Short stories blossom in Goa 'Under The Mango Tree'
Twenty-five short stories, four languages and a thousand copies of a new book entered the market on Tuesday, with the launch of the book ‘Under The Mango Tree’. Café takes a closer look
Fundação Oriente, in an attempt to rebuild the art of short story writing in Goa, released ‘Under The Mango Tree’, a book comprising 25 short stories and four languages. Though run by the Portuguese foundation, short stories with a Goa link were welcome in any language – English, Konkani, Marathi as well as Portuguese. Themes of short stories submitted this year showed a focus on issues of everyday life.
This is the fourth such competition organised by the FundaçãoOriente, each resulting in a published volume, by way of an easily accessible book. Earlier books were titled ‘Shell Windows’ (2012), ‘Coconut Fronds’ (2014) and ‘Monsoon Winds’ (2016). This book is published by Goa,1556. For this time’s competition, entries were received English (59), followed by 11 in Konkani, four in Marathi and two in Portuguese. The Alban Couto first prize went to Marathi short story ‘Kahat Kabira’ (‘Says Kabira’) by Vithal L Gawas. This narrative depicts how amiable relations between two communities get communalised and vitiated. The Semana da Cultura Indo- Portuguesa second prize went to the English story ‘Murder?’ by Rajyashree Dutt. “This racy, tightly-edited and humour-laced murder story, with several twists, delved around the capabilities of portly Inspector Kunkolienkar to solve the mystery of a dead body lying spread-eagle in a bedroom,” commented Dr Savia Viegas, author, and chairperson of the jury. Journalist Mayabhushan Nagvenkar’s charming English story ‘Dhirio’ won the third place, and is the story set amidst Goa’s bull-fighting tradition, with a surprise ending. Those whose short stories were among the 25 selected for reproduction in this 240-page special volume were GU alumni Aaron S Rodrigues, children’s author Anita Pinto of Mapusa, chartered accountant Anusha VR, artist and cover-designer Bina Nayak, educator and editor Dr Brian Mendonca, social media activist Cherie Naroo, journalist Clara A Rodrigues, expat author Dinesh Patel and travel writer Francesca Cotta. On the select list were traveller-author Geeta Naik, GoaWriter member and poet-blogger Gouthami, singer-writer Jeanette Barbosa Noronha, Konkani writer-translator Kiran Mahambre, Portuguese teacher Maria do Ceu Barreto, journalist Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, Marathi writer Narayan Mahale, Konkani assistant professor Naresh Naik, journalist-storyteller Noel Sequeira, avid reader Preethy Sunil, writer-editor Rajyashree Dutt, architect Shantan Sukhtankar, safety officer-engineer Sunil Damodaran, writer Suvarna Bandekar and author Vithal Gawas. All the stories have been translated into English. Speaking at the launch, respected Goan literateur Dr Maria Aurora Couto narrated how the competition had been initiated by FundaçãoOriente’s previous delegate Eduardo de Kol Carvalho, and continued by Maria Ines Carvalho. She said poignantly that she would make sure that the first prize was continued in name of her husband, the late Goa senior official Alban Couto “even when I’m no more”. “One of the concerns of the jury was that most entries were by mature writers and there was a paucity of strong, young voices telling their stories,” the jury commented. In the past, Goa had a vibrant tradition of short story writing – including some published in daily newspapers – but that has seen a descent in recent years. The book has 25 charming illustrations by artist-writer Bina Nayak, alumni of the noted JJ College of Art. The book is edited by Anjali Dar Sengupta.
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