Negotiating Oxford: A conversation between Jatin Nayak and Amit Chaudhuri
The conversation that took place between the academic and translator Jatin Nayak and Amit Chaudhuri at Ashoka University on 12th April 2023.
Called ‘Negotiating Oxford’, it covered a great deal of Nayak’s life before he arrived in Oxford in the eighties – his childhood in a village in Odisha; his attraction to all kinds of books because of their material qualities; the beginnings of a life in literature in Odia, English, and other languages. His journey to Oxford was not, as Nayak says, an ‘act of the will’, but something of an accident, and coincided with the advent of a new India, a new world, and an unprecedented and neurotic fetishisation of success.
Nayak speaks about this India, the costs of success, and the freedoms of failure.
Besides being a teacher of English literature in Odisha, which he returned to after taking his M Litt from Oxford, Jatin Nayak is one of the major translators and scholars of Odia literature today. He retired as Professor of English from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar in 2016. His English translations of classic Odia novels have been published by University of California Press, Oxford University, and Penguin Books.