Daisy Rockwell is an American artist, translator and writer. She translates from Hindi and Urdu into English. She is the winner, with author Geetanjali Shree, of the 2022 International Booker Prize for her translation of the Hindi novel Tomb of Sand. She was also awarded the 2020 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work for her translation of Krishna Sobti’s Hindi novel A Gujarat Here, a Gujarat There. Rockwell has emphasized that she hopes to focus on translating works by women, as she feels that women aren’t well enough represented in literature. With a PhD in South Asian literature, Rockwell is a top scholar on the subject.
Rockwell also paints abstract as well as South Asian influenced paintings. She releases her paintings under the alias “Lapata”, meaning “missing” in Urdu. In one of her most popular paintings, “Hope/asha, by Emily Dickinson”, she uses the poem “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson translated into Urdu. The words of this poem form the shape of a bird. Additionally, Rockwell’s translation of Tomb of Sand features one of her paintings on the cover.
At SALA, it will be exciting to hear about Rockwell’s work and the differences between translating and painting. Rockwell also provides the unique perspective of someone who wasn’t born into South Asian culture, as she was born in the U.S. to American parents who were both artists. It will be great to hear how she gained an interest in the field and how she used that to reach where she is today.