Meena Kandasamy (b.1984) is a poet, writer, activist and translator.
She sees each of these as a way of engaging with her identity as a
woman, a Dalit and a Tamil, three categories of belonging with a history
of resistance to oppression.
Meena was the youngest person ever to represent India as a
writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa’s International Writing
Program 2009. Her debut poetry collection, Touch, was published in 2006
to widespread critical acclaim. A second collection, Ms.Militancy, will
be published later this year. She was a featured poet at the City of
Asylum Jazz Poetry Concert 2009 held in Pittsburgh, USA and performed at
the 14th Poetry Africa International Festival in October 2010 in
Durban. Two of her poets, ‘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 Jayapalan. She holds a PhD
in socio-linguistics, and is now working on her first novel. She is
presently based in Chennai.