Monday, October 4, 2010

Long-listed for literary award

Salma had one regret as a writer. Though she arrived on the Tamil literary scene with her poems, powerfully expressing the pain of sufferings of women treated as sexual objects by men, she feels that her debut novel ‘Irandam Jaamangalin Kathai' was “deliberately ignored.”

But, an English translation by Laksmi Holmstrom titled ‘The Hour Past Midnight' did the magic. The novel is now in the long list of the first DSC Prize for South Asian Literature along with the works of well-known writers such as Amit Chaudhuri and Upamanyu Chatterjee. The prize, whose long-list has 14 books, carries a cash award of $50,000.

“I am happy that my novel is getting world-wide attention,” said Salma. The novel narrated hitherto unknown world of Muslim women in a male-dominated society, besides capturing their aspirations in the absence of any link with women outside their world. “It is the politics in the literary world that ensured that the novel did not get its due,” said Salma, who was then the president of a panchayat in Tiruchi. She took a plunge into politics in 2004 by joining the DMK. She was also fielded as the party candidate in Marungapuri Assembly constituency, but failed to win the election. The government later appointed her chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board.

Full report here Hindu

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