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Kashyap receives National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship

Alan Flurry

The National Endowment for the Arts announced that University of Georgia faculty member Aruni Kashyap is one of 22 translators selected to receive a Literature Translation Fellowship

Kashyap, associate professor of English and Creative Writing in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and Director of Creative Writing Program, will use the time of the fellowship to translate a novel called ‘Udbhashito Upokul,’ by Dipak Kumar Barkakati, from the Northeast Indian language Assamese to English.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support the translators of these fascinating projects from around the world,” said the NEA’s Director of Literary Arts Amy Stolls. “We recognize the knowledge, skill, and artistry it takes to render literature from other languages into English and are pleased to provide these translators with the means to focus on their work.”

"I feel deeply honored to win this fellowship not only because it is so prestigious and would bring the spotlight to my work as a translator but also because this prize has gone to an Assamese writer and to the Assamese language for the first time in the history of NEA," Kashyap said.  

Kashyap is the author of “His Father’s Disease: Stories,” the novel ‘The House with a Thousand Stories’ and ‘There is No Good Time for Bad News,’ a poetry collection. Along with editing a collection of stories called ‘How to Tell the Story of an Insurgency,’ he has also translated two novels from Assamese to English: ‘The Bronze Sword of Thengphakhri Tehsildar’ by Indira Goswami; and ‘My Poems Are Not for Your Ad-Campaign’ by Anuradha Sarma Pujari. 

In 2021-22, Kashyap was one of the first cohort of faculty and graduate students to be awarded a UGA Arts Lab fellowship, which facilitate research and practice projects through an initiative spearheaded by the UGA Arts Council.

The novel ‘Udbhashito Upokul’ follows the lives of American Baptist missionaries Rev. Nathan Brown and Rev. Miles Bronson. The British East India Company colonized Assam in 1826. The novel depicts how Brown and Bronson overcame numerous challenges while running a printing press, learned the Assamese language, and published the first Assamese literary magazine Orunudoi, between 1846 to 1883. 

“Barkakati’s novel, on the challenges of an American missionary family in Assam in the 19th century reminiscent of Nobel prize winner Pearl S Buck's slow-burning storytelling in ‘The Good Earth’ and Barbara Kingslover's ‘The Poisonwood Bible,’ is widely read in Assam,” Kashyap said. “Barkakati's work deserves to be globally recognized and I am delighted to play this small role in bringing his novel to the shores of United States.” 

“Aruni is a highly talented and experienced translator with a global audience and I congratulate him on this impressive achievement,” said Cody Marrs and professor and head of the department of English. “He embodies the type of leading-edge, international work that we are doing here at UGA.” 

Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 572 fellowships to 503 literary translators, with translations representing 79 languages and 88 countries. Visit to browse bios and artist statements from all of the 2023 recipients and past Literature Translation Fellows. In total, the NEA will award $300,000 in grants to support the translation into English of works written in 10 different languages from 16 countries.

Image: Aruni Kashyap




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