Ambai, pen name of C S Lakshmi, is a leading writer in Tamil. Her first collection of short stories, Siragugal Muriyum, was published in 1976. In 1984 she published a critical work in English, The Face Behind the Mask, a study of the images of women in modern Tamil fiction by women writers. A second collection of stories, Veettin Muulayil Oru Samayalarai, was published in 1988. Her articles and papers have appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly under her own name.
Anand is the pseudonym of P Sachidanandan who was born in 1936, in Irinjalakuda in Kerala. A civil engineer from Trivandrum Engineering College, he also did a four-year stint as a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army. Known for his serious and thought-provoking works of fiction, Anand has also regularly written on contemporary and social themes. His major works are Aalkoottam, Abayarthikal and Marubhoomikal Untakunnatu (translated into English as Desert Shadows and published by Penguin India), Govardhante Yatrakal, Vyasanum Vighneshwaranum. He has also written collections of short stories, two plays and two articles, Jaiva Manushyan (a philosophical study of man as a part of nature and society) and VettakkaranumVirunnukaranum (an inquiry into religious fundamentalism). Anand has received various awards for his writings, including the Kerala and Kendra Sahitya Akademi awards. He retired from the Central Water Commission and now lives in Delhi. He is married and has two children.
Ashokamitran, one of the best known contemporary Tamil writers, began his literary career with the prize winning play Anbin Parisu, which was followed by many short stories, a collection of novellas, Viduthalai, and eight novels, including Karainda Nizhalgal, Padinettaavadu Atchakodu, Indru, Manasarovar and Vizhaa Maalai Podil. He is also a distinguished essayist and critic, and has been the Executive Editor of the influential Tamil journal, Kanaiyaazhi, for many years. He has won many literary awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1996.
Bhupen Khakhar, the son of a cloth merchant and a schoolteacher, was born in Bombay. His works have always borne the stamp of his unique personality. Influence is a four-letter word for this iconoclast who came from the chawls of Bombay to storm the bastions of the oh-so-propah Indian art and went on to win the Padma Shri. In his own eyes, though, Khakhar does not think of himself as a particularly rebellious artist. His world is the very real one peopled by men and women whose only topic of conversation may be the dinner menu of the house next door and the rumour mongering rampant in any middle class locality.
After graduating in Economics and Commerce from the Wilson College, Khakhar joined a firm of Chartered Accountants. But in 1961, he announced his intention to be “a painter” and, in face of great familial opposition, he quit his job and left Bombay for Baroda to enroll in a master’s course in Criticism at the Faculty of Fine Arts. Working part-time as an accountant, he started painting in earnest. This was also when his stories began to appear in Gujarati journals. Today, he still lives in Baroda, and his paintings sell for a fortune each.
Indira Goswami, also known as Mamoni Raisom Goswami, a celebrated name in Asomiya literature, blends scholarliness with creativity. Writing from a very early age, she prefers to absorb the environment of the subject she is writing on – even if it means staying at Brindavan to research her doctoral thesis, or camping at the Kamakhya temple in Assam to gather first-hand experience for her novel. She has travelled extensively both within India and abroad.
She balances intensive and extensive research for her writings with a full-fledged teaching job at the University of Delhi where she is the Head of the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies. She has written several novels, hundreds of short stories and a number of research papers. Her works have been extensively translated into various bhashas including English. Several feature films, television serials, telefilms and stage plays have been adapted from her novels and short stories.
Her voluminous work, Ramayana from Ganga to Brahmaputra was released by the former President Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma. She has received the International Tulsi Award on the occasion of International Conference on “Tulsi Das and His Works” from the Florida International University, Florida, USA. She has been honoured with several national and international awards including the Katha Award for Creative Fiction, the Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, Bharat Nirman Award, Assam Sahitya Sabha Award, the Kamal Kumari Foundation Award and the International Jury Award for the film Adarya based on her novel Une Khowa Hawda.
