Early Life of Nabanita Dev Sen
Nabanita Dev Sen was born in Kolkata into a Bengali family on 13 January 1938 to the poet-couple Narendra Dev and Radharani Devi. She was named by Rabindranath Tagore. She has grown up among distinguished personalities.
Nabanita Dev Sen graduated from Presidency College with a BA in English and received her Masters degree in comparative literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and also Masters with Distinction in comparative literature from Harvard University. She earned her Ph.D from Indiana University. Nabanita Dev Sen completed her post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley and Newnham College, Cambridge University.
Career of Nabanita Dev Sen
Nabanita Dev Sen has been a writer in residence at several international Artists Colonies, including Yaddo and Mac Dowell Colony in the United States; Bellaggio in Italy and the Mishkenot Shaananim in Jerusalem. She has been a visiting professor and a visiting creative writer at several universities in the United States, including Harvard, Cornell, Rutgers, Columbia, Smith College and Chicago. In Canada, she has been visiting professor at Toronto, York and British Columbia. Other countries where she has participated as professor include Mexico, England, Germany, France and Japan. She was also a University Grants Commission Senior Fellow at University of Delhi.
Nabanita Dev Sen held important executive positions in International academic bodies like the International Comparative Literature Association (1973–1979), and the International Association of Semiotic and Structural Studies (1989–1994). She was the chief editor of Bengali in the Macmillan's Modern Indian Novel Series. She also served as Jury Member of important literary awards including the Jnanpith Award, Saraswati Samman, Kabir Samman, and Rabindra Puraskar. She was the Vice-President of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad. She was the founder and president of West Bengal Women Writers' Association.
Literary Career of Nabanita Dev Sen
Before doing her post graduation in comparative literature from Jadavpur University under the tutelage of Buddhadev Bose, the famous Bengali poet Nabanita Dev Sen began to pen poems and was associated with Kritiwas Gosthi. Her first book on anthology of poems “Pratham Pratyay” was published in 1959. Her second poetry collection “Swagato Debdoot” was published 12 years later.
Her magnum opus was a novel “Ami, Anupam”, which was believed to have been written on the life of Ashok Mitra, the economist and the former minister. She won Sahitya Akademy Award for her novel “Navanita”.
Nabanita Dev Sen showed her dexterity in writing belles-letters and literature for children. Her short stories and travelogues are a rare combination of fine humour, deep human concern and high intellect, which has made her a unique figure in the Bengali literary scene. Her first short story collection was “Monsieur Hulor Holiday” (1980). Travelogues like “Karuna Tomar Kon Path Diye” and “Truck Bahone Mac Mahone” have become classics in Bengali literature. Additional notable works include “Bama-Bodhini”, “Nati Nabanita”, “Srestha Kabita” and “Sita Theke Suru”. She was a well-known children's author in Bengali for her fairy tales and adventure stories, with girls as protagonist. She has also written prize-winning one-act plays.
Achievements of Nabanita Dev Sen
Nabanita Dev Sen received many national and international awards and honours. She was awarded the Padma Shri Award in 2000 by the Government of India. Awards received by her are as follows:
Personal Life of Nabanita Dev Sen
In 1959, she married Amartya Sen, an economist and academician and then a Lecturer of Economics at the Jadavpur University. She moved to Britain with him and they became the parents of two daughters, Antara Dev Sen and Nandana Sen. In 1976, they were divorced and she returned to Kolkata with her daughters. Nabanita Dev Sen lived in Kolkata with her adopted daughter, Srabasti. She stayed at her parental house Bhalo-Basa, where she was born, now declared a Heritage Building. Nabanita Dev Sen died on 7th November 2019 in Kolkata following cancer.
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