Thoughts from Kerala

India-Wales Writers' Chain in Thiruvananthapuram

Poets Siân Melangell Dafydd, Robert Minhinnick, Twm Morys and Eurig Salisbury returned in November from Kerala after a week collaborating with four Indian poets: the Malayali literary legend K. Satchidanandan, renowned contemporary Hindi poet Anamika, Mumbai-based Bengali poet Sampurna Chattarji and Malayali poet and translator, Anitha Thampi. 

Led by Wales Literature Exchange's Director, Sioned Puw Rowlands, the translation workshop was an opportunity to explore what hapens when literature moves into unfamiliar languages and territories. It also took a step further collaboration started in June in Wales when the Exchange led 7 poets in a workshop at Aberystwyth University and at Tŷ Newydd: National Writers' Centre for Wales where Menna Elfyn, Eurig Salisbury, Hywel Griffiths and Karen Owen joined K. Satchidanandan, Sampurna Chattarji and Robin Ngangom from Shilong in the North-Eastern Territories.

During the workshop, held near Thiruvananthapuram, the poets were welcomed at the Gowry Art Institute in the hills above the town, meeting with local poets and recording interviews. As well as creating translations of each other's poems the poets created new work. A multilingual performance was curated during the week and performed at the second Hay Festival Kerala (November 2011). A second event gave audiences the opportunity to hear the writers in conversation. The poets are now working on turning their translations into anthologies for publication in their respective languages. 

The workshop was the latest phase in the India Wales Writers' Chain project, developed by Wales Arts International in partnership with the British Council and supported by Literature Across Frontiers.

Read some thoughts by the Writers' Chain poets' in Kerala in this BBC blog which also contains some images from their working week. 

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