Krishna Sobti’s contribution to Indian literature transcends cultural boundaries. Writer par excellence, her innovative use of language, technique and refreshing delineation of strong women characters have opened up new vistas in Hindi literature, challenging the normative. One of the most creative and engaging aspects of her writing is her vibrant yet minimalist use of language. With every work, she breaks new ground, with language, theme and structure. Her contribution to Hindi is immeasurable. She has enriched it with new words and expressions, also introducing new styles of writing. She has several exquisitely crafted and compelling literary works to her credit, including Daar Se Bichhudi, Mitro Marjani, Surajmukhi Andhere Ke, Ai Ladki, Zindaginama, Hum Hashmat, Yaaron Ke Yaar, Teen Pahad, Badalon Ke Ghere, Sobti Ek Sohbat, and Samay Sargam. Each work evidences a distinctive use of Hindi, steeped in the dialect and flavours of the region that the story is set in. Her works have been much translated – Ai Ladki into Swedish and English, Sobti Ek Sohbat into Swedish and Urdu, and Mitro Marjani into Russian and English.
Her nuanced, layered
writings cover issues spanning Partition, upheaval and turmoil
in Indian society, man-woman relationships, feudalism and
dissolution of human values. Sobti is the first Hindi woman
writer to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award for her magnum
opus, Zindaginama. She is also the recipient
of the first Katha Chudamani Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement,
conferred on her in 1999, the Hindi Academy Award, the Shiromani
Award, Maithili Sharan Gupt Samman, Shalaka Samman and the
Sadbhavna Puraskar besides a number of Fellowships including
the exclusive Shimla and Punjab University Fellowships and
the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.
M Mukundan is a pioneer of contemporary Malayalam literature, credited with twenty six published works; he wrote his first story in 1961. Born in 1943 in the former French colony of Mahe in Kerala, he carved a niche for himself in Malayalam fiction through his existentialist novels, but Mukundan never ceased to experiment with themes, locales and forms. He won the Katha Award for Creative Fiction for his short story Unnikatha, the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for A Man in This World,the M P Paul Award and Muttath Varkey Award for On the Banks of Mahe River,and the Sahitya Akademi Award and NV Award for Mischiefs of God. He was conferred the Chevalier Award by the French Government for his contribution to the field of literature in 1998. He also won the Hutch Crossword Indian Fiction in Translation Award 2006 for Kesavan’s Lamentations. Having retired from the French Embassy, Mukundan lives in New Delhi.
M T Vasudevan Nair—littérateur, playwright, critic, travel writer and screenwriter—is one of India’s most outstanding wordsmiths. Born at Kudallur village in Palghat, Kerala in 1933, M T began contributing to periodicals early in life. His first collection of short stories was published before he completed graduation from Victoria College, Palghat. He joined the Malayalam magazine Mathrubhumi in 1956, and later became its editor.
He has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Kaalam; the President’s Gold Medal for the film Nirmalyam – written, produced and directed by him; The Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award thrice for his novel Naalukettu; his short story collection Swargam Turakkunna Samayam and play, Gopuranatayil. He received the Vayalar Awardfor his novel Randamoozham and the National Award for Best Screenplay for Oru Vadakkan Veera Gatha, Sadayam and Kadavu. M T was awarded the Katha Award for Creative Fiction for the story Cheriya Cheriya Bhookambangal in 1992. He received the prestigious Jnanpith Award in 1995. The Padma Bhushan Award was conferred upon him in 2005. M T lives in Calicut.
Paul Zacharia, educated in Kerala and Karnataka, is one of the best-known writers in Malayalam today. His first collection of short stories was published while he was in his final year at college. Since then, five volumes of his short stories, a novella and a collection of essays have been published. He received the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for his short stories in 1978. One of his novellas, Bhaskara Patelum Ellarum, has been made into a movie by the renowned film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Paul Zacharia has also received the Katha Award for Creative Fiction (1993) and for Translation (1995).
