Saturday, 3 August 2013

Talking books in an industrial Coimbatore

COIMBATORE: Perceptions often hide more than they reveal about a place. Take the case of our city. The dominant image of Coimbatore is that of an industrial town with a grey skyline spotted with chimneys and all.
         Yes, textiles, small and big machines run the wheels of the city's economy, but there is much more to the city than just machines except that those activities rarely grab the headlines.
         Coimbatore's tryst with literature is one such less-known connection. The city is home to many well-known writers in Tamil and literary meetings are a regular feature here. Acclaimed critic and poet Sirpi Balasubramanian says such meetings organised here by various literary groups every month has played a pivotal role in the growth of Tamil literature.
              "In fact, participating in many literary meetings has helped me in many ways and shaped the writer in me," says Sirpi, who is one of the founders of the short-lived Vanambadi movement that left an indelible mark on Tamil literature. He adds that literary meetings held with regular periodicity has renewed interest in literature and acts as a catalytic agent for the growth of young writers and poets.
                   Tamil Nadu Ilakkiya Peravai, for instance, has been conducting literary meetings for more than two decades in the city. "The literary movement has conducted as many as 264 meetings in the past 21 years without missing even a month," Pulavar Aadhi alias Rasiannan (80), president of the Peravai. The Tamil scholar who retired as a teacher from a corporation school in the city in 1992 is the driving force behind the Peravai.
                  The meetings have been on classical Tamil texts such as Silapadikaram, Manimekalai, Purananuru, Tirukkural and Tolkappiyam to modern novels and poetry. "On an average 50 to 60 people attend our meetings and when eminent persons come up the attendance goes up to 200," says Pulavar Aadhi. "On an average, we have to spend Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 for a meeting and we pool in money to meet the expenses," he adds.
                Engineer and poet Muthamizh Virumbi (44), who conducts literary meetings under the banner of Nerunchi Ilakiya Muttram in Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Madurai, says an average of 60 to 80 people attend them on a regular basis. "The meetings have served as a platform for budding writers by helping them get rid of the fear of writing," says Virumbi, who has coordinated Muttram since 1993.
               According to him, literary meetings enhance knowledge sharing and many regular participants have now become poets and authors. "Poetry recital, discussions on foreign literature, book reviews and special address by eminent writers are all part of our meetings," Virumbi says.

Memories haunt in Shyam Selvadurai's 'The Hungry Ghosts'

Past and present collide in Giller Prize-winner's new novel

      Regardless of how hard one tries, it is impossible to shed the past. This is a realization that Shivan Rassiah, the protagonist of Shyam Selvadurai's latest novel, The Hungry Ghosts, must grapple with.
As the novel opens, Shivan — who emigrated from war-torn Sri Lanka to Canada as a young man — is preparing to travel back to the country of his birth to bring his ailing grandmother to Ontario. But as he prepares for his departure, Shivan finds himself haunted by memories of loss, desire and his grandmother's domineering presence in his life.  Born in Sri Lanka in 1965 to a Sinhalese mother and a Tamil father, Shyam Selvadurai immigrated to Canada at the age of 19. His parents were members of Sri Lanka's conflicting ethnic groups — a major theme that underlies hiSelvadurai's writing.

Selvadurai's debut novel — 1994's Funny Boy — was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Books in Canada First Novel Award. He followed that up with the short story collection Cinnamon Gardens in 1998. Currently living in Toronto, Selvadurai's latest novel — The Hungry Ghosts — took him 13 years to write and is his first novel to be set in Canada.

Outside of his own writing, Selvadurai heads Write to Reconcile, a project designed to give young Sri Lankan writers a platform to write about memory, reconciliation and war in a manner that challenges official government versions of that country's civil war. He plans to publish an anthology of the project's writing this fall.

Selvadurai recently sat down with Karry Taylor of the Calgary Journal to discuss writing, memory, and the role of fiction. 

Source :

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Chinese mum teaches Bharatha Natyam

MUAR: Forty-two students aged from 8 to 16 performed Indian classical dances, the Bharatha Natyam, here for the first time under the guidance of a Chinese teacher. The dances was staged at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple in Jalan Mohammediah here. The teacher, Lim Siew Wan, from Malacca, began teaching the dances in March l998.

She started learning the dances after giving birth to two boys when she was 27 years old. She has about 80 students from Malacca, Muar, Alor Gajah, and Shah Alam.

Monday, 21 January 2013

36th Chennai Book Fair 2013 opens at YMCA ground, Nandanam

Chennai, Jan 12 (TruthDive): The 36th Chennai Book Fair was inaugurated at YMCA Physical Education College Ground, Nandanam on Friday, January 11, 2013.
School education minister N R Sivapathi inaugurated the book fair in the presence of minister for information and special project implementation K T Rajendra Balaji and Chennai mayor Saidai S Duraisamy.
This year Chennai Book Fair would have 747 stalls in 180,000 sq ft area, with 450 participants with more than 10 lakh titles and one crore books.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Interview with D. Selvaraj, winner of the Sahitya Akademi award

    •         Almost four decades have rolled by since the world-renowned Czech Tamil scholar Zvelebil made his assessment of writer Daniel Selvaraj’s contribution to modern Tamil literature in his famous work A History of Indian Literature published in 1973. Selvaraj’s novel, Thol (Hide), which speaks about the travails and struggles of the Dalit tannery workers of Dindigul in the composite Madurai district from 1930 to 1958, has been chosen for the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2011. The novel has already won the Tamil Nadu government’s award for 2010.

    Monday, 24 December 2012

    D. Selvaraj gets Sahitya Akademi award for his Tamil novel

    Eminent Tamil novelist D. Selvaraj, one of the founders of the Progressive Writers’ Association has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for Tamil Literature for the year 2012.

    Sunday, 16 December 2012

    A historic vow revisited

    On the 130th birth anniversary of Subramanya Bharati, Panchali’s Pledge — an English language translation of the poet’s classic Panchali Sabatham — by Usha Rajagopalan was launched by the Chennai Chapter of the Association of British Scholars (ABS).
    The book attempts to translate the many poems that culminate in Panchali’s pledge when she was disrobed at the Kaurava court. “I grew up listening to Bharati’s songs in films and kutcheries, and always went into a trance. I couldn’t understand the songs, and I decided I would learn enough Tamil to translate this book into English,” says the author.