A Gift of Tamil

Much Tamil literature is becoming available in English, thanks to the efforts of a number of diverse sources. The title of this post is taken from the 1992 book of the same name, published by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Gurgaon, by Norman Cutler and and Paula Richman. This volume provides an anthology of translations from Tamil into English from a number of different contributors who have tried to translate not just the meaning of original words, but also their overall rhetorical and poetic effects in a style that is true to a modern aesthetic sensibility. The translations demonstrate the distinctiveness, diversity, continuity and vitality of Tamil Literature...

This continued vitality is most evident in the new collection from the
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hat infelicitously named Blaft Publications in Chennai, The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction by Pritham K. Chakravarthy. A recent entrant on the publishing scene in Chennai, Blaft have three books (with a few more in the pipeline), all of which look interesting enough. TPF, for instance is an anthology of seventeen stories by ten best-selling authors of Tamil crime, romance, science fiction, and detective stories, none of them ever before translated into English, along with reproductions of wacky cover art and question-and-answer sessions with some of the authors. "Mad scientists! Desperate housewives! Murderous robots! Scandalous starlets! Sordid, drug-fueled love affairs!" This book has it all!

Indian Writing, an imprint of New Horizon Media in Chennai, is another relatively new source for Indian literature in translation. We list some of their titles in our ILT section- Neela Padmanabhan, Ashokamitran, Jayakanthan... more on their way too.

A major source for modern Tamil fiction in translation is, of course, KATHA. Their latest offering is Dissonance, a set of short stories by Jayakanthan, and in earlier years, they have brought out translations of novels by Ambai, Ashokamitran, Suraa, and others.  All this, and much more- including a volume of Tamil New Poetry.

The few titles and the few publishers we list here are just the tip of the iceberg... As we discover more, we'll bring you more to read.... And much to enjoy.

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