The Indo-Swedish Translation Project started as a result of visits by Swedish writers to India in 1996 and Indian writers to Sweden in 1997. The project, initiated and managed by a working committee affiliated to the Swedish Writers´ Union, is economically supported by Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and the Swedish Institute. It includes close contacts with Sahitya Akademi, the Indian literary academy, as well as other Indian literary institutions, organizations and publishing houses, like Katha.
The aim of the project is to propagate knowledge and understanding of Indian culture in Sweden by translating and publishing modern Indian fiction and other books - and vice versa. A basic idea is that the translation work should be made in the country of origin of the book, in close cooperation between Indian and Swedish translators, so that the translators will be able to meet colleagues, get in contact with the writer and learn more about the culture in which the story of the book is set.
The plans for the project span several years and include translation of a number of books of different literary genres. In Sweden the books will be published as a series: Indiska biblioteket/Indian Library.
The first three books in Swedish translation appeared in september 2001. U R Ananthamurthy´s novel Samskara - Rites for a Dead Man (Samskara - Rit för en död man), translated from Kannada by Vanamala Vishwanatha and Hans O Sjöström, appeared on Ordfront.
Tranan, another Swedish publisher, dedicated to literature from the third world, published Krishna Sobti´s novel Ai Ladkhi (Lyssna min dotter) , translated from hindi by Annika Persson in cooperation with Chandra Ramakrishnan.
Left: "Ai Ladki", Krishna Sobti's novel, the Hindi original.Middle: Ms Sobti herself (photo by Birgitta Wallin). Right: The Swedish translation "Lyssna min dotter" (Tranan).
Tranan is also publishing an anthology of Indian short stories (from several different Indian languages), edited by Birgitta Wallin and Tomas Löfström: Kärlek, uppror och kardemummakärnor (Love, Rebellion and Cardamom Seeds).
During summer 2001 two Indian translators - Vanamala Vishwanatha and Smita Bharti - visited Sweden working together with Swedish colleagues Hans O Sjöström and Ulla Roseen on translations of two Swedish novels, Torgny Lindgren's Ormens väg på hälleberget (The Way of the Serpent) and Kerstin Ekman's Händelser vid vatten (Blackwater).
The Kannada translation of Torgny Lindgren's book Haavina Donku was released in August 2002 in Bangalore, at an event called "Sweekar: A Swedish Evening in Karnataka", with speeches by the Swedish Ambassador to India Mr Johan Nordenfelt, the Sahitya Akademi secretary K Satchidanandan, the novelist U R Anantha Murthy and other distinguished persons in the cultural field. Also, readings from the book, in Kannada and Swedish, were performed by the translator Ms Vanamala Vishwanatha, and Swedish writer Zac O'Yeah. The Kannada translation of Torgny Lindgren's book is published by Sahitya Akademi.
The new book series Indian Library was formally inaugurated at the Swedish Book Fair in Gothenburg in September 2001 by the Indian Ambassador to Stockholm Ms Chitra Narayanan. Mr Carl Tham, former minister in the Swedish government and general director of the Olof Palme International Center, made a speech. Also present were the Indian writers Mr U R Anantha Murthy and Ms Krishna Sobti, as well as the poet Ms Teji Grover. (See detailed programme schedule for the Indian writers visit to Sweden September 2001!)
Inauguration of Indian Library at the Gothenburg Book Fair, september 2001. From left: Ms Chitra Narayanan, Indian Ambassador to Sweden, and writers U R Anantha Murthy, Teji Grover och Krishna Sobti. (Photo by Tomas Löfström.)
Teji Grover has translated a choice of Swedish poets into Hindi, working together with the Swedish writer Lars Andersson. The collection was published by Vani Prakashan in New Delhi in August 2001. The title is Barf ki Kushbo (The Fragrance of Snow).
In January 2002 the Indo-Swedish Translation Project was introduced to the Indian public by the Swedish Ambassador to India Mr Johan Nordenfelt at a special function during the International Book Fair in New Delhi.
In February 2002 Sandhya Rao from Chennai spent almost a month in Blekinge in southern Sweden translating Astrid Lindgren's famous children's book Pippi Longstocking into Hindi. The translation was carried out in collaboration with Meta Ottosson. The Pippi-book, its Hindi title being Pippi Lambemoze, was published by Tulika Publishers in Chennai in April 2004.
Read more about Pippi Lambemoze!
Translators at Writers' Union, Stockholm, February 2002: Karin Nyman (daughter of Astrid Lindgren), Meta Ottosson, Sandhya Rao and Tomas Löfström.
The Hindi translation of Kerstin Ekman's 400 page novel Blackwater, published by Katha, was released at the Katha Utsav festival of literature in New Delhi in January 2004.
In the autumn of 2004 two Indian translators, Akhilesh Verma and Teji Grover, visited Sweden to work on translations into Hindi of Agneta Pleijels famous novel Dog Star and Lars Lundkvists collection of poetry Tove Olga Aurora. The translations were made in collaboration with respectively Lars Andersson and Birgitta Wallin. Dog Star was published by Vani Prakashan in February 2005 with the Hindi title "Kukur Nakshatra".
On February 2-5 2005 the Indo-Swedish Translation Project arranged a
conference of literature and translation in Bangalore titled Sambandh:
Relating Distant Worlds.
The conference was inaugurated by the Swedish ambassador to India, Inga Eriksson-Fogh. Approximately fifty Indian and Swedish writers, translators and publishers presented papers and discussed questions of literature and the task of translating books between distant cultures and languages.
Among the participants were the famous Kannada writer U R Anantha Murthy, the Malayalam poet, and secretary of Sahitya Akademi, K Satchidanandan, Anita Agnihotri, social activist writing prose and non-fiction in Bengali, and the young short story writer in Kannada Jayant Kaikini. Swedish participants included novelists Agneta Pleijel, Stewe Claeson and Lars Andersson and poets Arne Johnsson and Asa Ericsdotter.
During the conference there were two public events, a reading of poetry and prose in original and translation by some fifteen writers, and a preview of a new theatre production directed by Prasanna, Cupid's Broken Arrow, based on texts by August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen and Rabindranath Tagore.
More information about the conference in Bangalore:
Relating distant worlds. Words of welcome.
Participants list with short biographies.
Indo-Swedish Translation Project: The translated books.
On behalf of the playwrights. Introduction to the theatre play.
The information ABOUT THE INDO-SWEDISH TRANSLATION PROJECT GIVEN above is, regrettably, not very complete and anyhow not very up to date. Several more books have been translated and published BY OUR PROJECT in both India and Sweden during the years 2006-2010. We hope to be able to edit and update this page in the near future. So, please have patience. Or if you need urgent info, contact us at email addresses below.
Coordinators of the Indo-Swedish Translation Project and Indian Library in Sweden have been Tomas Löfström, writer, Birgitta Wallin, editor of Karavan, a literary magazine, and (at the early stage) Zac O´Yeah, writer, now living in Bangalore.