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Poorna Swami’s ‘Palestinian’ wins Jawad Memorial Urdu-English Translation Prize

Poorna Swami’s ‘Palestinian’ wins Jawad Memorial Urdu-English Translation Prize

The 2023 Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English Translation has crowned Poorna Swami as the winner for her translation of Fehmida Riaz's ‘Falasteeni’ titled ‘Palestinian’.

Departing from its traditional focus on fiction, this year's theme centred around "freedom" as interpreted through the lens of poetry.

Poorna Swami, hailing from Bangalore and renowned as a writer and choreographer, demonstrated an exquisite balance in translating the essence of 'Palestinian.' The jury praised her for maintaining fidelity to the source material while infusing her translation with a distinct poetic sensibility.

Meanwhile, the runner-up position was claimed by Mohd Aqib for his translation of Ahmed Nadim Qasmi's "Pabandi," titled "Prohibition." The jury commended Aqib's effective communication of the poem's resistance against censorship and prohibition.

Poorna Swami, previously the India editor-at-large for Asymptote, has now embarked on a doctoral journey at Harvard University's Department of South Asian Studies. Her focus lies in delving into 20th-century Urdu and Hindi literature.

Mohd Aqib, a PhD candidate at the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, is exploring the "Aesthetics of Bilingualism" in English self-translations of post-Partition Urdu novels.

Aqib's portfolio boasts translations from Urdu to English, contributions to Urdu ghazals, and co-authored chapters investigating digital technology's impact on Indian poetics. The transition to a poetry-centric theme and the exemplary translations mark a significant chapter in the Jawad Memorial Prize's legacy.

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