Daisy Rockwell to be conferred Vani translator Award

Awarded for making Hindi and Urdu visible on globally

(L-R) Neeta Gupta, director of Jaipur BookMark; translator Daisy Rockwell; Kanishka Gupta of Writer's Side; and Namita Gokhale founder and co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival at the press conference

The seventh Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award for the year 2023 will be presented to Daisy Rockwell for her contribution to make Hindi and Urdu visible on the global literary landscape. The award ceremony will be held on 22 January 2023 at the Jaipur BookMark during the annual Jaipur Literature Festival 2023.

Vani Foundation and Teamwork Arts present the Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award to honor translators who have consistently and qualitatively facilitated literary and linguistic exchange between at least two Indian or international languages.

This award was deemed necessary in order to actively encourage direct exchange between Indian and international languages at a time when such endeavors were few or none. The award especially favors translators who have produced a significant literary corpus. It carries a monetary prize of one lakh Indian rupees or equivalent in addition to the trophy and testimonial letter.

Daisy Rockwell is a painter and translator of Hindi and Urdu literature, living in northern New England. She paints under the ‘takhallus‘, or alias, Lapata (pronounced ‘laapataa), which is Urdu for “missing,” or “absconded,” as in “my luggage is missing,” or “the bandits have absconded.” She posts her paintings regularly to Flickr, showing her work widely.

Daisy grew up in a family of artists in western Massachusetts, some whose work adorns the surfaces of chinaware and brightens up the waiting rooms of dentists’ offices, and others whose artistic output has found more select audiences. From 1992-2006, she made a detour into Academia, from which she emerged with a PhD in South Asian literature, a book on the Hindi author Upendranath Ashk and a mild case of depression.

Daisy has published numerous translations from Hindi and Urdu, including Ashk’s Falling Walls (2015), Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas (2016), and Khadija Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard. Her translation of Krishna Sobti’s final novel, A Gujarat here, a Gujarat there (Penguin, 2019) was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work in 2019. Her translation of Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand (Tilted Axis Press, 2021) has won the International Booker Prize. Rockwell has written The Little Book of Terror, a volume of paintings and essays on the Global War on Terror (Foxhead Books, 2012), and her novel Taste was published by Foxhead Books in April 2014.

The award is in its seventh edition in 2023.The Award’s Journey so far:

  • Attoor Ravi Verma (2015 -2016): Malayalam
  • Anamika (2016-2017): Bhojpuri
  • Rita Kothari (2017- 2018): Sindhi
  • Teji Grover (2018 -2019): Hindi
  • Rakhshanda Jalil (2019- 2020): Urdu
  • Arunava Sinha (2021-2022): Bangla

The award has been an integral part of JBM since 2016. The jury for the award comprises Namita Gokhale- founder and co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival, Neeta Gupta- director of Jaipur BookMark and Sundeep Bhutoria, Chairman of Prabha Kahitan Foundation, author and cultural critic.

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