Stories by 21st century’s Nobel Prize writers available in Urdu

PAL introducing world masterpieces to Pakistani readers

Zubair Qureshi

One of many good works Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) is doing these days is the translation of world masterpieces into Urdu. Recently, the academy published Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “Love in the Days of Cholera” in Urdu.
The title in Urdu is “Waba Kay Dino Mai Mohabbat.” Another commendable effort is Milan Kundera’s popular book on fiction “Art of Fiction” which has been rendered into Urdu as “Novel ka Funn”. The latest gift for the readers of Urdu literature is translation of this century’s Nobel prize winning writers’ selected short stories. The book titled “Nobel Inaam Yaafta Adeebon ki Muntakhib Kahanian,” the latest sensation can give the readers many sleepless nights. Kudos to Dr Qasim Bughio Chairman of the PAL who himself is a literary person and always looks forward to providing something new and novel to the readers from Academy’s platform. As the title of the book shows, PAL’s latest venture is focusing on the writers of 21st century. Stories by those of 20th century Nobel Prize laureates have already been published in Urdu by the PAL. In this edition one can have the glimpses of modern sensibilities, problems and challenges of this century reflected in the present day’s Nobel laureates’ works.
“What a treat to read Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, Imre Kertész, J. M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Harold Pinter, Orhan Pamuk, Doris Lessing, J. M. G. Le Clézio, Herta Müller, Mario Vargas Llosa, Tomas Tranströmer, Mo Yan, Alice Munro, Patrick Modiano and Svetlana Alexievich—the 15 Nobel giants of our times from 2001 to 2015,” said Afsar Khan a reader and a regular visitor of the Pakistan Academy of Letters while talking to Pakistan Observer.
According to Chairman of the PAL, Dr Bughio whereas PAL is striving hard to introduce Pakistani literature in its regional and national languages, it is also the prime function of the academy to introduce the world literature in Urdu and other regional languages of Pakistan so that readers could understand the dominant themes in world literature, renowned names in prose and poetry. Today, English language is the most popular medium of communication, he said, adding any interesting book published in any part of the world and in any language can be available in English.
He was of the view that because of this singular fact English is being taught even in those countries where it was earlier not given importance. On the other hand, Urdu which is the third most widely spoken language of the world lacks such driving force and foreigners have little inspiration and impetus to learn it. Through translation of great works of literature into Urdu, this purpose will also be achieved, he hoped. The 380-page book of the Nobel Prize writers’ selected short stories is available in paperback edition at the PAL’s bookshop as well as other bookstores of the town for only Rs400. Najamuddin Ahmed the translator of the short stories is a well-known writer and accomplished literary figure.
Earlier, he has translated selected American stories. His translated short stories are also published in PAL’s literary journal. In the present book, he has also given a small introduction of each writer so that the reader could know about the writer before reading his works.

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