Prof. Emeritus Narayan Hegde, Ph.D., Receives NEA Literature Translation Fellowship

Portrait of Dr. Hegde

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced that Dr. Narayan Hegde will receive an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship. A professor emeritus of English at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, Dr. Hegde is one of 22 Literature Translation Fellows for fiscal year 2018. In total, the NEA is recommending $300,000 in grants this round to support the new translation of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry from 15 different languages into English.

As an NEA Literature Translation Fellow, Dr. Hegde will be translating from the Kannada the novel “Avasthe” by Indian writer U. R. Ananthamurthy. First published in 1978 and made into a feature film in India, “Avasthe” is the third novel in a trilogy that chronicles the social and political changes in India immediately after the country's independence from colonial rule. While the other two books in the trilogy are available in English translations, “Avasthe” remains virtually unknown outside southern India.

Kannada is a major language of India, spoken by roughly 60 million people in the state of Karnataka. Ananthamurthy (1932-2014) is one of the most celebrated writers of contemporary India. He was one of the pioneers of the Navya (Modernist) movement in Kannada literature. His published work includes four novels, several short story collections, collections of poems, books of essays, and a play. He was the President of the Sahitya Akademi (the Indian National Academy of Letters), the Chairman of the National Book Trust, and the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary honor. He was a finalist for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction. His recent passing caused a wave of grief across Karnataka where he received a full state funeral covered by major media.

Dr. Hegde retired from full-time teaching at SUNY Old Westbury in January 2017 after 36 years as a member of the College’s faculty, where he taught English, Indian, and World Literatures. As a Senior Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies, he has translated several works of Kannada literature, including Stallion of the Sun and Other Stories by U. R. Ananthamurthy, Annayya's Anthropology by A. K. Ramanujan, and a 19th-century drama, The Marriage Farce of Iggappa Hegade. He is a recipient of the Katha Translation Award. He is currently part of a team translating the 15th century Kannada epic Kumaravyasa Bharatha for publication by Harvard University Press in its Murty Classical Library of India series.

 “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to provide crucial funding to support these translators in their creative endeavors and to continue expanding the range of ideas and viewpoints available to readers,” said Amy Stolls, NEA director of literature.

Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 455 fellowships to 404 translators, with translations representing 69 languages and 82 countries. The review criteria for these projects consist not only of the translators’ skill, but also the importance of a particular work of international literature to English-speaking audiences, including those authors and languages that are often underrepresented. The full list of FY 2018 NEA Literature Translation Fellows is available here.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

###