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What Lies Between: A Celebration of Translation and Collaboration

General Programming

dateApril 15, 2024 timeMonday, 4:15pm EDT location Barnard Hall, James Room (Room 418), Barnard College
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Barnard Translation Studies Program
  • Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
  • Heyman Fellows
  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  • Literary Translation at Columbia
  • South Asia Institute
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required.

A celebration of translation and collaboration upon the publication of Aftab Ahmad's Urdu translation of Geetanjali Shree’s Hindi novel Ret Samadhi (Tomb of Sand).

Daisy Rockwell and Geetanjali Shree are the co-winners of the 2022 International Booker Prize.

About the Speakers

Aftab Ahmad is a Senior Language Lecturer in Hindi and Urdu in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia Universit. He earned his BA at Aligarh Muslim University and an MA and PhD at Jawaharlal University. His publications include translations from Urdu (with Matt Reeck) of Mirages of the Mind (Aab-e-gum) by Mushtaque Ahmad Yusufi (2015), and Bombay Stories by Saadat Hasan Mano (2012).

Daisy Rockwell is a painter and award-winning translator of Hindi and Urdu literature. She paints under the takhallus, or alias, Lapata (pronounced ‘laapataa’), which is Urdu for “missing,” or “absconded.”. She earned a PhD in South Asian literature at the University of Chicago. Rockwell has published numerous translations from Hindi and Urdu, including Upendranath Ashk’s Falling Walls (2015) and his Hats and Doctors (2013), Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas (2016), and Khadija Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard. Her translation of Krishna Sobti’s final novel, A Gujarat here, a Gujarat there (2019) was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work in 2019. Her translation of Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand (2021) won the 2022 International Booker Prize and the 2022 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Other works by Rockwell include Upendranath Ashk: A Critical Biography (2004); The Little Book of Terror, a volume of paintings and essays on the Global War on Terror (2012); and her novel Taste, published by Foxhead Books in 2014.

Geetanjali Shree is a novelist and short-story writer based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of several short stories and five novels. Her 2000 novel Mai was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2001. In 2022, her novel Ret Samadhi (2018), translated into English as Tomb of Sand by Daisy Rockwell, won the International Booker Prize. Her other novels include Hamara Shahar Us Baras (1998); Tirohit (2001) [published in English as The Roof Beneath Her Feet (2013)]; Khali Jagah (2006) (published as The Empty Space (2011)). Aside from fiction, she has written the critical biography Between Two Worlds: An Intellectual Biography of Premchand (1989)


Isabel Huacuja Alonso is an assistant professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. Her book Radio for the Millions: Hindi-Urdu Broadcasting Across Borders (Columbia University Press, January 2023) is a transnational history of radio broadcasting in Hindi and Urdu from the late colonial period through the early post-independence era (1920-1980).

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.