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India

An old ornate mansion in India with a green wrought iron gate
Photo by Vikram Nath Chouhan 🇮🇳 on Unsplash
Once Elephants Lived Here: Part 2
By Geetanjali Shree
A young office worker discovers a startling connection to a mysterious elderly woman in the second part of Geetanjali Shree’s elegiac story.
Translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell
Two blue glass skyscrapers seen from below against a cloudy blue sky
Photo by Shubham Sharma on Unsplash
Once Elephants Lived Here: Part 1
By Geetanjali Shree
A young office worker in a teeming metropolis becomes intrigued with a chimerical elderly woman in this elegiac tale by Geetanjali Shree.
Translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell
A pair of black leather lace-up boots in front of a white wall
Photo by Rico Van de Voorde on Unsplash
Boots
By Nilutpal Baruah
A man with a lifelong obsession with footwear buys a pair of boots in this short story by Assamese writer Nilutpal Baruah.
Translated from Assamese by Rashmi Baruah
Multimedia
A man paddles a canoe in a river at sunset
Photo by Inu Etc on Unsplash
Roots
By Madhurima Barua
The stench of country liquor assaults her. Her husband is tottering.
Translated from Assamese by Syeda Shaheen Jeenat Suhailey
MultimediaMultilingual
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
Multilingual
The covers of the books featured in the list
The Best Books of 2022—And What We’re Looking Forward to in 2023
By Words Without Borders
Our staff, contributors, and board members share their favorite translated books of the year and the titles they're looking forward to in 2023.
Jenny Bhatt (left) and Rita Kothari (right)
On the Evolution and Craft of Gujarati Literature in Translation
By Jenny Bhatt
We do not see translations of books that will unsettle the reading community, and provoke them to be different than who they want to be.
A game of hopscotch on asphalt
FranHogan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via WikiMedia Commons
Writing in Mother Tongue and an Other Tongue
By Pratishtha Pandya
Every time I write something in English, I’ve been left feeling guilty, as if I had betrayed someone.
The covers of the ten books featured in the gift guide
Your 2022 Holiday Gift Guide to Reading in Translation
By Isabella Corletto
Ten recent books in translation that the readers in your life are sure to enjoy this holiday season.
Tree of life carving at the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque
Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Ahmedabad
By Bharat Trivedi
Those days of leaping carefree into the Sabarmati / Are long gone
Translated from Gujarati by Mira Desai
A red car with an open hood in a car garage
Martin Vorel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Garage and Rahemat Khan
By Hasmukh Shah
A legend widely believed in Bajana was that there was no car Rahemat Khan could not repair.
Translated from Gujarati by Mira Desai
Photo of a man walking alongside his bike on a tree-lined path
Photo by Akshat Vats on Unsplash
To Loved Ones
By Jayesh Jeevibahen Solanki
The bazaar reveals this to us: / I sell / Get sold / Someone buys me / and I buy someone else
Translated from Gujarati by Gopika Jadeja
A woman in a pink sari walks in the street in front of an apartment building
Photo by Akshar Dave on Unsplash
Writing in Troubled Times
By Geetanjali Shree
Fiction came to us from the West. Creativity did not.
Photo of a school framed by two trees
Snehrashmi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Crossroad
By Varsha Adalja
Shame on you, boys. Dullards. A girl has outdone you all.”
Translated from Gujarati by Jenny Bhatt
Multimedia
The covers of all the books featured in the list
12 Global Children’s Books for History Lovers
By Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
In celebration of #WorldKidLitMonth, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp recommends 12 international books for young readers with an interest in world history.
Sketch of Infernal Landscape by Hieronymus Bosch
Rik Klein Gotink and Robert G. Erdmann, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Seeking Shelter in Language
By Saudamini Deo
In English, Hindi, and Bangla—the languages I use daily—we spoke only of death and distress.
Ellamma Is Distressed
By Gogu Shyamala
They may even throw us out of this village.
Translated from Telugu by P. Pavana
Portrait of writer and translator Nisha Susan
“Women with Highly Irregular Minds”
By Suhasini Patni
In all these years that I’ve spent writing in English, I’ve always felt that my leaning toward literariness was informed by Malayalam.
“The Joy of Cultural Mixing”: Daljit Nagra on Retelling the Classic Ramayana in Punglish
By Samantha Schnee
Humor was essential for my Ramayana.
An International Menagerie: Animal Stories
By Susan Harris
Some of the animals here possess the power of speech, deploying it to often subversive ends.
Portrait of Meena Kandasamy
Image Copyright © Varun Vasudevan
The Poetry of Radical Female Fighters
By Suhasini Patni
When you are not held back by any fear, you can write songs of liberation.
Double portrait of writer Jhumpa Lahiri
Where I Find Myself
By Jhumpa Lahiri
I have come to think of any “definitive text” largely the same way that I think of a mother tongue, at least in my case: an inherently debatable, perpetually relative concept.
Why Must Two Works be Compared at All?
By Saudamini Deo
Why must two works be compared at all?
Celebrating Kazi Nazrul Islam, Rebel Poet of Bengal
By Liesl Schwabe
Much of the radical heart of Nazrul’s larger oeuvre, including his work as a freedom fighter, has been overlooked.
10 Translated Books from India to Read Now
By Arunava Sinha
Both list-makers and editors seem to forget that India is in fact a country with 20,000 tongues, which are variations of over 120 distinct languages.
On the “Good” in “Good Traveler”
By Shahnaz Habib
Travel is a self-improvement project that has been sold to us as a world-improvement project.
