Ashapurna Debi

Prominent Bengali novelist, short story writer and poet, Ashapurna Debi was one of the first women writers to claim a position in a literary canon, otherwise, dominated by the standards set by male writers. Born on 8 January 1909, her childhood was spent within the confines of a conservative household. Married 15 to Kalidas Gupta, she lived in the times of social and political restlessness.

In her career spanning 70 years, Ashapurna wrote extensively about the private lives of her characters within middle-class Bengali households. Best remembered for her magnum opus, the trilogy, Prathom Protishruti, Subarnolata and Bakul Katha, she published her first poem in a children’s magazine at the age of 13.

Ashapurna was felicitated with the Jnanpith Award and the Padma Shri, thereafter, in 1976. She breathed her last on 13 July 1995.

Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and non-fiction into English. More than forty of his translations have been published so far. Twice the winner of the Crossword translation award, for Sankar’s Chowringhee (2007) and Anita Agnihotri’s Seventeen (2011), respectively and the winner of the Muse India translation award (2013) for Buddhadeva Bose’s When the Time Is Right, he has also been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize (2009) for his translation of Chowringhee. Besides India, his translations have been published in the UK and the US in English and in several European and Asian countries through further translation.

He was born and grew up in Kolkata and lives and writes in New Delhi.