sculpture by K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN
takeaway coffee cups, maybe this book should have gone out with
a statutory warning: “Caution, contents may be hot.” In this special
celebration number, we bring you the very best new writing to appear
in The Little Magazine in the
its inception six years ago, The Little Magazine has pursued
two major interests: to make the best contemporary literature from
the South Asian languages available in English for wider access,
and to create a platform for the best new writing from this region.
This spring, we have taken these projects to their final conclusion,
instituting two honours to recognise excellence in literature old
Little Magazine Salam (that’s South Asian Literature Award for
the Masters) is being given away today to Vijay Tendulkar for Marathi
drama, Kamala Das or Madhavikutty for Malayalam fiction and Shamsur
Rahman of Bangladesh for Bengali poetry. Along with the masters,
Jayant Sankrityayana, an automobile designer from Pune, is receiving
The Little Magazine New Writing Award for a delightful
little fantasy and science fiction genre piece called ‘Tsunami’,
which appeared in this magazine in 2004.
the last six years, The Little Magazine
has become the first port of call for new writers from our region
and indeed, the only permanent venue where they are assured of the
attention of their peers and professional writers and editors. The
25 stories and plays in this volume comprise the shortlist for the
2006 New Writing Award, culled from the several thousand submissions
that have landed in our mailboxes — electronic and postal — in half
a decade. Only submissions from South Asia were considered for this
award, and some excellent stories by new writers had to be left
out because they were from other regions. Unfortunately, most of
the translated stories didn’t make it to the final 25, although
a couple of stories from Bengali and Malayalam came very close.
There is only one translated work in this shortlist, and that is
a play. The final jury comprising the writers Keki N. Daruwalla,
Lakshmi Kannan and Upamanyu Chatterjee unanimously chose ‘Tsunami’
as the award-winning work.
most of these new authors — not just the award winner — first saw
their work in print in the pages of The
Little Magazine. That’s the way we like our new writing,
so fresh that even the names of the authors are new to us. And we
are pleasantly surprised at the quality of their first-time work.
Over the years, a number of TLM’s new writers have been picked
up by big publishers and now have books in print. Clearly, first
impressions are not always misleading.
like the microwave says when it’s done, “Enjoy”. And do remember
that coffee-cup warning: the contents are indeed hot.