sketch that somewhat resembles her. She was an officer to the hilt, did not condone any nonsense and insisted on being called “Saheb”. “In the Army when you are rigid or extremely serious, it’s called ‘being OG’,” she explains. OG stands for olive green, the colour of the Army.

Sajitha admired her father in his uniform and grew up harbouring a desire to earn the honour of wearing it herself one day, “I grew up liking the idea of wearing the uniform.” . Little did she know then that she would marry a man in uniform as well, and from her personal posse she has collected anecdotes over the years that feature in her book.

While she began by writing articles for magazines, newspapers and travelogues, she knew that somewhere there was a book brewing inside her. It was only a matter of biding time and willing publisher. “I always liked writing, but to be published you need to be good,” she says.

While she continued writing articles for different publications, never did she account her experiences in the Army. “I never used any stories from my Army experiences anywhere even though I was requested to.” She knew there would be a book and made sure she saved them for her pet project. So the theme was set, the story outline prepared all she needed was a taker. It was at this juncture that the Kala Ghoda Literary Festival happened. During a book pitch contest at the festival, Nair’s pitch was chosen by Hachette as the winning entry and involuntarily became the completing piece of the puzzle.

Nair wrote her manuscript three times before she was satisfied. Now that she has marched forward, Sajitha does not plan on standing at ease and has already begun planning her next mission.

By Catherine Rhea Roy

Courtesy: The Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/arts/books/article507615.ece

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Mónica González Mujica of Chile to receive UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2010

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The Chilean journalist, Mónica González Mujica, a heroine of the struggle against dictatorship in her country, has been named laureate of the 2010 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

“Throughout her professional life, Mónica González Mujica has shown courage in shining the light on the dark side of Chile,” said the President of the jury, Joe Thloloe, Press Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa. “She has embodied the very spirit of the Award. She has been jailed, tortured, hauled before the courts but has remained steadfast.”
“Ms González is now ploughing her experience back to the younger generation through her work at the Center of Journalism and Investigation and her workshops on investigative journalism in various countries,” added Mr Thloloe.
In naming the laureate, the Director-General endorsed the recommendation of an international jury of 12 professional journalists from all over the world. “Mónica González Mujica has undergone years of hardship defending freedom of expression, one of the core values UNESCO was created to uphold. She now shows equal commitment to education, which is another main priority of our Organization,” said Ms Bokova.
She will present the Prize to Ms González in a ceremony on 3 May,
World Press Freedom Day, which UNESCO will celebrate this year in Brisbane, Australia.
Born in 1949, Ms González spent four years in exile following the military coup of 1973. She returned to Chile in 1978 where harassment from the secret services made her lose jobs repeatedly. As a journalist, she investigated human rights violations as well as the financial doings of General Pinochet and his family.
Ms González was imprisoned and tortured from 1984 to 1985 for this work. Yet, upon her release she went back to investigative reporting, publishing articles and books about the abuses of the military dictatorship. She was detained again and numerous court cases were brought against her.
Since Chile’s return to democracy in 1990, Ms González has continued working as a newspaper editor and journalist. She has been directing the Center of Journalism and Investigation (Santiago, Chile) since 2007, while conducting workshops on investigative journalism in Chile and abroad.

 

About the Prize

Created in 1997 by UNESCO’s Executive Board, the Press Freedom Prize is awarded annually to honour the work of an individual or an organization defending or promoting freedom of expression anywhere in the world, especially if this action puts the individual’s life at risk. Candidates are proposed by UNESCO Member States, and regional or international organizations that defend and promote freedom of expression.
Since its creation, the US $25,000 prize – financed by the Cano and Ottaway family foundations, and by JP/Politiken Newspaper LTD – has been awarded to the following laureates: Lasantha Wickrematunge (Sri Lanka, 2009), Lydia Cacho (Mexico, 2008), Anna Politkovskaya (Russian Federation, 2007), May Chidiac (Lebanon, 2006), Cheng Yizhong, (China, 2005), Raúl Rivero (Cuba, 2004), Amira Hass (Israel, 2003), Geoffrey Nyarota (Zimbabwe, 2002), U Win Tin (Myanmar, 2001), Nizar Nayyouf (Syria, 2000), Jesus Blancornelas (Mexico, 1999), Christina Anyanwu (Nigeria, 1998), Gao Yu (China, 1997).

 

Courtesy: http://portal.unesco.org

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Hans Christian Andersen Award 2010 to David Almond

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David Almond

Growing up . . . involves coming to terms with a world in which reality and myth, truth and lies, turn about each other in a creative dance, as they always have and always will.

