Editorial – 2013

There may have been discords and unpleasantness among the Northeast states in recent years, but that is in the political scenario. Literature knows no boundaries. The Northeast Writers’ Forum is-a testimony to this. The Forum that has members from all over the eight states — Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam, is unique in the sense that it is perhaps the only forum that binds together writers writing in English from this region and thereby linking the states together celebrating the varied literature and culture that comprise each state.

Several events were held by the chapters of our Forum in the different states. 2012-2013 saw “Ensemble” on September 28 and 29, 2012 at Shillong, “Hill Talk” organised by the Mizoram chapter at Aizawl on January 9 and 10, 2013, and “Converse” at Gangtok on April 29 and 20, 2013. As Mitra Phukan said, “These were well attended affairs, the seriousness of their purpose and deliberation punctuated by great good humour, which facilitated the literary discourses very beautifully.”

The All Assam Book Sellers and Publishers Association gave the Forum a slot at the 2012 and 2013 Northeast Book Fairs to discuss and debate on the writings in English. Besides, there has been a lot of discussion and write-ups on the Forum. It reveals the acceptance and esteem which writings in English have been bestowed with in this part of the country.

The Forum has also held functions for book release of several of our members and non-members. On the 15th of June , 2013, the Guwahati chapter felicitated Aruni Kashyap , author of A house with a Thousand Stories as well as author, Partho Sarma and Anand Arora , a young sport journalist from Delhi. On the 26th of July , 2013, members at Guwahati felicitated Forum’s Advisor and former President, Sri Arup Kumar Dutta for receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children, New Delhi and the Indian Chapter of the international Publishers on Books for young People for his contribution to children’s literature. We also felicitated Rashmi Narzary, for her book and Somnath Battapayal for his book The Price You Pay. On the 26th of November, 2013, we felicitated, in collaboration with Harper Collin, Kaushik Barua’s novel, Wind Horse.

The primary endeavours of Northeast Writers’ Forum were to have reading sessions in each chapter of the states, translate works from regional language to English, holding literary meets and our AGM in the different states to know our writers better and also to celebrate our achievements and contributions in our own way to the literary world. And as Dhruba Hazarika points out, “Year after year our members have stuck together despite our individual eccentricities, despite poor finances, despite deep personal crises at home and office; despite being branded as elitist by literary groups that cannot think beyond their own linguistic umbrella.”

The Forum has completed seventeen years and these years have been very fruitful in encouraging new writings in English and getting them published. Our journal ‘NEWFrontiers’, which we try to bring out every year, is the platform of our members to reach out to the literary world and let them all know we exist in the beautiful region that has been coined as ‘Northeast’.

Srutimala Duara

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