Santosh Alex completed his Bachelors in Education from M.G. University , Kerala later pursued M.A. Hindi from Cochin University of Science &Technology, Kerala. He also holds a PH.d in Poetry from VIT University, Katpadi. He is currently working as Hindi Officer in a Research Institute named Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin. He achieved the following awards
- Pandit Narayan Dev Puraskaar, 2004
- Dwivageesh Puraskaar (National Translation Award ) , 2008-09
- Asian Admirable Achiever , 2013
- Thalashery Raghavan Memorial Malayalam Poetry Award – 2014
- Srijanlok Young Hindi Poetry Award- 2015
Let us know more about his writing:
What inspired you to start writing?
I used to read Malayalam and Hindi literature during my college days especially when I was doing my graduation. I always loved poetry and even used to read the books of poets not prescribed for the graduation course , poets like Jayashankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant, Mahadevi varma etc. While I was in the second year of my graduation I started writing poems in Hindi.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
While I was a boy, like others I read Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, Famous Five , Secret Seven etc which we took it from our School Library.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
It depends on what you choose for writing ,be it fiction or poetry. Fiction is comparatively easy. One needs to have a theme or a plot and expand these with the characters developed , may be based on true life or imagination.
But when it comes to poetry , the same cannot be applied. A poet needs to have his say with a minimum number of words and within a small space. Also it should be communicable.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
Research also, like I have said mostly applies to fiction, provided one is planning to write novels on themes from the Mahakavyas or something that has historical perspective. The author has to be clear on the historical aspects presented in the novel, for this the author needs to do good research.
What motivated you to write the book “Women Poets of Kerala New Voices: Selected and Translated from Malayalam”?
Like I said poetry always fascinated me. I read literature in English, Hindi and Malayalam and I translate in these languages to and fro. I understood that there are translations from Malayalam to English , but it has not been anthologized, especially the Young Poets. Hence I thought to translate young Malayalam woman poets into English and bring it out as an Anthology.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Women Poets of Kerala New Voices: Selected and Translated from Malayalam”?
Women Poets of Kerala New Voices took me two years to complete. I was doubtful of finding a publisher when I started off with the work. The most difficult part was to choose the young women poets. The number of poets are increasing in every language, so the case was no different in Malayalam. The challenge was to read their poetry in print and in blogs. The greatest challenge was to find good poets. Blogs don’t have a screening ,hence all materials posted on blogs are not of good standard.
Once I finalized the poets,I searched for their poetry collection in print. Some were out of print and some poets were living abroad. I mailed them for the poems. Once the planned list of poets and their poems were ready,I started translating them.
How did you come up with the idea of writing Poetry Anthology genre book?
The idea was to introduce young poets from Malayalam language to the English readers. Hence planned the Poetry Anthology.
Who are your favourite authors?
As I read, write and speak in three languages viz English,Hindi and Malayalam, I cannot specifically speak of favourite authors as such. But there are some of them whom have inspired me like Poet K. Satchidanandan in Malayalam , Kedarnath Singh, Devthale, Bhagawat Rawat in Hindi, Jayant Mahapatra, Shiv .K.Kumar and Kamala Das in English.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
I write or translate depending on my mood. Both the activities need calm atmosphere and patience. Yet I try to have a time period to complete my work. Sometimes I write till late night, when my family is asleep. May be at other times I spend time in reading the draft.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
The only suggestion that I can make to the aspiring writers are, be honest in your writing and wait for the appropriate time to deliver.
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