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The French Institute in India in association with the Publishing house Speaking Tiger is launching the new release of the English translation of ‘La panse du chacal‘, The Cane-Cutter’s Song by Raphaël Confiant.

The French author Raphaël Confiant will be in conversation with his translator Vidya Vencatesan, the Mauritian writer Ananda Devi and the Mumbai-based Indian English poet Jerry Pinto.

In the Cane-Cutter’s Song, originally published in French as La Panse du chacal, award-winning Martinician author Raphaël Confiant illuminates the lesser-known side of the West Indian identity – the Indian side of the Creole, and within it the story of thousands of lost Indians who longed to return home.

Synopsis of the book

Lured by the promise of easy money in the faraway land of hope, Adhiyaman Dorassamy embarks on a formidable crossing of 2 turbulent oceans so as to not end up like his parents in ‘the jackal’s belly’.
As the ship docks at the harbours of the French colony of Martinique, the Dorassamys soon realize their predicament: like the thousands of ‘Coolies’ before them, they are now to replace the freed Negro slaves in the sugarcane plantations. Ostracized by the former slaves and blinding subjected to the whims of the white planters, these ‘Coolie’ Indians swiftly learn the art of survival and plunge into an unfamiliar world where just like their forgotten deities, their language too has faded amongst the Creole words.

Our partners

Speaking Tiger Books is an independent publishing company based in New Delhi. Founded in September 2014, the company publishes a diverse list comprising quality fiction and non-fiction from South Asia and the rest of the world. Among our authors are both veterans and exciting new voices: Nayantara Sahgal, Ruskin Bond, Shanta Gokhale, Jerry Pinto, Mark Tully, Wendy Doniger, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Nandita Haksar, Harsh Mander, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Madhavi Menon and  Ravish Kumar, to name a few. Our authors have won or been on shortlists of all major literary prizes, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Crossword Book Award, the Hindu Literature Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Fiction, the JCB Prize and the Tata Literature Live Awards.

One of our key areas of focus is Indian and international literature in translation, and among our award-winning translations are Baluta by Daya Pawar and When  I Hid My Caste by Baburao Bagul, both translated by Jerry Pinto; Smritichitre by Lakshmibai Tilak, translated by Shanta Gokhale; Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan, translated by Annie Tucker; and Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez, translated by Ümit Hussein.

Speaking Tiger also publishes books for children and young adults under its Talking Cub imprint, with authors like Paro Anand, Ruskin Bond, Bulbul Sharma, Ranjit Lal, Subhadra Sengupta, Bijal Vachharajani and Shabnam Minwalla.

About the panelists

He was born in Martinique. He is the author of numerous novels in Creole and French. He made his name in France with his novel Le Nègre et l’Amiral (Grasset, 1988).

In 1991, he won the Prix Novembre for Eau de Café (Grasset 1991). His novel Le meurtre du Samedi-Gloria (Mercure de France, 1997) won the Prix RFO du livre the year it was published.

She is Professor of French in the Department of French and heads the Centre for European Studies at University of Mumbai. She has translated Javed Akhtar’s poetry into French (D’autres mondes, paris, edition Janus 2014) and has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Cavaliere della Stella d’Italia.

Ananda Devi is an ethnologist, translator and writer, and is considered one of the central figures of Mauritian literature. She has published numerous collections of poems, short stories and novels, including Ève de ses décombres (2006, Prix des Cinq Continents and Prix RFO) and Le Sari vert (2010, Prix Louis Guilloux). Her last novel, Manger l’autre (2018), was likewise published to high public and critical acclaim.

Her new book, Le rire des déesses (The Laugh of Goddesses) has been released in September 2021 (Grasset).

Jerry Pinto lives and works in Mumbai. He has been a mathematics tutor, school librarian, journalist and columnist. He is now associated with MelJol, an NGO that works in the sphere of child rights. His published works include Surviving Women; Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, which won the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema in 2007; and Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (co-edited with Naresh Fernandes). Em and The Big Hoom was his first novel.

Raphaël Confiant is invited to the New Delhi World Book Fair in January 2022 where France will be the guest country of honour.
This event is organized under the umbrella of the PAP Tagore programme of the French Embassy in India & the French Institute in India.

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