Name: Meena Kandasamy
Where: India and UK
What she does: Poet, Writer, Activist and Translator
Impact: Raised awareness about caste discrimination in India among international audiences
Nominated by: Laura Ouseley, One World Action
Meena Kandasamy (b.1984) is a poet, writer, activist and translator. Her work maintains a focus on caste annihilation, linguistic identity and feminism. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010). Currently, she is a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
Meena was the youngest person ever to represent India as a writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program 2009. She was a featured poet at the City of Asylum Jazz Poetry Concert 2009 held in Pittsburgh,USA, the 14th Poetry Africa International Festival in October 2010 inDurbanand the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2011. Two of her poems, ‘Mascara’ and ‘My Lover Speaks of Rape‘ have won first prizes in pan-India poetry competitions, and her poetry has been profiled in several international publications. Previously, she edited ‘The Dalit’, a bi-monthly English magazine.
She translated the writings and speeches of Dalit leader Thol. Thirumavalavan and Dravidian ideologue Periyar EVR; and the poetry of Eelam Tamil poets Kasi Anandan, Cheran and VIS Jayapalan. She holds a PhD in socio-linguistics, and is now working on her first novel.