David Almond

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David Almond was born in 1951 in the northeast part of England.  The product of a stable, Roman Catholic family, his childhood was marred by the death of an infant sister and the premature death of his father. He draws on these experiences to create the thread that runs through his writing; i.e., life brings us through a succession of contrasts: good and evil, hope and despair, struggle and triumph, wonder and doubt. His books are filled with the language, landscape, and history of northeastern England, a place where real and imaginary characters and real and imaginary places co-exist.

Almond was educated at local schools in Felling and Sunderland and at St. Joseph’s Catholic Grammar School in Hebburn. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia and worked for some time as a teacher in a primary school in Gateshead. His early work spoke to an adult audience, but with the novel Skellig (1998), he discovered a new audience and a new voice. Skellig is the story of a dirty, homeless creature who is discovered by two children who protect and nurture him. They draw power from each other, allowing each to soar into a world of self-discovery.

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Skellig and Almond’s subsequent work have received international acclaim and been the subject of academic study. He has published ten more novels for young people and a children’s play, Wild Girl, Wild Boy. Other novels have been adapted for the stage, TV and film. His characters display youthful imagination and creativity as they actively engage in the natural and social world around them. Adults are depicted as sources of love and stability, but it is the young people who make their own choices and discover who they are themselves. 

Almond’s work has a universal resonance and appeal. While grounded in everyday backgrounds and experiences, the characters are drawn to amazing revelations and often to mysterious events or surreal creatures. Almond’s penchant for illustrating truth through contradiction continues to be woven through his stories: melding the personal with the global, making distant terror immediate, and finding hope from despair.

Selected bibliography

Skellig (1998) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

The Fire Eaters (2003) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

Clay (2005) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

Jackdaw Summer (2008) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

The Savage. Illus. by Dave McKean (2008) London: Walker Children’s Books.

 

About the Award

The Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury of the international Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) announces that David Almond from the United Kingdom is the winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award and Jutta Bauer from Germany is the winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award.

The Andersen medals and diplomas will be presented to the winners at the international IBBY congress in Santiago de Compostela, Spain on Saturday, 11 September 2010. 

The Award, considered the most prestigious in international children’s literature, is given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People to a living author and illustrator whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children’s literature.

In awarding the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Medal for writing to David Almond, the jury has recognized the unique voice of a creator of magic realism for children. Almond captures his young readers’ imagination and motivates them to read, think and be critical.  His use of language is sophisticated and reaches across the ages. 

The 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration recognizes Jutta Bauer as a powerful narrator who blends real life with legend through her pictures.  The jury admired her philosophical approach, originality, creativity as well as her ability to communicate with young readers.

David Almond was selected from 28 authors for the award. The four finalists were: Ahmad Reza Ahmadi from Iran, Bartolomeu Campos de Queiros from Brazil, Lennart Hellsing from Sweden and Louis Jensen from Denmark

Jutta Bauer was selected from 27 illustrators nominated. The four finalists were Carll Cneut from Belgium, Etienne Delessert from Switzerland, Svjetlan Junakovic from Croatia and Roger Mello from Brazil.

The other author candidates were Liliana Bodoc (Argentina), Heinz Janisch (Austria), Pierre Coran (Belgium), Brian Doyle (Canada), Liu Xianping (China), Maria Pyliotou (Cyprus), Pavel Šrut (Czech Republic), Hannu Mäkelä (Finland), Jean-Claude Mourlevat (France), Peter Härtling (Germany), Loty Petrovits-Andrutsopulou (Greece), Eoin Colfer (Ireland), Shuntaro Tanikawa (Japan), Alberto Blanco (Mexico), Dashdondog Jamba (Mongolia), Peter van Gestel (Netherlands), Bjørn Sortland (Norway), Ján Uličiansky (Slovak Republic), Tone Pavček (Slovenia), Jordi Sierra i Fabra (Spain), Muzaffer İzgü (Turkey), Evangeline Ledi Barongo (Uganda),  and Walter Dean Myers (USA).