Santanu Kumar Acharya is an academician and an accomplished writer. His published works include fifteen novels and an equal number of short story collections, ten books of stories for children and substantial feature writings based on real life experiences with tribal societies in Orissa. His works are prescribed as textbooks at the post graduate level. He has received the Sahitya Akademi Prize, and the Konarka Prize for his short story collection, Chalanti Thakura (1993), and the Orissa Sahitya Akademi Prize for his novel, Nara Kinnara (1970). The writer has twice received the National Award for Children’s Literature from the Ministry of Education, Government of India, in 1962 and 1963. He has also served as a senior administrator in the Education Department, Government of Orissa. In 1992, Santanu Kumar Acharya retired as the registrar of Utkal University, Orissa.
She has also worked on two research projects – an illustrated social history of the women of Tamil Nadu, and a Homi Bhabha Fellowship, An Idiom of Silence: An Oral History and Pictoral Study. At present, she is the founder trustee and director of SPARROW, a Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women. She lives in Mumbai with her husband, filmmaker Vishnu Mathur.
Anahita Taymourian is an Iranian graphic artist, painter and interior designer. This book won her the Runner Up Prize in the international search for excellence and innovation in illustrating and writing for children – the Katha Chitrakala Contest 2006.
Bindia Thapar is a trained architect. She loves to illustrate and has been a designer and illustrator for various publishing houses. She is a visiting lecturer at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, and is deeply committed to peace and environment issues. She lives in Delhi with her daughter.
Enrique Lara Robayo studied graphic design at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He loves to write and illustrate and works as a freelance illustrator and as a university teacher.
Feeroozeh Golmohammadi has been painting and illustrating children's books for nearly two and a half decades. She is among the first Iranian women to have won international acclaim in art and is credited with ushering in the renaissance of Persian miniature paintings.
Luis Fernando García Guayara studied graphic design at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He has always enjoyed playing with plasticine. After his degree, he started teaching claywork and origami to children in his art classes. He also works as a freelance illustrator and college teacher.
Mario Kessler began to draw and paint while in school. He likes painting animals for children.
Maya Ramaswamy has brought together her two greatest passions: painting and wildlife. A creative artist with a talent for cartooning, she loves watching wildlife and visits the forests whenever she can get away from Bangalore where she lives. Her earlier book with Katha was Walk the Rainforest with Niwupah.
Neeta Gangopadhya: A post graduate from the College of Art, New Delhi, Neeta Gangopadhya has illustrated several books for children. She has represented India at the Biennial of Illustrations, Bratislava in 1995. Her illustrations are included in the book Once Upon a Time in India, which has been nominated for the IBBY Honours List in 2006.
Nimret Handa has been writing and illustrating her own nature columns over many years. She also does travel writing, features and book reviews. At present, she is working on a couple of children’s fiction books. Some of her works include Gardening in the City, The Wildflowers of India, and My Book of Trees.
Prabhjot Kaur wrote and illustrated this book which won her the runner-up prize in the 10th Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations. She is presently in England continuing her studies and working as an illustrator.
Premola Ghose, Chief, Programme Division at IIC, New Delhi is a self-taught artist, painter and illustrator. She has held solo exhibitions and group shows in India and abroad and is a recipient of the Order of Civil Merit conferred on her by the King of Spain in 2001.
Ragini is 10 years old. Besides drawing and painting, she likes music, reading, craft and puppetry.
Rashin Kheiriyeh is an Illustrator of Iranian origin and the winner of the grand prize in the international search for excellence in illustrating and writing for children, the Katha Chitrakala Contest 2006.
Sonal Panse is a freelance artist and writer based in Nashik in Maharashtra. She does realistic, imaginative and abstract artwork in a variety of media, and has written several articles on a range of subjects. Her work has been featured in print and web publications in India, Australia and the United States. Sonal has also exhibited her paintings in London and Mumbai, and is currently working on a novel.
