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Mithun Number Two is a collection of stories by the award-winning author and translator team that won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2018 for a previous collection titled No Presents Please. These stories explore moments of transcendence in the midst of anonymity and routine. Characters, both young and old, migrate to Mumbai for various reasons, where strangers become friends, families navigate strife and affection, and children grow up in homes with blurred lines between coercion and care. Jayant Kaikini’s stories, translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, are delightfully unexpected and deceptively simple.
This evening has the writer and translator in conversation with two more formidable persons of letters – Vanamala Vishwanath and Indira Chandrasekhar as they respond, reflect and reminisce over the evocative storytelling of Mithun Number Two.
Jayant Kaikini is a Kannada poet, short-story writer, columnist and playwright, as well as a lyricist and script writer for films. He won the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi award for his debut poetry collection in 1974, at the age of nineteen, followed by three more (1982,1989,1996) for his short-story collections. Born in the coastal temple-town of Gokarna, Kaikini is a biochemist by training and worked in the pharmaceutical industry in Mumbai for two decades before moving to Bengaluru, where he currently resides with family. He has received the Katha Award for Creative Fiction (1996) and the Kusumagraj National Literary Award (2010). He is the recipient of the Karnataka State Award for Best Dialogue (2003) and Best Lyrics (2006), and the Filmfare Award for Best Lyrics (2008, 2009, 2016, 2017, 2022). His latest literary works in Kannada are Anarkaliya Safety Pin (2021) and Vichitra Senana Vaikhari (2021). No Presents Please, his volume of selected Mumbai stories, translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, is the first book in translation to have won the DSC South Asian Literature Prize in 2018.
Indira Chandrasekhar is a writer. She founded the literary short fiction journal Out of Print and is its main editor. An anthology marking ten years of the magazine was co-published with Context Books in 2020 and reissued in 2023.
An acclaimed translator and academic, Professor Vanamala Viswanatha has taught English literature over the past four decades at premier institutions in Bengaluru. Vanamala has also served as Honorary Director, Centre for Translation, Sahitya Akademi, and as Member, National Translation Mission. Her translation of The Life of Harishchandra (Harvard University Press, 2017), the first ever translation of a medieval Kannada poetic classic, in the Murty Classical Library of India Series, is a landmark publication.