The other illustrator candidates were Luis Scafati (Argentina), Linda Wolfsgruber (Austria), Marie-Louise Gay (Canada), Jiří Šalamoun (Czech Republic), Lilian Brøgger (Denmark), Salla Savolainen (Finland), Grégoire Solotareff (France), Diatsenta Parissi (Greece), P. J. Lynch (Ireland), Akiko Hayashi (Japan), Kęstutis Kasparavičius (Lithuania), Fabricio Vanden Broeck (Mexico), Harrie Geelen (Netherlands), Thore Hansen (Norway), Nickolay Popov (Russia), Peter Uchnár (Slovakia), Ančka Gošnik Godec (Slovenia), Xan López Domínguez (Spain), Anna-Clara Tidholm (Sweden), Can Göknil (Turkey), Michael Foreman (United Kingdom) and Eric Carle (USA).

Courtesy: http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=1019

Filed under: Author of the week, ,

J D Salinger

J.D. Salinger Dies: Hermit Crab of American Letters

By Richard Lacayo

Take the austere little paperbacks down from the shelf and you can hold the collected works of J.D. Salinger — one novel, three volumes of stories — in the palm of one hand. Like some of his favorite writers — like Sappho, whom we know only from ancient fragments, or the Japanese poets who crafted 17-syllable haikus — Salinger was an author whose large reputation pivots on very little. The first of his published stories that he thought were good enough to preserve between covers appeared in the New Yorker in 1948. Sixteen years later he placed one last story there and drew down the shades.

From that day until his death on Jan. 27 at age 91, at his home in Cornish, N.H., Salinger was the hermit crab of American letters. When he emerged, it was usually to complain that somebody was poking at his shell. Over time Salinger’s exemplary refusal of his own fame may turn out to be as important as his fiction. In the 1960s he retreated to the small house in Cornish, and rejected the idea of being a public figure. Thomas Pynchon is his obvious successor in that department. But Pynchon figured out how to turn his back on the world with a wink and a Cheshire Cat smile. Salinger did it with a scowl. Then again, he was inventing the idea, and he bent over it with an inventor’s sweaty intensity.

Salinger’s only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was published in 1951 and gradually achieved a status that made him cringe. For decades the book was a universal rite of passage for adolescents, the manifesto of disenchanted youth. (Sometimes lethally disenchanted: After he killed John Lennon in 1980, Mark David Chapman said he had done it "to promote the reading" of Salinger’s book. Roughly a year later, when he headed out to shoot President Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley Jr. left behind a copy of the book in his hotel room.) But what matters is that even for the millions of people who weren’t crazy, Holden Caulfield, Salinger’s petulant, yearning (and arguably manic-depressive) young hero was the original angry young man. That he was also a sensitive soul in a cynic’s armor only made him more irresistible. James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway had invented disaffected young men too. But Salinger created Caulfield at the very moment that American teenage culture was being born. A whole generation of rebellious youths discharged themselves into one particular rebellious youth.(Read TIME’s 1951 review of The Catcher in the Rye.)

Salinger drew from Sherwood Anderson, Isak Dinesen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and especially Ring Lardner, whose wise-guy voice you hear chiming in the snappy banalities and sometimes desperate patter spoken by Salinger’s characters, a tone that found its way years later into the neurotic chatter of Woody Allen’s New Yorkers. But Salinger bent it all into something new, a tone that drew from the secular and the religious, the worldly and the otherworldly, the ecstatic and the inconsolable. It’s customary to assume that the seven Glass children — the Glass family, an intricate hybrid of showbiz and spirituality, was Salinger’s other enduring creation — make up a kind of group portrait of Salinger, each of them a reflection of his different dimensions: the writer and the actor, the searcher and the researcher, the spiritual adept and the pratfalling schmuck. That may very well be true. He made sure we could never be sure. Holden Caulfield says, "Don’t ever tell anybody anything." That’s one time you know it’s Salinger talking.

         

Jerome David Salinger was born in New York on Jan. 1, 1919. His mother was a Scots-born Protestant who changed her name from Marie to Miriam to accommodate her Jewish in-laws. His father Solomon was a food importer who was successful enough by the time Salinger turned 13 to move the family to Park Avenue and enroll his underachieving son in a Manhattan private school. Salinger flunked out within two years. He was then packed off to Valley Forge Military Academy, outside Philadelphia. It would later be the model for Pency Prep, the school Caulfield runs away from.

After graduating from Valley Forge, Salinger ran away from several schools. He managed only two semesters at New York University before dropping out. His father decided to take him into the family business and brought his boy along to Austria and Poland to learn all about ham. "They finally dragged me off to Bydgoszcz for a couple of months," Salinger wrote years later. "Where I slaughtered pigs, wagoned through the snow with the big slaughtermaster." Ham was not in his future. Back in the U.S., he made another halfhearted attempt at school, this time at Ursinus College in rural Pennsylvania. He lasted a semester, then drifted back to Manhattan.

