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Writing from Assam

January 2023

A long road bridge stretches over a body of water
Photo by Akhil Verma on Unsplash

The translation ecosystem in India suffers from a lack of training opportunities. At the same time, aspiring fiction writers are often marginalized due to circumstance, language, and lack of opportunities to develop their work. The Write Assamese project is a collaboration between Untold, which works with writers marginalized by community or conflict, and BEE Books, an Indian publisher based in Kolkata whose aim is to promote Indian literature in translation. The project identifies emerging, mostly unpublished Assamese writers and works closely with these authors, alongside an editor and translator, to begin to carve out a space for consistent, quality translations emerging from Assam for international audiences. The stories in this collection were produced through this project.

A wagtail perching on a stick by a body of water
Photo by Nikita Nikitenko on Unsplash
A Wagtail’s Song
By Bikash Dihingia
How was it possible that there was another me buried within? And how could someone else feel his presence even before I could?
Translated from Assamese by Harsita Hiya
A man paddles a canoe in a river at sunset
Photo by Inu Etc on Unsplash
By Madhurima Barua
The stench of country liquor assaults her. Her husband is tottering.
Translated from Assamese by Syeda Shaheen Jeenat Suhailey
A pair of black leather lace-up boots in front of a white wall
Photo by Rico Van de Voorde on Unsplash
By Nilutpal Baruah
People said Bedo Bora was a foot fetishist. He was fascinated by women’s feet, they said. When you met him he stared at your feet.  
Translated from Assamese by Rashmi Baruah