Owning the Narrative: Dalit Writing in Focus
P Sivakami, Vasantha Surya with Mini Krishnan
P. Sivakami is a prolific Dalit / Feminist writer and an activist. She has six novels and more than fifty short stories, two poetry collections and four essay collections to her credit. Her recent work is “The Language of the Mirror” , her debut novel in English. Her novels have been translated into English and a few other foreign languages. She has been editing a monthly magazine titled Pudhiya Kodangi for the past twenty five years.
She was in the Indian Administrative Service from 1980 to 2008 and took voluntary retirement to serve the poor and disadvantaged.
A poet, translator, journalist and children’s writer, Vasantha Surya’s The Stalk of Time and A Word Between Us are her two books of poetry in English, the third being The Ballad of Budhni, a translation from Bundeli Hindi. Among her translations of modern Tamil poetry is the anonymous narrative poem in OUP’s Tamil Dalit Writing, entitled Christmas at Kilvenmani. She has translated six Tamil novels, Cho Dharman’s Koogai, Chudamani’s Iravu Chudar (Yamini), and Vaasanthi’s Kadaisee Varai (Birthright) among them, and an anthology of short fiction (A Place to Live).
Recently released is To Plunge Within, her selection translated from Nammaazhwar’s Thiruvaimozhi, and a forthcoming collection, An Order from the Sky, of Imayam’s short stories.
Her investigative features and reviews on cultural and social change have appeared in major publications. A Matter of Method is an exhaustive report for UNESCO’s ICSU (International Council of Scientific Unions) on the Method of Science Exhibition and its dismantling in 1977.
Among her stories for children is a novel, Mridu in Madras, jointly translated with Prema Srinivasan into English, and a serialized Ramayana in Chatterbox magazine.
Mini Krishnan edited literary translations for Macmillan India Ltd and Oxford University Press sourcing works from 14 Indian languages.
In all she has published 104 translations of fiction, autobiographies and plays some of which have won national awards. She has published more than two hundred Dalit writers (all genres) in translation in anthologies and standalone volumes of fiction and life writings as well as textbooks for Translation Education.
She served on the National Translation Mission and was the Founding Editor of the British Council’s South Asia Women Writers’ website.
She co-ordinates a project of translations for the Tamil Nadu Textbook & Educational Services Corporation, and is the Series Editor of Living in Harmony (A Peace Education series for schools, OUP India).