Events in which I have participated
February 2016. Invited by Sumana Das Sur, I was interviewed in the Women’s Studies Department of the Rabindra Bharati University in their Jorasanko campus.
January 2016. I was the Chief Guest in a special reunion of old students at Lady Brabourne College, organized by Ajanta Choudhuri, where I was interviewed by Gopa Dutta.
January 2016. Under the title, Words of Two Worlds: How does the muse choose the language of verse? I was interviewed in Bengali by Paroma Roy Chowdhury in the grounds of the Victoria Memorial Hall.
January 2016. I participated in an open air discussion in the grounds of the Victoria Memorial Hall on the challenges of digitisation and translation in a post-copyright world especially in the context of Tagore. Martin Kämpchen, Sukanta Chaudhuri, and myself spoke. Samantak Das was the moderator.
Both events were sponsored by Tata Steel for Kolkata Literary Meet. Full details of these events with photographs are available on their website. Kolkata Literary Meet, 2016
January 2016. I became the first recipient of the Buddhadeva Bose Memorial Award, presented to me by Sankha Ghosh in the Rotary Sadan, Calcutta. I spoke a little about the time when I knew Buddhadeva.
October 2015. I was felicitated by the Bengalis of Cardiff for being a writer of the Bengali diaspora.
October 2014. Presented a felicitation to Abdul Gaffar Choudhuri on behalf of the Bengalis of Cardiff.
April 2014. I was invited to be chief guest at a Tagore conference in Houston, Texas. I decided not to attend in person but to use modern technology to be a virtual presence. I recorded a talk-video which was shown to the Bengali audience. After the talk I took questions via Skype.
November 2013. I gave a talk, Writing plays in Bengali in the Diaspora: My Experiences, followed by Q&A on my Bengali Drama at the Kobi Nazrul Centre, London.
August 2013. I joined Tanika Gupta to discuss Rabindranath Tagore with Matthew Parris on BBC Radio. Great Lives: Rabindranath Tagore
November 2012. Talk: The psychology of suttee: the road to glory through a fiery suicide at the ISCA seminar, School of Anthropology, Oxford.
June 2012. Panel discussion and poetry translation reading. PEN event, Oxford.
June 2012. Poetry reading at Keats’s House, London. My reading was followed by Kora music by acclaimed artist Sona Jobarteh.
May 2012. Participated in a special programme for the Tagore Society of Glasgow.
May 2012. Read paper for Tagore and Education seminar organized by Alastair Niven at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor. A book of papers is coming out.
March 2012. Participated in Tagore seminar, Budapest. My paper will appear in a book of the conference proceedings due to be published.
February 2012. Spoke at the Centre for Gender Studies at Oxford in a series, Writing women: fact or fiction. Introduced by Prof Judith Okely.
My talk: Writing as a woman: between continents and cultures, and in two languages.
January 2012. Participated in Bangla Academy seminar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
December 2011. Participated in Robindro Utsav at the music school of Bonnya Rezwana Choudhuri, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
November 2011. Talk at Jadavpur University, organized by Damayanti Basu Singh.
November 2011. Gave the Major S. C. Dutt Memorial Oration, Ophthalmological Society of West Bengal, on The effects of Tagore’s colour vision deficiency on his literary writings and art, generally introducing the subject and giving some examples. I received a medal for my exploration of Tagore’s colour vision deficiency in the book, Ronger Rabindranath. Two co-workers, Sushobhan Adhikary, and Robert Dyson who were co-workers on the book gave talks at this event.
November 2011. Talk at Sir J. C. Bose Trust organized by Parul Chakrabarti.
November 2011. Talk at Rabindra Bharati Bengali Department, organized by Sumana Das Sur.
November 2011. Participated in an International Seminar on the Cultural Unity of India: Past, Present and Future. My talk was entitled
India’s cultural unity: in the context of her languages and literatures. Held at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture at the Gol Park, Calcutta.
October 2011. Participated in Tagore conference organized by the ICCR in New Delhi.
October 2011. Participated in conference in Berlin, International Conference Sur / South, Latin America – Indian Literature and Culture. I talked about Victoria Ocampo and Tagore.
July 2011. Speaker at Baltimore Bengali gathering.
