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India’s mythmaker and Jnanpith awardee Chandrashekhar Kambar’s work has not only enriched Kannada writing but placed the country on the global literary map. The recent translation of his collection of folk tales and a charming play Pushparani titled When the Wind God Fell Sick and Other Folk Tales opens up new and exciting vistas in children’s literature.
The book also highlights urgent environmental concerns like saving trees, conserving forests, and keeping our planet green and clean. It leads young readers, and those young at heart, into fantastical worlds where gods, demons, princesses, sorcerers and common people co-exist. What is more, it makes them feel crucially connected with all the animate and the inanimate realms of Nature.
Krishna Manavalli’s English translation (Rupa, 2023) brings the folk sensibility and a vibrant Kannada idiom to young adults from diverse cultures across the world.
The evening will feature the writer, translator, and critic on a collective journey of exploration in this folk wonderland.
Chandrashekhar Kambar is acclaimed for the rich mythopoeic imagination that characterizes all his writing. A stalwart playwright in the country, Kambar writes in the South Indian language of Kannada. He works in the multiple other genres of poetry, fiction, and literary and cultural criticism. In addition to many other prestigious awards, Kambar has received the country’s highest literary award, Jnanapith, in 2010. The Government of India also honored him with the Padmashree (2001) and Padmabhushan (2021).
Born in 1937 in a little village called Ghodgeri in Northern Karnataka, Kambar went on to become an illustrious scholar, teacher, and later held high level administrative positions such as the Vice Chancellor, Kannada University (Hampi), and Chairman, National School of Drama (New Delhi), President, Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi) among others
What distinguishes Kambar from his literary peers is how he roots himself in the folk and myth traditions of North Karnataka. Kambar’s oeuvre of twenty-five plays comprises many well-known works like Jokumaraswamy, Siri Sampige, Mahamayi and others. He has eleven poetry collections and six novels to his credit. Beginning from the earliest novel Karimayi to his later works like Chakori, Shikharasoorya, or Shivana Dangura—all of them highlight his signature folk-style. Kambar’s critical writing too focuses majorly on folk theatre and folk literature.
A man of many parts, Kambar has made five films and a few documentaries. He also directed the music for these films. His film Kaadu Kudure won the national award (1987).
Kambar has travelled widely and given talks at important venues in New York, Berlin, Moscow, and Akita (Japan).
Krishna Manavalli is currently Professor in the department of English at the University of Mysore, Karnataka. Krishna is a literary critic and translator who works in both English and Kannada languages. In her long and brilliant academic career in the US and India, she has worked on multiple areas such as contemporary British literature, South Asian writing, postcolonial studies, feminism, cultural studies, and translations. She also taught for many years in the US.
Krishna has published internationally in important literary and cultural studies journals such as Comparative Critical Studies (UK), Journal of Contemporary Thought (US & India), Studies in South Asian Film and Media (US), Proud Flesh, African Journal of Culture, and others. She has presented at several major seminars and conferences across the world including the American Comparative Literature Association & Harvard University, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching (Texas A & M), and Rocky Mountain MLA (Calgary, Canada). She has given talks at prestigious literary festivals in India like the Jaipur Literary Festival, Dakshin, Times Litfest, Bangalore Literary Festival, Bangalore Poetry Festival, Mysore Literary Festival, Sahitya Akademi Festival of Letters, Unmesha International Festival and others.
In addition, Krishna does freelance writing, mainly literary reviews and interviews, for Times of India, Hindu, and Indian Express. Apart from being a member of the English Advisory Board of the Central Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi), she is on many academic and university administrative boards in the State.
Her recent publications include the translation of the renowned Kannada writer and Jnanapith award-winner Dr Chandrashekhar Kambar’s novels Karimayi (Seagull, 2017) and Shivana Dangura (Shiva’s Drum; Speaking Tiger, 2017). Krishna received the 2017 Karnataka Sahitya Academy award for her translation of Karimayi. Her translation of Kambar’s Rishyashringa and Mahmoud Gawan titled Two Plays was published by Penguin Random House (2020). She has written a monograph on Chandrasekhar Kambar for the National School of Drama (2021) and has just finished translating the novel of the eminent Kannada woman writer Triveni for the Sahitya Akademi (The Puppet). Krishna’s most recent work is the translation of children’s folk tales and the play Pushparani by Kambar (When the Wind God Fell Sick and Other Stories: Rupa, 2023).
Professor C Naganna is a poet, critic, translator and a public speaker. He received all his higher education at Mysore University. He has authored over 50 books in English and Kannada. He was formerly Professor of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies and presently a Visiting Professor at University of Mysore. He was also Director of the Publication Division of the University.
He was a member of the Karnataka Sahitya Academy and has been on the Kannada Advisory Committee of Bharatiya Jnanpith, Saraswathi Samman, Central Sahitya Akademi.