(This event is in early May, but I may not have enough time to send out the mailers before that because I will be back from the US just then.)
Speaker: Prof Dr MA Quayum
(of the International Islamic University Malaysia)
Venue: Silverfish Books, 28-1, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru, 59100
Date and Time: Saturday, 3 May, 2014 at 5.30 pm
Admission is free.
The book, The Ruined Nest and other stories was planned to
be released in 2013, 100 years after Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1913. But Prof Quayum, the perfectionist
that he is, decided it would be better to publish a good book late
than rush one out that we're not fully satisfied. This is in full
agreement with the ethos of Silverfish Books. The date for the book
event was not picked accidentally, as the 153rd anniversary of
Tagore's birthday would fall on 7 May, 2014.
After reading just one of the 20 short stories (the title story is
actually a novella), we were convinced that this was not the work of
a journeyman translator but by a master and a lifelong scholar of
the works of Rabindranath Tagore. Add this to the fact that Prof
Quayum is a native Bengali speaker and a professor of English, and
we have a work that can only be described as beautiful. Although
universally acknowledged for his poems, and dubbed gurudev
(master teacher), kabiguru (master poet) and bishwaskabi
(world poet), Tagore was a master of the short story form in
Bengali, having written 95 and compared favourably to Anton Chekhov
and Guy de Maupassant.
Praise for Prof Quayum from The Daily Star, Bangladesh.
(There are literally dozens of them, but this is one we like).
In any translation it is very difficult to keep intact the sense of
each context. Quayum’s translation is as close as one can get:
clear, contemporary and accessible to a modern English-reading
global audience. It is not handicapped by the ignorance of the
translator of certain delicate nuances of the Bengali language,
especially in the context of intimate household expressions. There
is commendable fidelity and honesty in Quayum’s translation. It once
again opens up the possibility of discovering a relevance of
Tagore's creations more than a century after they were composed….
Without hesitation I recommend Professor Quayum’s volume as an
authoritative and eminently readable translation, an essential
Tagore for collectors. It should find a place on every discerning
About the author
Mohammad A. Quayum is professor of English at International Islamic
University Malaysia, and Adjunct of Professor in the School of
Humanities, at Flinders University, Australia. He has previously
taught at universities in Bangladesh, Singapore and the United
States. Quayum is the author, editor or translator of 27 books far
too numerous to be listed here. His essays on American and
Postcolonial Literatures have appeared in prominent literary
journals in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South
Africa, Taiwan, the UK and the USA. Quayum is a leading literary
scholar in South and Southeast Asia. He is the Founding Editor and
Editor-in-Chief of Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and
Literature, and is on the Advisory Board of several distinguished
literary journal around the world.