By this point Salinger had a general destination in mind: he wanted to be a writer. In the fall of 1939, he signed up for a writing class at Columbia University taught by Whit Burnett, founder and editor of Story, a highly regarded, little magazine that had been the first place to publish William Saroyan, Joseph Heller and Carson McCullers. Burnett quickly took notice of his talented pupil and made sure that his magazine would be the first place to publish Salinger. In its March-April 1940 issue, Story carried "The Young Folks," a brief, acidic vignette of college students at a party, prototypes of all the disaffected young people who would appear in Salinger’s fiction.

Over the following months, Salinger broke through to mass-circulation magazines like Collier’s and Esquire and had a tantalizing first brush with the New Yorker, the magazine he wanted badly to appear in, the one that could validate him not just as a professional writer but also as an artist. By this time, he had written a story about a boy named Holden Caulfield who runs away from prep school. The New Yorker accepted it, then put it on hold. But Caulfield was a character close to the author’s heart, and Salinger wasn’t done with him.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1957492,00.html#ixzz0e0LeXkBA

 

Courtesy: www.time.com

 

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J D Salinger Biography

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Stieg Larsson

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Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was a Swedish writer and journalist.

Prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in November 2004 he finished three detective novels in his trilogy "The Millenium-series" which were published posthumously; "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest". Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide (summer of 2009), and he was the second bestselling author in the world 2008.

Before his career as a writer, Stieg Larsson was mostly known for his struggle against racism and right-wing extremism. Starting in the late 1970’s, he combined his work as a graphic designer with holding lectures on right-wing extremism for the Scotland Yard. During the following years he became an expert on the subject and has held many lectures as well as written many novels on the subject. In 1995, when 8 persons were killed by neo-Nazis I Sweden, he was the main force behind the founding of the Expo-foundation, a group intended on exposing neo-Nazi activity in Sweden. From 1999 and on, he was appointed chief editor of the magazine Expo.

During the last 15 years of his life, he and his life companion Eva Gabrielsson lived under constant threat from right-wing violence.

Biography

Background

Stieg’s grandfather, an inspiring role model

Stieg Larsson was born in Västerbotten in northern Sweden in 1954. At the time of his birth, his parents were too young and too poor to keep him, so he was raised by his grandparents in a small village in the north of Sweden. Stieg’s grandfather, Severin Boström, became the male role model for the young Stieg. Severin was strongly anti-fascist and during the Second World War he was imprisoned in the work camp in Storsien for his anti-Nazi opinions. Had he been Danish, he would no doubt have been placed in a German Concentration Camp. The fate of his grandfather deeply affected and shaped Stieg’s character. He wanted to protect equal rights and fight for democracy and freedom of speech in order to prevent history, and what happened to his grand father, from repeating itself.

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Youth, left-wing movement and far travels

When Stieg was nine years old, his grandfather died and he moved to live with his parents and his younger brother. Stieg was given a typewriter for his 12th birthday, and he spent most nights of his youth staying up writing, keeping his family awake with the drumming sound. At 18 years of age he met Eva Gabrielsson at an anti-Vietnam War meeting in Umeå. Eva was to become his life long companion. With some short exceptions, mainly due to the fact that Stieg was sometimes too obsessed with his work, they lived together until Stiegs death the 9th November 2004. After his military service, Stieg travelled in Africa and has been described as "an early backpacker". He rarely had enough money on his travels, in an interview with Norra Västerbotten in 2006, his father describes how he had to work as a dishwasher and sell his clothes to afford a ticket home from Algeria.

Stieg Larsson was also interested in Science Fiction. Among other things was he the chairman of the Scandinavian science fiction society and published two magazines.

A life under constant threat

During the last 15 years of his life, he and his life companion Eva Gabrielsson lived under constant threat from right-wing violence. When a labor-union leader was murdered in his home by neo-Nazis in 1999, the police discovered photos of and information about the couple in the murderer’s apartment. So it was not without reason that the couple took precautionary measures. They were never seen together outside the house, they moved mirrors in the hall and they always kept the blinds down. Those are just a few examples. Stieg was an expert in the area, and wrote a book of instructions on how journalists should respond to threats for the Swedish Union of Journalists ("Överleva Deadline", 2000).

Writing as a relaxation

The situation created a contrast between Stieg’s work at Expo and his night-time novel writing. He regarded his writing of detective novels as relaxing. Keeping track of loose ends, characters and made up conspiracies posedno problem since it was, after all, fiction and no one would threaten either Eva or himself because of it.

