Namita Gokhale

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Namita Gokhale
Namita Gokhale
Namita Gokhale
Born26 January 1956
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
OccupationWriter, Publisher, Festival Director
NationalityIndian
Period1956 – present
SubjectIndian Literature, World Literature, Publishing
Website
www.namitagokhale.in www.yatrabooks.com www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

Namita Gokhale (born 26 January 1956) is an Indian writer, publisher and festival director, and the author of twenty books including ten works of fiction. Her recent novel Jaipur Journals was set against the backdrop of the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival, of which Gokhale is a founder-director. Her forthcoming books include Betrayed by Hope: A Play on the Life of Michael Madhusudan Dutt and a new novel The Blind Matriarch.

Namita Gokhale was conferred the Centenary National Award for Literature by the Assam Sahitya Sabha "for her literary contributions as well as her service to the nation in supporting and showcasing literary talents and creating a literary environment in the country".

Early life[edit]

Gokhale was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in 1956 and spent her childhood between New Delhi and Nainital, places that have influenced much of her work. She dropped out of college after a conflict over the bias against Indian literatures in the curriculum.

Writing[edit]

Namita Gokhale’s debut novel Paro: Dreams of Passion created a furore due to its frank sexual humour. The new double edition Double Bill: Priya and Paro takes Paro and Priya to new readers and old. Her recent novel Jaipur Journals is set against the backdrop of the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival.

Her forthcoming books include Betrayed by Hope: A Play on the Life of Michael Madhusudan Dutt and a new novel The Blind Matriarch.

Her novel Gods, Graves and Grandmother was adapted into a musical play. Experiences of illness and loss informed her later books A Himalayan Love Story, The Book of Shadows and Shakuntala, the Play of Memory.

Her books of non-fiction include The Book of Shiva, an introduction to Shaivite philosophy. The anthology In Search of Sita – Revisiting Mythology, co-edited with Dr. Malashri Lal, presents interpretations of the goddess and her impact on the lives of Indian women. As a sequel to this anthology, Finding Radha: The Quest for Love, is collection of poetry and translation that enter the historical dimensions of Radha.

Mountain Echoes, a book of oral biography, explores the Kumaoni way of life through the eyes of four individualistic women. Gokhale edited Travelling In, Travelling Out, an anthology of travel pieces, as well as Himalaya: Adventures, Meditations. Life, co-edited with Ruskin Bond, bringing together a range of voices that spans the entire region. With over thirty contributors, The Himalayan Arc: Journeys East of South-east describes the sense of shared lives and cultural connectivity in the Himalayan citizens.

The Himalayan Trilogy, comprising A Himalayan Love Story and The Book of Shadows, continues with Things to Leave Behind. The novel received the Sushila Devi Literature Award as well as the Best Fiction (English) Jury Award at the Valley of Words International Literature Festival 2017 and is on the long list for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

In Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions, a book for young readers, Chintamani Dev Gupta is transported via a wormhole to the days of the Mahabharata. The Puffin Mahabharata, a retelling of the Mahabhrata for young readers, is a classic in the genre.

Gokhale has contributed an introduction to a biography of Ra'na Liaqat Ali Khan--The Begum, a portrayal of a passionate stateswoman and wife of Liaquat Ali Khan.

Namita Gokhale was conferred the Centenary National Award for Literature by the Assam Sahitya Sabha "for her literary contributions as well as her service to the nation in supporting and showcasing literary talents and creating a literary environment in the country".


Publishing[edit]

Gokhale published the iconic film magazine Super in Bombay from 1976-1982.

She is the founder-director of Yatra Books, established in 2005 with Neeta Gupta, a multilingual publishing company specialising in creative writing and translations in English, Hindi and Indian regional languages.


Literary Festivals[edit]

Namita Gokhale is a founder-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival along with William Dalrymple. Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Festival is produced by Teamwork Arts and Sanjoy K. Roy.

JLF international editions include those at The British Library, London, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Houston , Boulder Colorado, New York and Toronto in North America, Adelaide in Australia and Doha in Qatar.

The highly successful digital platform ‘JLF Brave New World’, launched during the pandemic, has become one of the most viewed virtual literary events anywhere.

Namita Gokhale was a founder-director a 'Mountain Echoes', a literary festival in Bhutan. She conceptualised the 'International Festival of Indian Literature-Neemrana' 2002, and 'The Africa Asia Literary Conference', 2006. Gokhale also advises The Himalayan Echo Kumaon Festival for Arts and Literature or the Abbotsford Literary Weekend.


Other Literary Projects[edit]

Namita Gokhale has curated over a hundred episodes of 'Kitaabnama: Books and Beyond', a multilingual book-show broadcast on Indian's national broadcaster Doordarshan.

She served as member-secretary of Indian Literature Abroad (ILA), to translate and promote contemporary literature from the Indian languages into the major international languages.

Bibliography[edit]

Fiction

Paro: Dreams of Passion, 1984

Gods, Graves, and Grandmother, 1994

A Himalayan Love Story, 1996

The Book of Shadows, 1999

Shakuntala: The Play of Memory, 2005

Priya: In Incredible Indyaa, 2011

The Habit of Love, 2012

Things to Leave Behind, 2016

Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions, 2017

Betrayed by Hope : A Play on the Life of Michael Madhusudan Dutt (co-authored with Malashri Lal), 2020

The Blind Matriarch, to be published in 2021


Non-fiction

Mountain Echoes – Reminiscences of Kumaoni Women, 1994

The Book of Shiva, 2000

The Puffin Mahabharata, 2009

In Search of Sita(co-edited with Malashri Lal), 2009

Travelling In, Travelling Out (edited), 2014

Himalaya: Adventures, Meditations, Life(co-edited with Ruskin Bond), 2016

The Himalayan Arc: Journeys East of South-east(edited), 2018

Finding Radha: The Quest for Love, 2018

See also[edit]