The Golden Age

Midnight in ParisRecently I watched Woody Allen’s latest film “Midnight in Paris” in which the central character (Gil Pender), during his visit to Paris with his fiance’, manages to slip back in time to the Paris of the early 1920s. There Gil meets the greatest of the worlds literati during the period like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and many others. Gil always thought that the 1920s was the golden age of literature and art and Paris was the center of this world. It was Gil’s dream come true. There in the 1920s Gil falls in love with the beautiful Adriana, Pablo Picasso’s lover. But to Adriana of the twenties, the golden age was “la Belle Epoque”, the European revival during the late 19th century. By a twist in the tale, Gil and Adriana travel back to the “belle Epoque” era to Maxim’s and meet Edward Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and Paul Gauguin, the great artists of the period. But when asked, these great artists say that to them the golden age was the period of Renaissance! Continue reading

Herta Muller Awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature

Herta Muller - 2009 Nobel Prize in LiteratureHerta Muller, “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed” won the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature. Ms. Müller, 56, emigrated to Germany in 1987 after years of persecution and censorship in Romania. She is the first German writer to win the Nobel award since Günter Grass in 1999.

Herta Müller was born on August 17, 1953 in the German-speaking town Nitzkydorf in Banat, Romania. Her parents were members of the German-speaking minority in Romania. Her father had served in the Waffen SS during World War II. Many German Romanians were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945, including Müller’s mother who spent five years in a work camp in present-day Ukraine. Many years later, in Atemschaukel (2009), Müller was to depict the exile of the German Romanians in the Soviet Union. From 1973 to 1976, Müller studied German and Romanian literature at the university in Timi?oara (Temeswar). During this period, she was associated with Aktionsgruppe Banat, a circle of young German-speaking authors who, in opposition to Ceau?escu’s dictatorship, sought freedom of speech. After completing her studies, she worked as a translator at a machine factory from 1977 to 1979. She was dismissed when she refused to be an informant for the secret police. After her dismissal, she was harassed by Securitate. Continue reading

Sahitya O Alochana @ Ananda Mandir

Ananda Mandir is starting a regular Sahitya O Alochana - Meeting of literary readings and discussionswith a meeting this Friday, 22 August 2008, at 8:30 PM.

The aim is to have a quasi-monthly meeting of literary readings and discussions, occasionally interspersed with lectures on religion or philosophy. The first meeting will focus on how to get the effort organized, but we will also have invited speakers from our community speaking on selected topics. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

CAB Honors Pronoy Chatterjee


The Cultural Association of Bengal (CAB) every year honors a group of people for their outstanding contribution to the society. This year, one of our closest friends, Pronoy Chatterjee has been awarded the “Distinguished Service Award” for his contribution towards promoting and nurturing Bengali literature in North America. His award letter reads,

You are one of the foremost literary personality in the United States who has helped the cause of propagating and nurturing Bengali culture in North America, the goal the Cultural Association of Bengal cherish. You have done so as founder of NJPA and through years of association with Kollol of Jew Jersey, Ananada Mandir and other well known organizations. Your contribution to literature and work on arsenic cleaning in water is also well known.
In recognition of your dedication, we have the honor to award you the “Distinguished Service Award’ during the 28th North American Bengali Conference.

Pronoy Chatterjee is an ardent author, has written two novels (a review of one of his books appear in this blog) and has been an editor or several Bengali magazines including “Kallol Sahitya Sambad”, “AnandaLipi”, “Ananda Sangbad” and many others. He has that magical ability to inspire people around him to be creative, to develop their literary skills that have been dormant in them, and to enrich the lives of the community members through their creations.

My heartiest congratulations goes to Pronoy-da for this well deserved award.