Literature Wales / Llenyddiawth Cymru

India – Wales Writers Chain

India – Wales Writers Chain

Indian Poets come to exchange words in Wales

Poetry from India is finding a new Welsh voice through a unique collaboration between Welsh and Indian poets. Wales Arts International and British Council’s India - Wales Writers Chain 2010-2012 project brings together eight renowned poets - four working in Welsh and four in a range of Indian languages, for an exciting programme organised by Wales Literature Exchange. Writers Chain is supported by Welsh Governement through the International Relations Programme.

Welsh poets Menna Elfyn, Eurig Salisbury, Hywel Griffiths and Karen Owen will spend a week collaborating with four Indian poets: the Malayalee literary legend K. Satchidanandan, the radical and outspoken young Tamil poet Meena Kandasamy, Mumbai-based Bengali poet Sampurna Chattarji and Robin Ngangom - a poet and editor from North East India.

India-Wales Writers Chain 2010-2012 was launched last year at Hay Festival Kerala and aims to build cultural connections between Wales and India through literature. It has been developed by the British Council in partnership with Wales Arts International, and is supported by Welsh Government.

From 24 - 29 June the poets will be based at Ty Newydd National Writers’ Centre for Wales, working on translations that will see Welsh poetry travel into Bengali, Malayalam, Manipuri and Tamil. In turn the Welsh writers will introduce a colourful seam of contemporary Indian poetry into the Welsh language for the first time ever and a new audience here in Wales.

An evening reading was held in Bangor at the Blue Sky Cafe on Sunday, 26th June, where the poets performed their work in progress and talk about the literary alchemy of translation.

On Wednesday, the 29th of June, poetry lovers in Aberystwyth will be able to take part in a dinner in which they can enjoy an innovative performance of poetry, movement and language by the Indian and Welsh poets while enjoying the food at the renowned Ultracomida.

This project marks a growing relationship between Indian and Welsh literature with many contemporary Welsh novels and poems already translated and published in India in a variety of languages, much of which could not have been achieved without the support of Wales Literature Exchange, Literature Across Frontiers, Ty Newydd and Hay Festivals.

Mumbai-based Bengali poet Sampurna Chattarji said:

"The exchange is important to me as it’s another link in that powerful chain forged out of friendship, poetry, and the mysterious affinity between languages. I hope to achieve a deeper understanding of Welsh poetic traditions and have the chance to share my own work, context and concerns with my fellow Welsh poets.

"I am particularly looking forward to meeting the poets who I have so far met only via their poems (and Facebook)! I find nothing comes close to the richness of real-time-and-space conversations, dialogue and exchange."

Harry McIver, Co-director, Wales Arts International, said:

"Wales Arts International is delighted that eight renowned poets are coming together at the National Writers Centre for Wales to explore and celebrate their literatures and cultures and to create new translations for audiences in Wales. Multilingualism, the diversity of language and creative collaboration are at the heart of the Writers Chain program, which aims to connect writers, publishers, translators and readers in Wales and India.

"This exciting activity follows a series of events, initiated by Wales Arts International and British Council over the last three years, which has seen Welsh authors starring at major Indian literary festivals, Indian translators journeying to Wales to understand the roots of our literatures and school children in Wales and India connecting digitally to share their passion for words. We look forward to a great exchange of literature and ideas between Wales and India in the year ahead as this exciting program continues to develop."

Louise Wright, Senior Arts Advisor, British Council Wales, said:

"It is a pleasure to welcome such distinguished writers from India to audiences in Wales, especially after the overwhelming response poets from Wales received at the Hay festival in Kerala last year. These exciting activities highlight the close cultural connections forged between writers in Wales and India developed over the last 3 years by partners, supported by British Council initiatives. This series of events provides a further opportunity for participants to explore and deepen understanding of each others cultural experiences across language and to access new audiences and markets, while promoting international collaboration and creative exchange."

Sioned Puw Rowlands, Director, Wales Literature Exchange, said:

"The Writers’ Chain project fosters relationships between the Welsh and Indian literary scene. We have already made progress with the forthcoming release this autumn of three anthologies of Welsh short fiction in Tamil, Bengali and Malayalam. This phase of the project will bring to light for Welsh audiences the poetic trends and literary revolutions that are currently taking place all over the Indian continent. We’re also continuing the work of helping both emerging and established Welsh writers get their works translated into the languages of one of the fastest growing publishing markets in the world."

For further information on Writers Chain please click here


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