Since its formation in 2001 the Tamil Literary Garden, a registered charity, has been committed to the promotion of studies and literary activities in Tamil, both nationally, in Canada, and internationally.
This mandate is carried out through the promotion of creative writing, translations, book releases, awards, conferences, and workshops. The organization’s annual marquee event is the Tamil Literary Garden Awards – which celebrates preeminent contributions to Tamil literature each year from around the world.
In a matter of a few weeks the TLG will be officially launching their most ambitious project – “In Our Translated World”, a compilation of poems written in Tamil hailing from locales around the world where Tamils have settled over the last several decades. The poets, whose works are shared in the text, are described as being “women and men, young and old, Hindu, Muslim and Christian”, attesting to the diverse experiences being shared, even in instances where physical trajectories remain the same.
The project is unique and exciting as it brings together these poems in bilingual format (Tamil and English), enabling a larger audience to access the works and enjoy them in two different languages.
Written over the last three decades, the 80 poems are described as depicting the struggle between modernity and tradition, from Malaysia to Singapore, Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka, to the far flung nations that Tamils have migrated to.
One of the founding members of the TLG, Mr. Appadurai Muttulingam, shared with TC that this collection is meant to take after the tradition of the ancient Sangam text, Ainkurunuru. Ainkurunuru featured a compilation of poems set in the five different landscapes of the “Tamil world” at the time it was written, about two thousand years ago. “In Our Translated World” in effect attempts to share narratives of a sixth type of landscape, that which is immersed in snow, where those who speak Tamil have migrated since.
The project was made possible by a generous grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario and Canada’s leading grant-maker. Having successfully shown the merits of such a project through the application process, the TLG was able to secure the funding they needed to publish “In Our Translated World”, after bringing together a committee which assessed over 500 poems.
The translations of Ms. Anushiya Ramaswamy, Ms. Maithili Thayanithy and Mr. M.L. Thangappa, based in three different countries themselves, were edited and given context through the efforts of Professor Chelva Kanaganayakam, of the University of Toronto. The collection is as a result rich, and deeply rooted. Even if you’re completely unfamiliar with Tamil, you’ll find yourself immersed in the writing.
If you are interested in learning more about the event on March 9th or the Tamil Literary Garden, please e-mail [email protected]