Naga writer harps on “adaptability” in Kathmandu Literary Jatra

Susan Waten among ten invited delegates in Nepal’s first literary fest

Susan Waten, popular columnist and writer from Dimapur, Nagaland, was one among the ten invited delegates to attend Nepal’s first ever international writer’s fest. The fest known as Kathmandu Literary Jatra was held at the historic Patan Museum inner courtyard last month.

Kathmandu Literary Jatra was masterminded by and conceived in the lines of the Jaipur Literature Festival by Sujeev Shakya, CEO of BEED, a Consulting & Advisory firm. Namita Gokhale, the established writer and publisher from Delhi, was the Festival Advisor. The fest brought in ten select international writers from countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the UK on a common literary platform with fifty writers and poets of Nepal, and was attended daily by packed audiences numbering in thousands. Various workshops, readings and thematic discussions on topics pertaining to Nepal and South Asia in both the socio-political and literary contexts were held.

Susan Waten shared the stage with Devendra Bhattarai (author of Registan Diary, a critically acclaimed book on Nepali migrant workers in the Middle East) and the revered Indra Bahadur Rai (a pioneering Nepali writer and literary critic who won the Sahitya Akademy Award in 1976 for the book Upanyaska Adhar Haru) for the assigned topic, “Nepali Literature beyond Nepal.” She spoke about the well-known Nepali writer and social activist (who also contested elections against J.B. Jasokie in Nagaland), Hari Prasad Gorkha Rai who lived and died in Kohima. Taking into consideration the valuable input given by writer Lil Bahadur Chetri of Guwahati, Ms. Waten highlighted on the nature of “adaptability” that the Nepalis generally exhibit in their Diaspora.

To her credit, she has published a poetry book called, White Spirit and also compiled and edited a book of contemporary short stories by 20 writers from Nagaland entitled Of Voices And Paper, both backed by the North East Zone Cultural Centre, under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. She has written a book for the Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission called, Rock Bee Honey Harvesting in Saramati Range at Kiphire District. Besides contributing to newspapers and working on various government book projects, she runs an organisation called Holiday Abode for Writers & Artists (HAWA), which provides a platform for creative expression under the motto: spiritual renewal for artistic inspiration.

At the Jatra, her presentation was well received and many from the audience came back-stage to meet her. A number of them showed keen interest in the literature of north east India, and the possible collaboration.

The Jatra was a huge success in terms of the literary and intellectual exchange between the invited international delegates and the information-hungry audience, and also the popular uplifting response of the country to it’s first-ever event of this kind and magnitude. To mention some of the delegates who graced the Jatra: Tarun Tejpal, Journalist and Publisher (his book The Alchemy of Desire won Le Prix Mille Pages); British Historian William Dalrymple ( White Mughals won the Wolfson Prize for History, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India won the 2010 Asia House Award for Asian Literature); Alka Saraogi (her novel Kali-Katha: Via Bypass won her the Sahitya Akademi Award); Mohammed Hanif (A Case of Exploding Mangoes was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize).


About Aiyushman Dutta

Who am I? Yet to find the answer. For the time being, u can call me a writer, maybe a journalist and a music entrepreneur or an errand boy! Whatever suits your fancy!

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Day-to-Day, Personalities/ Interviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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