Salma with Shobhana Kumar and Srilata K
Salma is a well-known name to readers of contemporary Tamil literature. With two volumes of poetry collections, a short story collection and two novels- several of which have been translated to several languages, Salma has made her mark as a distinctive literary voice. Lakshmi Holmstrom’s English translation of her novel, entitled The Hour Past Midnight, was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Prize and long listed for man asian prize DSC Award. Her second novel Manaamiyangal will be published in English by Penguin Random House and her short story collection Saabam by Speaking Tiger.
Salma has been the recipient of several awards and honours, and has also been a special invitee to several book festivals and seminars. She was the only representative of Tamil literature whenthe University of Chicago organized a two-day seminar, as part of the annual Norman J. Cutler Conference, to discuss her literary works.
Besides being a woman of letters, Salma has also been a committed public servant. She was the elected President of the Ponnampatti Panchayat, 2001-2006. She also served as the Chairman of the Social Welfare Board, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, during which time she was instrumental in establishing several welfare schemes, including some landmark ones directed to the transgender (aravani/hijra) community in Tamil nadu.
Shobhana’s book of haibun, A Sky Full of Bucket Lists, (Red River in 2021), is the recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2021-2022, and The Touchstone Distinguished Books Award, 2021, Honourable Mention, instituted by The Haiku Foundation, USA. She has two books of poetry published by Writers Workshop. She is a memoirist, biographer and chronicler of regional histories and people with eight published works.
K. Srilata and Shobhana Kumar’s work, I, Salma, Translated Poems, (Red River, 2023) is the first collected poems of Salma in English. Work in progress also includes a collaborative translation project with Priya Sarukkai Chabria on Manickavacagar’s Thiruvasagam.
Shobhana is founder of Small Differences, an NGO that works with the elderly homeless, transgender community and vulnerable women and children. She also works in the spaces of education and branding.
K Srilata is a poet, fiction writer, translator and academic. Her most recent collection of poems Three Women in a Single-Room House has been published by Sahitya Akademi. Srilata’s poems have been widely anthologized and feature in collections such as The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets and The Penguin Book of Indian Poets. Her recent book This Kind of Child: The `Disability’ Story (Westland) brings together first-person accounts, interviews and short fiction on the disability experience. Srilata’s books include five collections of poetry, the anthologies The Rapids of a Great River: The Penguin Book of Tamil Poetry, Short Fiction from South India (OUP), All the Worlds Between: A Collaborative Poetry Project Between India and Ireland (Yoda) and Lifescapes: Interviews with Contemporary Women Writers from Tamilnadu (Women Unlimited). Srilata’s novel Table for Four (Penguin, India) was long listed in 2009 for the Man Asian literary prize. Srilata has translated the work of the Tamil writers Vatsala and Salma Srilata was formerly a Professor of Literature at IIT Madras and is currently Adjunct Professor at the Chennai Mathematical Institute.