Sonali Biswas is a freelance illustrator based in Delhi. She is the recipient of The Chitra Katha Award 2003 for Outstanding Illustrations for One Lonely Unicorn, a story-counting book published by Katha. She has also received the Runner-Up award from Noma Concours for Children’s Book Illustrations in 2000 and an Honourable Mention at the Biennial of Asian Illustrators, Japan in 2002.
Srisrividhiya K or Srivi is a designer, writer and a visualizer. She holds a masters degree with distinction in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College and is currently working in Amber Valley Residential School, Chikmaglur, Karnataka. Srivi loves children and likes teaching them drawing and story-book making. She has co-designed the interiors of the children's ward at Sankara Netralaya, Chennai. She has held quite a few exhibitions of her paintings, is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, and art, mythology and poetry are among her varied interests.
Stephen Aitken has been writing and illustrating children's books for over 20 years. He is also a botanical illustrator and has served as the Managing Editor of Biodiversity: Journal of Life on Earth. He left his homeland Canada to come to India and live in the Himalayas, where he maintains a studio. Aitken is a member of the Picture Book Artists’ Association and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Suddhasattwa Basu is a renowned illustrator, painter and maker of animation films for television. For The Song of a Scarecrow, a picture book written and illustrated by him, he won the Katha Chitrakala Award 2002 and received an honourable mention at the Biennial of Illustrations 2003, Bratislava. He has also illustrated Ka: The Story of Garuda for Katha.
Taposhi is an illustrator and designer for children's books.
Vandana Bist has a degree in Fine Arts from the Delhi College of Art with specialization in illustration. Her artworks have been published in various children’s magazines and books. Starting with her first book, A Ticket to Home and Other Stories, her works have been exhibited in Japan and Bratislava. She received the Chitrakala Award 1998 for her illustrations in The Princess with the Longest Hair, published by Katha. The book also fetched her the Encouragement Prize at the Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations. Vandana is also a writer and has won the Katha Award for Creative Fiction in 1994.
Raji Narasimhan is a well-known Delhi-based writer and translator. She has to her credit five novels, including Forever Free which was shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi Award.
D Krishna Ayyar has, for the past decade and a half, been devoting time exclusively to the study of Advaita Vedanta under a traditional preceptor, after an active career with the central government. A Leftist and Gandhian, during the freedom struggle he was inspired by the nationalist spirit.
Nandini Guha translates from Bangla to English and occasionally from Hindi to English. Her translation of Bani Basu’s Kharap Chhelé won the Katha Award, and features in Volume 12 of Katha Prize Stories. An MPhil in English Literature from Delhi University, she teaches at the College of Vocational Studies, Delhi University.
A R Venkatachalapathy works with the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai as an Associate Professor. He has earlier taught at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, the University of Madras and the University of Chicago. A historian, he has published widely on the social and cultural history of colonial Tamil Nadu, both in English and Tamil.
Meenakshi Bharadwaj is a Delhi-based writer, freelance editor and occasional translator of Indian fiction.
Vandana R Singh translates from Hindi
to English. She is currently a senior lecturer of English in
Government College for Girls, Chandigarh. She is also an editing
consultant to the Indian Council of Social Science Research
for their multidisciplinary biannual journal, Indian Social
Reema Anand is a journalist, columnist, documentary filmmaker and writer. She is the recipient of the Katha Translator Award, 1998. She has a number of publications to her credit, which include Prologue, Inferno Revisited, Prayer for my Soul, His Sacred Burden, and Rehras. Her documentaries have been telecast on Doordarshan’s national network and various international fora. These include Lest it be Repeate, Sewa- From Paris to Tapovan which was selected for the 2004 International Film Festival at Toronto, and a documentary on Bhagat Puran Singh which was selected for screening at the 2003 Spinning Wheel International Film Festival at Toronto.
Meenakshi Swami is a translator and professional editor.