Chronicling women’s identity & literature in NE

Chronicling women’s identity & literature in NE
Chronicling women’s identity & literature in NE

The books focus on the work and identity of women in the North East. (Photo Courtesy: Tunavi Achumi)


Morung Express News
Dimapur | February 19

On Wednesday afternoon, a small audience made up predominantly of women gathered for the launch of the first two books in a series of anthologies that focus on the work and identity of women in the North East Region of India.

The books ‘The Many That I Am: Writings from Nagaland’ edited by Anungla Zoe Longkumer and ‘Crafting the Word: Writings from Manipur’ edited by Thingnam Anjulika Samom were launched by Urvashi Butalia, founder and director of Zubaan Books at Hotel Acacia, Dimapur.


The Many That I Am

Filmmaker and writer Anungla Zoe Longkumer brings together here, an amalgamation of the multiple facets of Naga women through poems, short stories, essays, personal reflections, as well as visuals.

The title, Anungla said, comes from a song she wrote about that goes “war on women… our bodies, minds, souls and our spirits.” It speaks of the many things that Naga women do, the things they handle and the many things that they can be, she added.

When she reached out to women writers and artists seeking contributions for the book, Anungla focused on the themes ‘belonging,’ ‘self’ and ‘identity,’ with the hope to gather honest narratives that speak of the Naga woman’s journey.

The contributors, some of whom are debutantes, present a spread of literary genres that describe the world of Naga women in this anthology book. It explores a broad number of themes- from Nagaland’s long tradition of oral literature and the invasion by Japan to the arrival of Christianity, tattoo traditions and the imposition of English.


Crafting the Word

Independent journalist, writer and translator Thingnam Anjulika Samom said the anthology was compiled after an intense process of discussion, review, analysis and self-learning with the active collaboration of all contributors.

While most of the selected works were written in the contributors’ native languages, the translations were provided by a team of translators who were selected after a workshop and mentoring process.

For the writings from Manipur, the thematic approach to the book- the exploration of women’s self and identity- is the first of its kind and involved an active agency in women’s quest for identity and equality.

Digital illustrator and graphic designer Nori Norbhu from Darjeeling illustrated the covers for the two books.

The anthologies are part of ‘Fragrance of Peace Project’ which is an extensive cultural and literary programme in the Northeast initiated by Zubaan and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF).