North Eastern Indian Women Authors Making Significant Contributions to Indian Literature

North Eastern Indian Women Authors Making Significant Contributions to Indian Literature

By: WE Staff | Friday, 16 December 2022

The North East of India is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. It is also home to some of the country's most talented female authors. For many years, women authors from North Eastern India have made their mark in the literary world. They often emphasise the area's rich culture and history in their work, and they are dedicated to social justice.

The literary canon has greatly benefited from the works of women authors from North Eastern India. Their work sheds light on the region's complicated social and political landscape. The voices of these female authors will be more and more significant as the area continues to struggle with concerns of social and economic development.

While some of these authors have attained international acclaim, others have mostly gone unnoticed. However, each of them has something unique to offer readers. Here are just a few of the many great women authors from North East India.

Easterine Kire

Author and poet Easterine Kire resides in northern Norway at the moment. Her writings are largely inspired by the experiences of those living in Nagaland, northeast India. She stated in an interview that this is what inspired her to write: "I felt we needed to create written Naga Literature. We have so much oral narratives but with oral dying out, it's all going to be lost." She also performs jazz poetry with her band Jazzpoesi in addition to writing.

1982 saw the release of Easterine Kire's debut poetry collection, "Kelhoukevira." Her 2003 publication of "A Naga Village Remembered" was the first English-language novel by a Naga author. Her second book, "A Terrible Matriarchy," was published in 2007. This was followed by "Mari," "Bitter Wormwood," and "Don't Run, My Love." 2019 saw the release of her most recent book, "Walking the Roadless Road: Exploring the Tribes of Nagaland." She has also published essays, articles, and children's books. 2011 saw the release of her first English-language children's book. In addition, Kire has translated 200 spoken word poetry into English.

Daribha Lyndem

Daribha Lyndem is a Shillong-based writer and civil servant. Her first book is titled Name Place Animal Thing. She grew up in Shillong before moving to New Delhi to study for the UPSC exam. She presently works as a Deputy Commissioner of Indirect Taxes for the Indian Revenue Service.

Daribha Lyndem's novella softly draws the curtain on the maturation of a young Khasi woman and the politically heated city of Shillong in which she resides. The book meanders among eras, lives, and locales, much like the well-known school game from which it derives its name. The intertwined tales expand on one another to span a child's life and transition into the perilous understanding of maturity. Name Place Animal Thing is a brilliant debut that examines the blurred lines between the adult and child worlds.

Mamang Dai

Indian poet, novelist, and journalist Mamang Dai is residing in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. In 2017 she won the Sahitya Akademi Award for her book The Black Hill.

She was chosen for the IAS in 1979, although she later resigned from her position to focus on her journalism career. She contributed to The Telegraph, Hindustan Times, and The Sentinel while working as a journalist.

She started out penning romantic poetry and short stories. She then turned her attention away from the self to a more expansive world. She thinks of the sense of a tight-knit community seen in more rural towns and villages.

Her non-fictional writings include Mountain Harvest: The Food of Arunachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh: The Hidden Land.  She wrote the illustrative folklore books The Sky Queen and Once Upon a Moontime. She released The Legends of Pensam, her debut book, in 2006; Stupid Cupid, her second book, came out in 2008; and The Black Hill, her most famous book, came out in 2014. Her poetry books include River Poems, The Balm of Time, Hambreelmai's Loom, and Midsummer Survival Lyrics. El Balsamo Del YTiempo, an Assamese translation of The Balm of Time, was also released.

Anjum Hasan

Anjum Hasan is an Indian novelist, short story writer, poet, and editor. At North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya, she earned a degree in philosophy. 

Street on the Hill, a book of poetry by Anjum Hasan, was released by Sahitya Akademi in 2006.

Lunatic in My Head, her first book, was placed on the Crossword Book Award 2007 shortlist and published by Zuban-Penguin in 2007. Her second book, Neti was shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award in 2010 and was on the longlist for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008. "An empathic depiction of the unusually liberated—and shockingly lost—middle-class youth of the brave new India" was how the novel was described.

In 2015, Brio Books Australia and Penguin Books India jointly released her third book, The Cosmopolitans. She released the collection of short stories A Day in the Life in 2018. It received the 2019 Valley of Words Award. History's Angel, Hasan's most recent book, was purchased by Bloomsbury India in 2022 and will be published there.

Anungla Zoe Longkumer

Anungla Zoe Longkumer is best described as a free spirit finding her way through creative endeavours such as music, writing, filmmaking, and folk traditions. She has spent the majority of her life travelling and living outside of Nagaland, and she is now based in Dimapur, Nagaland, where she freelances in content editing, music, and filmmaking. She is the author of Folklore of Eastern Nagaland (2017), a collection of translations of folktales, folk songs, and real-life accounts gathered from the six tribes of Eastern Nagaland's more remote districts.

A grandmother's tattoos, the advent of Christianity, stories woven into fabrics, an oral tradition, the imposition of a 'new' language, a history of war and conflict: all of this and much more influences the writers and artists in this book. Anungla Zoe Longkumer brings together for the first time a remarkable collection of stories, poems, first-person narratives, and visuals that reflect the many facets of women's writing in Nagaland.

Malsawmi Jacob

Fear, pain, resentment, acute loss...these emotions have marred the daily lives of generations of Mizo people who have lived through turbulent years of insurgency, the consequences of which are still fresh in their minds.

Malsawmi Jacob, a writer and poet, is one of them, and her most recent book, Zorami, the first English language novel, tells the story of a young woman and the effects of political unrest in her life.

Jacob's seventh book, Zorami, was recently published. She has written non-fiction narratives, collections of short tales, poetry, and stories for children in the past, and she has also contributed poems and articles to four anthologies. With some financial aid from the Mizoram state government, the majority of these are self-published.

Mitra Phukan

Mitra Phukan is an English-language author from India. She is also a columnist and a translator.

Her most recent books are "A Full Night's Thievery" (Speaking Tiger 2016), a collection of her own short stories, and "Aghoni Bai and Other Stories," a collection of short stories in translation (2019).

As a reviewer and essayist, she writes extensively about Indian music. Her works have been translated into numerous languages, and many of them are now taught in colleges and universities.

She has translated into English the works of some of the most well-known Assamese fiction writers, including "Blossoms in the Graveyard," a translation of Birendra Kumar Bhattacharjee's "Kobor Aru Phool" and "Guilt and Other Stories," a translation of Harekrishna Deka's stories. She has also received awards for her translation work.