Activist and journalist

Larsson was initially a political activist for the Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers League), a photographer, and one of Sweden’s leading science fiction fans. In politics he was the editor of the Swedish Trotskyist journal Fjärde internationalen. He also wrote regularly for the weekly Internationalen. As a science fiction fan, he was co-editor or editor of several fanzines, including Sfären, Fijagh! and others; in 1978-1979 he was president of the largest Swedish science fiction fan club, Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction (SFSF). He worked as a graphic designer at the largest Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT) between 1977 and 1999.

Larsson’s political convictions, as well as his journalistic experiences, led him to found the Swedish Expo Foundation, similar to the British Searchlight Foundation, established to "counteract the growth of the extreme right and the white power-culture in schools and among young people.He also became the editor of the foundation’s magazine, Expo. Larsson quickly became instrumental in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organizations; he was an influential debater and lecturer on the subject, reportedly living for years under death threats from his political enemies.

Death

Larsson died in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a massive heart attack. Rumours that his death was in some way suspicious, because of death threats received as editor of Expo, have been denied.

In May 2008 it was announced that Larsson’s 1977 will, found soon after his death, declared his wish to leave his assets to the Umeå branch of the Communist Workers League (now the Socialist Party). As the will was unwitnessed, it was not valid under Swedish law, with the result that all of Larsson’s estate, including future royalties from book sales, went to his father and brother.His long term partner Eva Gabrielsson,who found his will, has no legal right to the inheritance, sparking controversy and exposing what many media considered a flaw in Swedish inheritance legislation.They never married because Swedish Law required married couples to make their addresses publicly available; marrying would have been a security risk.Vanity Fair’s recent article exposes the bad treatment of Eva by the author’s father and brother (with whom he had little contact in his life). She is quoted as wanting the rights to control his work, so it could be presented in the way he would have wanted. She claims, as his life partner, to know better than his father whom he "disliked" and rarely saw.

The novelist

At his death, Larsson left the manuscripts of three completed but unpublished novels in a series. He wrote them for his own pleasure after returning home from his job in the evening, making no attempt to get them published until shortly before his death. The first of these novels was published in Sweden in 2005 as Män som hatar kvinnor ("Men who hate women"), published in English as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was awarded the prestigious Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel in 2005. His second novel, Flickan som lekte med elden (The Girl Who Played with Fire), received the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2006. He also left the unfinished manuscript of the fourth novel, and synopses of the fifth and sixth in the series, which was intended to contain an eventual total of ten books.

The primary characters in the Millennium Trilogy series are Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth is an intelligent, eccentric woman in her 20s with a photographic memory whose social skills are rather poor. Blomkvist is an investigative journalist, a celebrity in his own right.

A television series based on the three completed books is in production by Yellow Bird Films of Ystad. Each book will be covered in two episodes (making a total of six 90-minute episodes). The first two episodes were released as a motion picture in February 2009, while the subsequent episodes were released directly on DVD in December 2009. The series will be broadcast on Swedish television in 2010.

Influences

Through his written works as well as to the press, Larsson openly admitted that a significant amount of his literary influences come in the form of American and British crime/detective fiction authors. In his work, he makes a habit of inserting the names of some of his favourites within the text – sometimes by making his characters read the books of his own influences. Topping the list are Sara Paretsky, Agatha Christie, Val McDermid, Dorothy Sayers and Enid Blyton. However, one of the strongest influences originates from his own country – Pippi Longstocking by Sweden’s much-loved children’s author, Astrid Lindgren. Larsson explained that one of his main recurring characters in the Millennium series, Lisbeth Salander, is actually based on Pippi Longstocking and in his books is reimagined as a grown up version of her.

Bibliography

Articles
  • Stieg Larsson, Anna-Lena Lodenius: "Extremhögern", Stockholm, 1991
  • Stieg Larsson, Mikael Ekman: "Sverigedemokraterna: den nationella rörelsen", Stockholm, 2001
  • Stieg Larsson, Cecilia Englund: "Debatten om hedersmord: feminism eller rasism", Stockholm, 2004
  • Richard Slätt, Maria Blomquist, Stieg Larsson, David Lagerlöf m.fl.: "Sverigedemokraterna från insidan", 2004
Novels

The Millennium series:

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Periodicals edited
  • Svartvitt med Expo, 1999-2002
  • Expo, 2002-2004

Awards

 

Courtesy: www.stieglarsson.com  , WIKIPAEDIA

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