URDU PROJECT was created as an answer to the challenges of publishing translations of literary works of Urdu language in the North American market. Traditionally, works from other cultures have always been introduced through translations. But despite the interest in publishing original South Asian writing in English, there is no comparable interest from publishers in contemporary writings from the cultural languages of the region. The publication prospects of the classics face even greater odds; writings commissioned and chosen for translation as part of the colonial enterprise still guide the understanding about Urdu’s classical literature.
The embrace of the industrial model by publishers in North America and its attendant demands often require foreign literature to be accessible or “user-friendly.” This disregards some of the central functions of literature – educating readers in the wider range of human experience, and exposure to new ways of imagining stories. We feel that the prevailing publishing trend in North America does not serve the interests of the literatures of South Asian languages, and if not balanced with translated works, will result in a very limited and skewed picture of the expansive and vibrant South Asian literary landscape.
By publishing quality translations of contemporary and classical Urdu works, we hope to fulfill this need in a small way.
The first book of the twenty-four volume HOSHRUBA – the world’s first magical fantasy epic –launched our publishing program. A children’s illustrated version of Hoshruba will follow. Other titles scheduled for publication this year are the translated works of two Indian writers: the Saraswati Samman award-winning short-story writer Naiyer Masud, and the Katha and Sahitya Akademi award-winning novelist and short-story writer Syed Muhammad Ashraf.
URDU PROJECT draws on the expertise and scholarship of a number of advisors with long experience in publishing and translation. Future plans include the development of a web resource portal and the launch of our Urdu language publishing program. A representative collection of contemporary Urdu poetry is being edited by noted Urdu poet and fabulist Afzal Ahmed Syed.
We employ print-on-demand technology, and are distributed worldwide by the Ingram Book Group.