Award hope for Panda

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  • Published 9.07.10

Bhubaneswar, July 8: The telephone has been ringing off its hook in Manoj Kumar Panda’s house. Ever since the author’s book made it to the longlist of the 2010 Cork City — Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, friends and acquaintances from across the state haven’t stopped calling to congratulate him.

Panda’s The Bone Garden and Other Stories has been nominated for the single biggest prize for a short story collection in the world.

The award is part of a festival organised by the Munster Literature Centre. The coveted prize is named after renowned Irish author Frank O’ Connor. In the year 2008, Indian-origin US author Jhumpa Lahiri had won the prize.

Panda is known for well known for his play on words. His creativity makes an immediate impact on readers.

Of late, he has been receiving at least 20 to 30 congratulatory calls everyday. Instead of being irritated with the interruptions Panda says they are merely adding to his excitement at being long-listed for the award. “It’s wonderful to find my name listed among some of the best authors in the world,” Panda confesses.

The author’s name features among six others from India and 10 from Asia.

Talking about the 13 stories in The Bone Garden and Other Stories, Panda says each story revolves around a different protagonist.

“Almost all the stories feature a central character whose thoughts and ideas form the story,” he says. The book was published in 2009 by Rupantar, the only publishing house in the country dedicated to translating books in written in Indian languages.

Panda’s book has been translated into the English from the original in Oriya.

The book has translations made by celebrated authors like Jayanta Mahapatra.

“None of the stories in the book have conventional plots. In fact, the author has dealt courageously with few ugly aspects of society,” says translator Jatin Nayak, who is also chairman of Rupantar and editor of Panda’s collection.

Of the 57 names announced in April, the shortlist of six will be announced next week. The winner will be chosen in September and receive the award at the close of the festival in Cork. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” says Panda.