A Symposium on Dalit Literature

An International symposium at the University of Leicester, Centre for New Writing
June 25, 2014

Local organiser: Corinne Fowler

An AHRC-funded event hosted by Leicester University’s Centre for New Writing in partnership with the Centre for Postcolonial Studies at Nottingham Trent University and EMMA, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France.
After the conference ‘Contemporary Approaches to the Analysis of Dalit Literature’ on 23-24 June 2014, this was the second event of the AHRC funded Research Network series, ‘Writing, Analysing, Translating Dalit Literature’.

This symposium celebrated Indian literature produced by dalits (formerly referred to as Untouchables), a body of literature that was innovative and revolutionary in both form and content. The writer Ajay Navaria, the scholar and activist K. Satyanarayana and the translator and scholar of Dalit Literature Laura Brueck were in conversation with Corinne Fowler, Judith Misrahi-Barak and Nicole Thiara. This event offered the unique opportunity to hear Ajay Navaria read from his work for the first time in the UK. K. Satyanarayana offered an introduction to the field of dalit literature and discuss the significance of South Indian dalit literature.
Ajay Navaria was born in Delhi in 1972 and is the author of two collections of short stories, Pathkatha aur anya kahaniyan (2006) and Yes, Sir (2012). Unclaimed Terrain (2013) is a collection of his short stories translated into English by Laura Brueck. He is also the author of a novel Udhar ke log (2008). He has been associated with the premier Hindi literary journal, Hans, editing the Special Issue on youth creativity, and co-editing another one on dalit issues. Besides winning many literary prizes and awards, he delivered lectures at national and international conferences, and was invited at the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2010 and 2013. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Hindi, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi.
K. Satyanarayana is Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies, English and Foreign Languages University (EFL-U), Hyderabad. Active in the student movement during the 1990s, he was founder-general secretary of ‘Kula Nirmoolana Porata Samiti’ (Forum for Caste Annihilation). He also edited the little magazine Kulanirmoolana. His research interests are in the fields of Cultural studies, Dalit literature and Literary history. He is co-editor of two dossiers of South Indian Dalit Writing: No Alphabet in Sight (2011) and Steel Nibs Are Sprouting (2013).
Laura Brueck is Associate Professor of Hindi Literature at Northwestern University, USA. Her most recent book, Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of Contemporary Dalit Literature (Columbia University Press, 2014), focuses on the literary politics of the contemporary Hindi dalit literary sphere and the aesthetics of the Hindi dalit short story. She has also published a collection of English translations of Ajay Navaria’s Hindi short stories titled Unclaimed Terrain: Stories by Ajay Navaria (Navayana, 2012).

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