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Nabaneeta Dev Sen (Bengali: ; Nôbonita Deb Shen) (b.1938) is a Bengali writer from Indiamarker.

Personal life

Sen was born in Calcuttamarker, to the poet-couple Narendra Dev and Radharani Devi. She graduated from Presidency College and took her M.A. from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, A.M with Distinction from Harvard Universitymarker and Ph. D from Indiana University. She did post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeleymarker, USA, at Newnham College, Cambridgemarker University, UK, and was UGC Senior Fellow at Delhi University. Besides Bengali and English she reads several languages - Hindi, Oriya, Assamese, French, German, Sanskrit, Hebrew, etc. In 2002, she retired as Professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, Calcutta. She has been working with the treatment of women in the world epics and the treatment of epic poetry by rural women in India. She was nominated as the JP Naik Distinguished Fellow at the Centre of Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi, 2003-2005, where she is translating Chandrabati’s sixteenth century Bengali Ramayana text into English with a critical introduction and annotations.

Nabaneeta lives in Kolkatamarker, in her parental house Bhalo-Basa, where she was born, now declared a Heritage Building. She has two daughters Antara Dev Sen and Nandana Sen with former husband economist Amartya Sen, and one adopted daughter, Srabasti.

Career and awards

Nabaneeta has been a writer in residence at several international Artists’ Colonies such as Yaddo and MacDowell Colonymarker in the USA, Bellaggio in Italy, and the Mishkenot Sha’ananimmarker in Jerusalem. She has been a visiting professor, and a visiting creative writer at different times at several universities in the USA (Harvard, Cornell, Rutgers, Columbia, Smith College, Chicago, etc), Canada (Toronto, York, British Columbia), Mexico, England, Germany, France and Japan. She has delivered the Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture series (1996-97) at Oxford Universitymarker on epic poetry. She has held the Maytag Chair of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Colorado College 1988-89, and represented herself and her country in many international conferences, both academic and literary, including the Festival of India USA 1986, the Frankfurt Book Fair 1993 and the Munich Book Week 2002. She has held important executive positions in International academic bodies like the International Comparative Literature Association (1973-79), and The International Association of Semiotic and Structural Studies (1989-94), been the Vice President of Indian National Comparative Literature Association, Chief editor of Bengali in the Macmillan’s Modern Indian Novel Series, Member of the Jury of important literary awards like the Jnanpith, Saraswati Samman, Kabir Samman, Rabindra Puraskar etc. She is now the Vice President of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishat. She has received many National awards and Honours from all over India, including the Central Sahitya Akademi Award, the Mahadevi Verma Award, the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award, the Harmony Award, and the President’s award, Padmashri. Nabaneeta Dev Sen is the founder president of West Bengal Women Writers' Association.

Publications

Her first collection of poems, Pratham Pratyay, was published in 1959. In her novels, which often use women as the central characters, Sen deals with a wide variety of social, political, and psychological problems: the role of the intellectuals in the Naxalite movement (Ami Anupam,1976); the identity crisis of the Indian writing in English (1977); the identity crisis of second generation NRIs (Swabhumi, 1985); the breakdown of the joint family; life in sheet sahasik hemantalok (old age homes) (1988); homosexuality (Bamabodhini, 1995); facing AIDS (Maya raye gelo 1999, Ural 2002); Albratos (child abuse); obsession; uprootedness, immigration and exile. Her short stories and travelogues are a rare combination of fine humour, deep human concern, and high intellect, which has made her a unique figure in the Bangla literary scene . Her first short story collection was Monsieur Hulor Holiday(1980). Travelogues like Karuna tomar kon path diye, Truckbaahane Myakmahane have become classics in Bengali literature and are getting translated into other Indian languages.. She is one of the most well-loved children’s authors in Bangla, for her sensitive, beautiful fairy tales and adventure stories, where girls are the heroes. She has also written prize-winning one act plays. Her works have been anthologised in many languages within India and abroad.

Nabaneeta Dev Sen has published more than 80 books in Bengali: poetry, novels, short stories, plays, literary criticism, personal essays, travelogues, humour writing, translations and children’s literature. Her first collection of poems “Pratham Pratyay” was published in 1959. Nabaneeta deals with a wide variety of social, political, psychological problems like the role of the intellectuals in the Naxalite movement, (Ami Anupam, 1976), identity crisis of the Indian writing in English (1977), that of the second generation NRIs (1985), breakdown of the joint family, life in old age homes (1988), homosexuality (1995), facing AIDS (1999,2002), child abuse, and obsession, uprootedness, immigration and exile in her novels, often using women as her central characters. Her short stories and travelogues are a rare combination of fine humour, deep human concern, and high intellect, which has made her a unique figure in the Bangla literary scene. Her first short story collection was “Monsieur Hulor Holiday” (1980). Travelogues like “Karuna tomar kon path diye” and “Truckbaahane Myakmahane” have become classics in Bengali literature.

She is a well-known children’s author in Bengali for her fairy tales and adventure stories, where girls are the heroes. She also has written prize-winning one-act plays.

Notes



External links

  • Nabaneeta Dev Sen: Official website
  • [http://www.loc.gov/acq/ovop/delhi/salrp/nabaneetadevsen.html South Asian Literary recordings Project, Library of Congress



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