June 2011. Poetry reading Lauderdale House, London, organized by Shanta Acharya. Read from my translations of Tagore’s poetry.
May 2011. Poetry reading at Udayan event, Pegasus Theatre, Oxford.
May 2011. Participant in The Sidensi Colloquium on Lost and Found in traducture at Cumberland Lodge, organized by Wangui Wagoro.
May 2011. Spoke at the Tagore conference organized by the Tagore Centre of London. Held in Beveridge Hall, University of London.
May 2011. Participated in the Tagore programme of Dartington Hall in Totnes, Devon.
March 2011. Delivered the second Rabindranath Tagore Memorial lecture at Netaji Subhas Open University.
August 2010. Gave the Fifth Amiya Gooptu Memorial Lecture in Calcutta at the invitation of Bengal Initiative. The lecture was entitled ‘The Legacy of Tagore’s Literary Language: Its Sensuous, Spiritual, and Symbolic dimensions’. It has been published in the Tagore commemorative volume published by the Tagore Centre, London.
July 2010. Participated in the Bangamela at Nashville, Tennessee, USA, organized by the Mid-American Bengali Association. Inaugurated the programme and made a presentation.
March 2010. Participated in a symposium to commemorate the approaching 150th anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore, held at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Read a paper entitled ‘The Phenomenal Legacy of Rabindranath Tagore’, subsequently published in the Journal of the Department of Asian and African Studies, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Vol. XIV, Issue 1, May 2010.
September 2009. Participated in a poetry reading event at The Bell tavern in East London, organized by David Caddy, editor of Tears in the Fence.
July 2009. Received the Best Bengali of the Year in Literature Award from Star Ananda, along with other ‘Best Bengalis’ in other fields. It was a fun event, with much razzle-dazzle, broadcast live.
June 2009. Organized, presented and participated in a poetry evening at the British Museum, London, celebrating Indian poetry on the themes of nature, landscape and gardens, illustrating its range of experience and attitudes, and the use of language and imagery. The programme was a part of the British Museum’s ‘Indian Summer’ activities in the summer of 2009. Poems were heard not only in English, but also in Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati, with accompanying English translations or summaries. Some poems, including my own, illustrated how Indian poets react to nature abroad. The Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati examples were read out by Imre Bangha, Lecturer in Hindi at Oxford, and I myself read out an extract from the Sanskrit Meghaduta. The programme was interspersed with Tagore songs illustrating the nature/garden themes, sung by singer and music scholar Anuradha Roma Choudhury.
February 2009. A session similar to the one below took place in Belur Vidyamandir.
February 2009. Gave a talk at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park, Calcutta, entitled ‘Unity-in-Diversity: An Inheritance of Hope?’ The talk was followed by an interactive session with the audience, the programme being part of their UNESCO-approved project on International Understanding for Human Unity.
January 2009. Presented a paper at a conference held in the University of Hyderabad (the Ninth Biennial International Conference of the Comparative Literature Association of India). The text of the talk can be found at: Translation: the magical bridge between cultures
January 2009. Mozart Chocolates (my English translation of Mozart Chocolate) was staged in the Ranga Shankara by the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama, directed by Zulfia Sheikh.
January 2009. Gave a talk and interacted with students and teachers in a programme arranged by the Bengali Department of Rabindrabharati University in a ‘Meet-the-Author’ format.
December 2008. Gave a talk at the Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi in Calcutta on issues of literary translation. The talk was expanded from the article ‘Prasanga : Anubad’ published in 2006 in the Sahitya-Parishat-Patrika.
December 2008. Gave a talk, entitled “Remembering Buddhadeva Bose: ‘The Compleat Writer’”, at the invitation of Sahitya Akademi, Delhi. An article based on the talk is available at: Remembering Buddhadeva Bose, ‘The Compleat Writer’
November 2008. At the invitation of the Buddhadeva Bose Centenary Committee gave the Buddhadeva Bose Memorial Lecture, entitled ‘Bhramanshilpi Buddhadeb Basu’, in the campus of Jadavpur University, Calcutta. The text of the lecture, slightly expanded at the end, can be found at: Bhramanshilpi Buddhadeb Basu
August 2008. Participated in the Sanghati Bengali Poetry Festival for Peace in London. A report on this written by me is available at: Sanghati Festival Report
June 2008. Participated in the poetry reading accompanying the London launch, at the Nehru Centre, of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from Asia, the Middle East & Beyond (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008), edited by Ravi Shankar and others.
