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Giving voice to regional women writers

In an effort to map the voices of Indian women writers from different regions, the Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women (SPARROW) will release its second anthology on Thursday.

mumbai Updated: Jan 28, 2010 00:42 IST
Dhamini Ratnam

In an effort to map the voices of Indian women writers from different regions, the Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women (SPARROW) will release its second anthology on Thursday.

The anthology, Being Carried Far Away: Poems and Stories of Women in Assamese, Bengali, Garo, Manipuri and Mizo, carries translated works of 20 writers. Hot is the Moon, the first in five-volume series, came out last year. It contained works translated from Tamil and Tulu, among other South Indian languages.

The idea to represent regional women authors emerged from SPARROW's Literature Leap project started a few years ago.

The project sought to interview 100 women writers to understand the context in which they write. The five volumes will contain translated text of interviews, stories and poems of 87 women writers in 23 languages.

“These stories and poems demand a philosophy of surrender from the reader, as we are shown entirely different worlds, not just of form but also of references,” said Dr Shoba Venkatesh Ghosh, editor of the second volume. “Many writers are from
places of extreme conflict.”

“It was interesting to note the relation between relatively lesser-known languages of the North East with the 'more privileged' Bengali,” said Ghosh. “The recurrent concern in most interviews (of the non-Bengali authors) is that they find
English and Bengali at once enabling and languages that must be resisted,” she added.

“The excerpts from dialogues (interviews) describe the distances traversed by a writer in a lifetime,” said Dr C.S. Laxmi, director of SPARROW. “The anthologies are about women’s lives and women’s words.”

(Being Carried Far Away: Poems and Stories of Women in Assamese, Bengali, Garo, Manipuri and Mizo will be released at Crossword on Linking Road, Bandra, at 7 pm on Thursday. PEN All-India Centre will co-host the event.)