Road Stories: International Writing on Travel
By Susan Harris
Some of the writers here document their own trips, while others invent characters and send them on the road.
Across Mountains and Valleys: Stories of Migration from the Kinnaur and Spiti Valleys
By Arshia Sattar
Despite their specificity, these tales transcend the places that produced them and throb with a universal appeal.
The Story of Sunni and Bhunku
By Himalayan Oral Tradition
Why, oh why, did you not come back immediately?
Translated from Lahouli by Noor Zaheer
The Girl Who Turned into a Crocodile
By Himalayan Oral Tradition
She struggled and fought back and tried to save herself but could not overcome the great crocodile that had taken hold of her.
Translated from Lahouli by Noor Zaheer
When the Deer Moved Away
By Himalayan Oral Tradition
Deeku refused to understand the close bond between the humans and the deer and their dependence on each other.
Translated from Lahouli by Noor Zaheer
Beyond “Untouchability”: Dalit Literature in Hindi
By Laura Brueck & Christi A. Merrill
Dalit literature represents some of the most meaningful, socially engaged narrative voices in India today.
Our Village
By Mohan Das Namishray
It would be difficult to find a single man whose back had not been scarred by the whip of the thakur or his agents.
Translated from Hindi by Laura Brueck & Christi A. Merrill
Gujji
By Suraj Badtiya
Although his name wasn’t Gujji to begin with, he was Gujji now.
Translated from Hindi by John Vater
The Case of the Quota Candidate
By Anita Bharti
We are here to teach, not to meddle in the affairs of other people.”
Translated from Hindi by Swarnim Khare
from “Doubly Cursed”
By Kausalya Baisantry
There were a few people in our basti who couldn’t bear our improved circumstances.
Translated from Hindi by Christi A. Merrill
Fragmentation
By Ajay Navaria
“There must be a misunderstanding.
Translated from Hindi by Laura Brueck
A metal bowl against a white background
Khalili Collections / CC-BY-SA 3.0 IGO, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO, via Wikimedia Commons
“Chhanna,” the Metal Bowl
By Amarjit Chandan
Contemplating a family heirloom, a ruminative Amarjit Chandan finds the past staring back at him.
Translated from Punjabi by Sarabjeet Garcha
Mustard Flowers
By Ajmer Rode
Morning starts / when lights turn green.
Translated from Punjabi by the author
While I Slept
By Navtej Bharati
I will not accept this old age / grafted slyly on my body.
Translated from Punjabi by the author
Standing on Ashes: Three Punjabi Poets on Aging
By Sonnet Mondal
Punjabi poetry stands on ashes, reinforced by a blend of spirituality and dissent.
Devdas
By Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
She searched for an answer, embarrassed for the first time in her life at having to say what she was about to.
Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha
The House of Wax
By Subodh Ghosh
“Have you been able to forget me?”
Translated from Bengali by Somrita Ganguly
Heeng Kochuri
By Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
I cannot serve a glass of water to a Brahmin’s son.
Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha
Shaheb Bibi Golam
By Bimal Mitra
It was late. Who knew where Bhootnath could buy liquor at this hour?
Translated from Bengali by Somrita Ganguly
Recalculating the Hexagon: The New French Literature
By Susan Harris
These writers have migrated geographically and, in some cases, linguistically.
The Man with a Guava Tree
By Shumona Sinha
“Why? Wasn’t there a guava tree at the other guy’s place?”
Translated from French by Roland Glasser
I Will Die Young
By Rasul Mīr
Are they more beautiful than me?
Translated from Kashmiri by Sonam Kachru
I Will Not Sing
By Dīna Nāth Nādim
When the thunder of guns tears out the tongue from the nightingale
Translated from Kashmiri by Sonam Kachru
The jewels of my eyes I’ll lay at your feet
By Arinimal
Hyacinth! Lift your head your head from within the mud
Translated from Kashmiri by Neerja Mattoo
Multimedia
Simurgh
By Sonam Kachru, Neerja Mattoo & Arshia Sattar
The texts we were working with were profoundly unstable.
Born of earth, I fell into contemplation
By Roop Bhawani
You kindled hope in me. Now fill my cups.
Translated from Kashmiri by Neerja Mattoo
Multimedia
Voices Unheard: Tribal Literature from India to Read Now
By Pooja Shankar
Until recently, the tribal literature created in non-mainstream languages has not been very recognized or available for an Indian or global audience.
There Is No Map: The New Italian(s)
By Alta L. Price
Who is Italian, what is the Italian language, and who deserves to write in it?
Barbie
By Gabriella Kuruvilla
He was fascinated with India: I represented its Italian branch, easily accessible.
Translated from Italian by Jamie Richards
Multilingual
Listening to Silence
By Laila Wadia
“I gallop in English, I am a towering dervish in Urdu, and Hindi is my Kama Sutra. I am still on all fours in Italian.”
Translated from Italian by Sole Anatrone
Multilingual
Changing Landscapes and Identities: An Introduction to Tamil Writing
By Lakshmi Holmström
So changing landscapes are also about changing identities.
Ayya’s Bicycle
By Sukumaran
“Ayya won’t come to school on his bicycle anymore from now on, it seems, da.”
Translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström
Multilingual
Two Minutes
By Ashokamitran
Someone had left the corpse on the bicycle.
Translated from Tamil by Padma Narayanan & Subashree Krishnaswamy
A Mansion with Many Rooms
By Kutti Revathi
“As if you have to ask that low-caste boy’s permission in order to see your own mother!”
Translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström
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