May 2008. Helped to organize a Buddhadeva Bose Memorial evening at the Nehru Centre, London, and read some of my translations of Bose’s poems there. William Radice, Hanne-Ruth Thompson, Carlota Calonje and Sumana Das also participated.
April 2008. Lecture at the Department of English and Drama, Loughborough University: “The British ‘Indian’ Journal: a special literary flowering during the days of the East India Company”.
December 2007. Seminar in Yamunanagar, Haryana. Read a paper entitled ‘Before 1857 : How the British experience of India generated a special literary flowering’.
In the autumn of 2006 I participated in the Voices of Bengal season at the British Museum, London. I gave a gallery talk at their exhibition of Tagore paintings, a more formal, illustrated talk on Tagore’s paintings at their Tagore Study Day, and did a poetry reading in the Round Reading Room.
July 2007. Participated in the ‘Golden Boat’ Poetry Translation Workshop in Slovenia, in the Karst region and in Ljubljana. The translations I did there were published, with an introduction, in the magazine Agrobeej, Year One, No. 2, December 2007.
February 2006, after Gail had left, I went to Imphal, Manipur, in North-East India, to inaugurate a translation seminar organized by the Sahitya Akademi and the Manipur Cultural Forum: also a wonderful and educative experience. I saw some remarkable traditional performances there too, and met and talked to the staff and students of the English Department of the University.
Winter 2005-2006: I went to India with Gail Rosier on an Arts Council-sponsored Research & Development project which will hopefully lead to an English-language production of my second play (to be called Mozart Chocolates). Gail Rosier had directed the English-language production of my first play in 2000, but at that time she had no direct experience of India. This visit was to immerse Gail in Bengali culture and give her an exposure to Bengali performances.
First, in September 2005 Gail and I read an extract from Mozart Chocolates at the Farnham Maltings and in October 2005 we attended the Piers Playwrights Conference in Chichester.
Then at the end of December we flew to Calcutta. Outside Calcutta we visited Tamluk, Mahishadal, Naradari. and Harikhali in Eastern Medinipur (some of these places I had visited in my previous trip), and the Santiniketan campus in the Birbhum District.
We have seen performances of all kinds – from the latest avant-garde and social drama to comedy and traditional music-and-dance-based folk forms (Chhou and Nachnee from the Purulia District) and modern social-satirical ‘jatra’ and genuine contemporary music-theatre. In Mahishadal where I inaugurated the diamond jubilee of the Gayeswari Girls’ High School, we saw a brilliant school production of Tagore’s Taser Desh. The next day we saw a historical play by ‘adult amateurs’ in full regalia (including the characters of a French General and a British Governor-General) with prompters in the wings!
In Calcutta we saw productions by many renowned groups and went backstage to talk to the directors and actors. We were treated very graciously and warmly, and Gail took everything in her stride. At least two of the Calcutta productions were of translated or adapted texts (one from French into Bengali, the other from Bengali into Hindi). In one of the shows I was asked by Badal Sircar, the grand old man of Bengali theatre, to launch the playscript of the play being performed. As a result we were interviewed by a paper. The report, with a photograph of Gail and myself sitting with the eminent man, can be viewed on the Internet edition of the paper by clicking on the following link: The Telegraph Jan 9th 2006
We also saw modern art, met visual artists and many writers. We visited people in their homes and were entertained and taken out, so that Gail could experience Bengali hospitality. The trip has been very educative for her for the development of her inter-cultural awareness, and indeed for me as a dramatist, for I have now had an opportunity to see remarkable productions which I might not have had a chance to see without the framework of this project. Gail has observed hours and hours of Bengali ‘theatre language’, with all its components of social satire, humour, intellectual interrogation, witty dialogue, lyricism and musicality.
