The Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award recognises and salutes sustained and outstanding contribution to poetry in India.
Celebrated poet Mamang Dai will be the Poet Laureate of the 14th Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2023.
Mamang Dai is one of India’s most evocative contemporary writers in English. Hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, the rhythm of her verse reflects the rhythms of the oral tradition of her Adi tribe, and of the natural landscape to which she is so attached. Her poetic voice, as expressed in the collections RIVER POEMS, THE BALM OF TIME, MIDSUMMER SURVIVAL LYRICS, and the folk tale HAMBREELMAI’S LOOM, is gentle, melodious and poignant. While her poetry can be nostalgic for passing traditions and denuded landscapes, and does not avoid the political realities and unease of the times, it is always imbued with hope and love.
Mamang Dai’s poetry ranges across all the aspects of life in the Northeast – positive and negative, political and ideological, nature and community – but is never harsh or opaque. This has been her gift to students and readers – limpid and accessible verse that lights up the beauty of the natural and cultural milieu of the Northeast, shifting the image of conflict and militancy often associated with the region.
A meticulous documenter and proponent of the social, environmental, aesthetic and culinary aspects of Arunachal Pradesh, Mamang Dai has also written a range of works of non-fiction (THE HIDDEN LAND, MOUNTAIN HARVEST) and fiction (she received the Sahitya Akademi Award for her novel THE BLACK HILL), but has described poetry as her “life-line”. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2011. She has also been a journalist across print, TV and radio, and has worked with the World Wildlife Fund in the Eastern Himalayas Biodiversity Hotspots programme.