The north eastern states of India are known mostly for their awesome natural wealth, wildlife and cuisine. However, these states have also produced some of the greatest writers and journalists over the years. Women writers and journalists hailing from these hill states have amazed the literary world with their works and won accolades too.
Below listed are some of the talented female writers from North East India whose literary contributions have won them critical acclaim and awards.
Uddipana Goswami is an Assam based author, editor, poet and also works as a media consultant. She reached the acme of her literary career after starting publication of Northeast Review, a web based online journal dealing with arts and literature. Her poetry has been published in leading and coveted magazines and websites. With the poetry collection titled ‘We Called the River Red: Poetry from a Violent Homeland’ (2010) Uddipana achieved widespread fame and success. A Ph.D scholar from JNU, she tasted success in other genres than poetry too. Her collection of short stories “No Ghosts in This City and Other Stories”, based on Assam, has also got positive reviews.
Recognized as one of the most versatile and powerful contemporary Indian writers, Mitra Phukan is also an acclaimed translator. With her novel, “the Colector’s Wife’ (2005), she burst into global literary scene. Based on the turbulent era of Assam students’ agitation, the novel explores the socio economic paradigms in a subtle yet gripping way. Her works for children such as ‘Mamoni's Adventure’, published earlier, also brought her much popularity and critical acclaim. A skilled vocalist with deep knowledge in Hindustani Classical music, Phukan stunned the critics with her second novel “A Monsoon of Music”. The novel was launched in Delhi by Shubha Mudgal.
An award winning journalist from the North East, Teresa Rehman spends a lot of time writing on lives of the mass in the seven states. Born in Shillong, she pursued career in journalism in Delhi and then decided to return to her roots. She has won two 'Excellence in Journalism' awards so far. She achieved widespread fame after starting her international news magazine ‘The Thumb Print’. She was brave enough to narrate the controversial story of Thangjam Manorama, the Manipuri woman, whose molestation by the army led to nationwide protests. Her book titled ‘The Mothers of Manipur: Twelve Women Who Made History’ won her much critical acclaim. She also writes on the plight of Women afflicted by the HIV AIDS epidemic in those north eastern states.
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A noted Journalist and author, who has also tasted success as a poet- Mamang Dai hails from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. She has also served as correspondents in leading newspapers like The Hindustan Times and The Telegraph. In early days of her career, she also worked in AIR. She achieved considerable fame with publication of her first poetry collection, titled ‘River Poems’. Her book, ‘Arunachal Pradesh: The Hidden Land’ published in 2003, fetched Mamang the state Verrier Elwin Award. Her novel ‘Stupid Cupid’ came out in 2009 and it also got her noticed. ‘The Legends of Pensam’, featuring stories on the ‘Adi’ tribe also got rave reviews. Her writings reflect the culture, heritage and mostly unexplored facets of tribal life in her homeland. For her tremendous contribution to literature, she was honored with the Padma Shri award in 2011.
Rita Chowdhury is a talented contemporary Assamese writer who has also excelled as a novelist and poet in her prolific literary career. She is also a professor of Political Science in Cotton College, Guwahati. Her first novel ‘Abirata Jatra’ was published in 1981 and it won Asom Sahitya Sabha award. After that, her literary career took off and she wrote a number of novels like ‘Tirthabhumi’, ‘Maha Jibanar Adharshila’, ‘Jala-Padma’, and ‘Makam’. All her novels met with generally positive reviews and they deal with serious social issues. While they have a tinge of feminism, her writing is largely unprejudiced. Her novel ‘Deo Langkhui’ fetched her coveted Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 2008. ‘Makam’ is another noteworthy novel written by her that was sold in record numbers.
A talented writer and novelist hailing from Nagaland, Easterine Kire is also a poet. After completing Ph.D in English literature from Pune University, she got into writing. Her books and short stories in English have received widespread popularity and critical acclaim. ‘A Naga Village Remembered’ her debut novel was, in fact, the first ever Naga novel. Her writings reflect the complexities, atrocities and conflicts in life of common people in her homeland. The scintillating folklores of Naga tribes and the myriads of customs they practice come alive in her writing. Easterine has also translated a lot of poems written in her vernacular into English. Her novels like ‘Mari’ and ‘Bitter Wormwood’ reveal aspects of lesser known past of Nagaland. Her children’s books also met with overwhelming response. For her contribution to literature, Easterine was honored in 2011 with the Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Naga Literature. For her novel, ‘When the River Sleeps’ she was given the Hindu prize in 2015.
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