December 2005: Speaker at the launch of Julius Lipner’s translation of Anandamath, Nehru Centre, London
November 2005. Participant in Tagore conference, University of Toronto. The paper presented, ‘Rabindranath Tagore and His World of Colours’, developed from the article previously published in Parabaas, has subsequently been published in the anthology in which all the papers presented in the conference have been collected: Rabindranath Tagore: Reclaiming a Cultural Icon, ed. by Kathleen and Joseph O’Connell, Visva-Bharati, 2009.
November 2005: Participant in the Cultural Co-operation ‘KNOW YOUR PLACE?’ conference in London
Winter 2004-2005: My visit to India brought its crop of engagements: a reading in a programme at the Crossword bookshop in Calcutta in December 2004, in honour of Buddhadeva Bose; an open air reading in Tamluk, District Medinipur, in connection with a flower show which I inaugurated, on 26 December 2004 (the day of the tsunami), and later the same evening, a most memorable reading at the near-by village of Naradari, in the home of Prof. Dilip Ray; a lecture and a poetry reading in Santiniketan in January 2005; a reading in Delhi’s India International Centre in January 2005, for the launch of my latest English poetry collection, together with the three other poets whose collections were also published in the same Golden Jubilee project of Sahitya Akademi; after my return from Delhi a talk on the recurrent issues in literary translation given to the Asiatic Society of Calcutta (February 2005). During this visit I also gave a lecture at the English Department of Vivekananda College, Thakurpukur, Calcutta, out of which came the paper ‘The Practice of Bilingualism in Literary Writing: A Personal Perspective’, included in Indian Writing in English: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, ed. by Pranati Dutta Gupta and Susmita Ray, published by Vivekananda College in February 2006.
August 2004: Poetry reading at Lauderdale House, London
May 2004: Poetry reading at the Gate Library, London
January 2004: Poetry reading at Calder bookshop in London
November 2003: Poetry reading at the Stratford Library, London
July 2003: Poetry Weekend in Oxford
May 2003: ‘Meet the Author’, Bengali-Speaking Readers’ Group, Leeds
March 2003: Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival, Dulwich College, London
September 2002: Speaker at The Tagore Centre UK Scottish Branch, Glasgow
February 2002: Paper read at International Seminar (‘Globalisation of the Written Word: Translating Creative Diversity’) organized by the National Book Trust, India, during the World Book Fair in New Delhi
January/February 2002: Poetry readings in Calcutta (Seagull Bookstore and Cima Gallery) and Santiniketan (Cheena-Bhavana)
February 2002: Protima Sen Memorial Lecture 2002, Jogamaya Devi College, Calcutta
February 2002: Guest of honour, evening of poetry recitations, Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi, Calcutta
January 2002: Performances of Mozart Chocolate, produced by Pratyasha, directed by Ashok Basu, in Calcutta (Gyanmanch) and Santiniketan (Natyaghar)
A Selection of Past Poetry Readings
June 2001: Mother Tongues – A Celebration of Non-English Language Poets on Tour, Oxford
December 2000: British Academy, London
October 2000: Wessex Poetry Festival
March 2000: Oxford
February 2000: British Council, Calcutta
January 2000: Nehru Centre, London
October 1999: Trinity College, Carmarthen (National Poetry Day)
October 1999: Wessex Poetry Festival
September 1999: Lauderdale House, London
December 1998: Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut, Heidelberg
November 1998: Washington DC, & other places, USA
1997: Budhsandhya Gathering, Calcutta
Some Other Past Events
6-8 July 2001:Participation in the North American Banga-Sammelan, Lowell, USA
September-October 2000: Tour of Night’s Sunlight by Tidal Wave Theatre (directed by Gail Rosier), England and Wales
February 2000: Lecture, Calcutta University
February 2000: Talk, Calcutta Book Fair
June 1999: Paper read at Bengali Literary and Cultural Conference, Irving , Texas, USA
Autumn 1998: Lecture tour in the USA, covering Washington DC; University of Central Florida, Orlando; Indiana University at Bloomington; and Worcester State College (Mass)
July 1998: Participation in the North American Banga-Sammelan, Toronto, Canada
July 1997: Production of Raater Rode by Sangbarta in India, directed by Sunil Das
October 1994: Production of Raater Rode by Sangbarta in England, directed by Sunil Das