Debjani Chatterjee

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Debjani Chatterjee
Born21 November 1952
Occupationpoet, editor, writer and translator
EducationBA (High Hons), MA (English and American Literature), MA (Arts Psychotherapy Practice), PGCE and PhD
Alma materAmerican University in Cairo, University of Kent at Canterbury, University of Lancaster, Leeds Beckett University
Notable worksI was that woman, Namaskar, The Elephant-headed God and other Hindu tales, The most Beautiful child, Redbeck Anthology of British South-Asian Poetry, Who cares:Reminiscences of Yemeni carers, Barbed lines, Mango Shake
Notable awardsMBE
SpouseBrian D'Arcy

Debjani Chatterjee MBE (born 21 November ) is an Indian-born British poet and writer. She was born in Delhi and now lives in Sheffield, England. She has lived in India, Japan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Egypt, and Morocco, before coming to Britain in 1972. She attended seven schools and four universities, receiving a BA from the American University in Cairo,Egypt, MA degrees from the University of Kent at Canterbury and Leeds Beckett University, and a PhD from Lancaster University, as well as a PGCE and honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University.

She has written, translated, or edited more than 65 books, starting with the poetry collection I Was That Woman in 1989. She has won a number of prizes, including the Peterloo Poets Prize, and her book The Elephant-Headed God and Other Hindu Tales was selected for Children's Books of the Year in 1990.

In August 2010 Chatterjee contributed to an eBook collection of political poems entitled Emergency Verse - Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State edited by Alan Morrison.[1]

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours and was an Olympic Torchbearer in 2012.

Selected publications[edit]

Poetry collections[edit]

I was that woman

Albino Gecko

Animal Antics[2]

Namaskar : New and selected poems

Words spit and splinter

Do you hear the storm sing?

Poetry anthologies[edit]

Rainbow world : Poems from many cultures

Masala : Poems from India,Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

The Redbeck Anthology of British South-Asian Poetry

Let's celebrate! Poems about festivals from around the world (ed. with Brian D'Arcy)

Let's play! Poems about games and sports from around the world (ed. with Brian D'Arcy)


Who cares? Reminiscences of Yemeni carers

Mango Shake


Album by Uma Prasad Mukherjee (trans. with Tara Chatterjee)

Existence (Ostittwo) by Sanjay Bhattacharyya

Deep Dark Sigh (Dhushor dirgho'shaash) by Sanjay Bhattacharyya

Awards and prizes[edit]

2016 - Word Masala Excellence in Poetry Award

2015 - Word Masala Lifetime Achievement in Poetry

2014 onwards - Royal Literary Fund Associate Fellow

2012, 2013, 2014 - Royal Literary Fellowship at Leeds Trinity University

2012 - Olympic Torchbearer in Sheffield (in the Arts & Culture category)

2011 - Paper Tigers chose Let's Celebrate! Festival Poems... as Book of the Month

2009 - 1st Prize in Muse India Poetry Translation Competition with poems & songs by Kazi Nazrul Islam

2008 - Runner-up in Muse India Short Story Competition

2008 - MBE for 'services to Literature' in the Queen's New Year Honours

17 March 2008 - Irish Community Recognition & Honour Award from Sheffield Irish Society

2007 - Mango Shake selected Book of the Birmingham Festival

2006-2009 - Royal Literary Fellowship at York St John University

2004 - Rainbow World selected as EMMA (Ethnic & Multicultural Media Award) Finalist

2006 - Honorary Life Membership & Certificate from Nasir Kazmi Society, Lahore, for fulfilling the Society's aims & especially for her work in editing and translating Generations of Ghazals: Ghazals by Nasir Kazmi & Basir Sultan Kazmi

21 Nov. 2002 - Honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University for 'outstanding contribution to Literature, the Arts & Community Service'

2000 - Raymond Williams Runner-up Prize for The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry

1999 - 'Khitish' shortlisted by Matthew Sweeney as one of the best poems published by Crocus in Manchester

1997 - 'Fifty Years Late' selected Poem of the Month by the Poetry Society

1995 - Arts Council 'Women in the Arts Travel Award'

1995 - Yorkshire & Humberside Arts Writer's Award for poetry

1994 - Bengali Women's Support Group won a National Adult Learners' Group Award for their contribution to the Sahitya Press anthology Sweet & Sour / Omlo Modhur

1992 - 2nd Prize for 'Visiting E M Forster' in the Southport Writers Circle Open Poetry Competition

1992 - 'Invitation to the Party' won Special Mention in the Ripley Poetry Competition

1992 - 'Words Between Us' Highly Commended in the Bournmouth International Festival Poetry Competition

1992 - 'Koinobori' Commended in the English Explorer Magazine National Poetry Competition

1990 - First Prize for Barbed Lines / Katar Rekha in the Raymond Williams Community Publishing Competition

1990 - The Elephant-Headed God & Other Hindu Tales selected for Children's Books of the Year

1989 - Lancaster Litfest Poetry Prize for 'The Elephant'

1989 - Peterloo Poets Prize for 'The Parrot Fortune-Teller' & 'To the English Language'

1989 - 'Two-faced' (short story) shortlisted for Artrage Literature Awards

1989 - 'Paolozzi's Magic Kingdom' (poem) shortlisted for Artrage Literature Awards

1968 - Shankar's International Children's Prize for Poetry


June 2010 - Finalist for the Lesley Pearse Woman of Courage Award, Penguin Books

17 March 2009 - Irish Festival Certificate for 'outstanding contribution to the Irish community & Irish festivals', from Sheffield Irish Society

1976 - Senate Studentship at the University of Lancaster

1969, 1971, 1972 - President's Scholarship, American University in Cairo

1968, 1970 - Full Tuition Scholarship, American University in Cairo

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The Recusant eZine
  2. ^ "Pennine Pens: Animal Antics". Retrieved 2017-11-17.