Mamilla International Poetry Festival Selection Panel Biographies
ARCH is pleased to announce the first three members of the Mamilla International Poetry Festival’s panel are as follows:
Delhi-born, Debjani Chatterjee was educated in India, Japan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Egypt and England. She received a BA from the University of Kent and a PhD from Lancaster University.
An award-winning poet, translator and children’s writer, she has published over 60 books. These include Namaskar: New and Selected Poems and Animal Antics that was recommended by Andrew Motion as a “beguiling and heartening book.”
She has edited numerous anthologies, among them: Let’s Celebrate! Festival Poems from Around the World, Masala, Rainbow World, A Slice of Sheffield and Generations of Ghazals. The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry has been described as recording “a seismic shift in British culture.” Debjani has also edited bilingual oral history and translated many works from South Asian languages. Her own books have been translated into French, Portuguese, Welsh, Bengali, Urdu, Arabic, Somali and Cantonese.
Debjani was formerly an Arts Council Literature Adviser and Translations Panel Chair, Chair of the National Association of Writers in Education. She is Patron of Survivors’ Poetry and founder of Sahitya Press and The Healing Word.
She has received many literary prizes, including the Peterloo Poets Prize; The Elephant-Headed God and Other Hindu Tales was selected for Children’s Books of the Year in 1990. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in 2002. In 2008 she received an MBE for services to literature and was selected in 2012 as an Olympic Torchbearer in the Arts and Culture category.
A poet, editor, former literary publisher, Seamus Cashman taught in Tanzania and in Ireland before joining Irish University Press as editor. In 1974, he founded Wolfhound Press which he developed into a leading literary and cultural publishing house, remaining publisher there until 2001.
His most recent poetry collection That Morning will Come: new and selected poems (2007) includes ‘Secrets’, poem responses to issues of justice in Palestine. Previous poetry books include Carnival (1988); Clowns & Acrobats (2000), and established children’s anthologies, Irish Poems for Young People, and the award winning Something Beginning with P: new poems from Irish poets. Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2014 is a 256 verse book-length poem.
Cashman also works as an independent editorial advisor and creative writing facilitator. He was appointed their first International Fellow by The Black Earth Institute, the US based writers and scholars think-tank, and recently edited an issue of the literary online About Place Journal, entitled Peaks & Valleys. He is a former chairman of Children’s Books Ireland. He lives in Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland.
Yusef Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989 (1994), for which he also received the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
His seventeen books of poetry include Taboo, Dien Cai Dau, Warhorses, and most recently The Chameleon Couch and Testimony. His plays, performance art and libretti have been performed internationally and include Saturnalia, Testimony, and Gilgamesh, a verse play.
His many honors include the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes, the Hanes Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award, as well as fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
From 1999 to 2005 he served as a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is currently a Senior Poet and the Global Distinguished Professor of English at New York University.