‘Our writing quality will be rightly tested only when it reaches the global market’: An interview with writer Nayan Raj Pandey

Today, I am talking to Nayan Raj Pandey, a popular Nepali novelist, short-story and screenplay writer who is famous for his figurative portrayal of contemporary Nepali society in his writing.

Born in Kathmandu’s Pyukha Tole, Nayan Raj Pandey spent most of his childhood and youth years in the Terai, southern plain of Nepal. His literary works, therefore, are mostly seen on social, cultural, political and economic issues of the Terai region.

Ulaar, Loo, Ghamkiri, and Sallipir are Pandey’s popular novels. His short story collections such as Nidayen Jagadamba, Khor Vitra ko Joker, and Chocolate have been well appreciated by the readers.

An awardee of Nepal’s prestigious literary award ‘Padmashree Sahitya Puraskar’, Nayan Raj Pandy has also been awarded by various literary institutions in Nepal for his literary works and for his contribution to Nepali literature and movie industry.

Nayan Raj Pandy with his publications

Where do you see Nepali literature in the global scenario?

Our literature has not gone to the global market through quality translation. So, for now, we can only claim that Nepali literature, too, can make a mark in the global literature scene due to the quality of its content, style, and context. Our writing quality will be rightly tested only when it reaches the global market.

What literary genres does Nepal have? It would be great to know roughly how many books are published annually in Nepali?

Nepal is a unique country filled with huge cultural diversity despite its small geographical size. The cultural diversity is reflected in literature, too, in recent days. The voice of identity is being heard clearly. The societies which were suppressed till yesterday are eager to tell their stories today. That is why the number of books published has significantly risen now. I don’t have exact statistics on the number of books published. But, I hear in informal chit-chats that about a thousand books are published in a year. This is a pleasant development for a small country like ours. The discourse on the quality of the books is another side of the story, but the very fact that these many books are published is an indicator that academic awareness in the country has highly increased.

Any of your books in English translation?

A few of my stories have been translated into English, Hindi, Telugu, and other languages. The English translation of Ullar novel is going to be published soon. The translation of Loo has also started.

UllarA classic of Nepali literature, Ulaar is still in print more than twenty years after it was first published because it resonates with us even today. Though much in Nepal has changed, the exploitation of the people in the margins – who are the focus of Ulaar – remains, locked in an oppressive cycle of caste and class disparities.

Translated into English, Ulaar gives a wider audience to the author’s powerful vision of poverty, politics, and corruption, both in Nepalgung and Kathmandu.

In the year 2000, Nayan Raj Pandy’s fourth novel Ular was included as a curricular read for Tribhuvan University’s Bachelor-level students majoring in Nepal. It is still being taught at the University. 

Could you please tell briefly about Ullar & other books in translation?

Ullar is a story of Nepal’s politics expressed through the love-story of an indigent Tanga (pony-cart) driver. In Loo, I have raised political, economic and social issues of places with borders adjoined with India.

+ Lu by Nayan Raj Pandey
Loo, a novel by Nayan Raj Pandey, is also coming in English translation soon. 


Translation and Editorial support: Thakur Amgai

Thakur Amgai
is a writer and translator based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He hails from Gorkha, in western Nepal. Travelling and farming, in addition to writing, are his special passions. Email: thakur.amgai@gmail.com

Written by Dr Sangita Swechcha

Dr Sangita Swechcha is a Communications Professional, Researcher, and a Fiction writer. She has over 15 years of experience in international communications and media relations. She is a Guest Editor for Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) and coordinating ‘Nepali Literature month’ – November 2019. She is a novelist and a writer who has written a novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’, a joint collection of stories ‘Asahamatika Pailaharu’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’ in Nepali.

Forthcoming in English translations in 2020 in e-book formats first: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’ (looking for international publisher/s for publishing print versions of these books). Her twitter handle: SangyShrestha. Email: sangyshrestha@hotmail.com Connect on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s