Surjeet Kalsey

Surjeet Kalsey, an accomplished South Asian Canadian author of poetry, short fiction, and drama, came to Canada in 1974 with a background in broadcasting, as a News Anchor of “Pradeshik Samachar” Regional News for All India Radio Chandigarh.  Kalsey writes both in Punjabi and English and is the author of 25 books of poetry, short stories, drama, and translations, and has edited several books. Her poetry books include “Paunan Nal Guftagoo,” “Aurat, Shabad te Shakti,” “Rom Rom Vich Jagdey Deevey,” “Naam Tiharey”; and the latest, “Rung Mandal”; and her poetry books in English include “Speaking to the Winds,” “Footprints of Silence,” “Sand-Scape”, “Colours of My Heart and the latest “Reflections on Water”.” She has written 4 books of short stories– “Sat Paraiyan,” “Ik Parvasi Aurat di Diary,”  “Katha Teri Meri.” and “Mehndi Ratey Hath”.

Graduated from the UBC in Creative Writing in1978, and got an M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology in1997, Kalsey was a pioneer to introduce Punjabi literature to English speaking audience through her translations, and her edited and translated anthology, Glimpses of Twentieth Century Punjabi Poetry in English Translation includes works of 55 Punjabi poets living in Canada, India, USA, England, Kenya and Sweden. Besides, she has translitrated from Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi and edited a number of books including Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Kav Sagar”, and Zahid Laeeq’s “Akas Barmla”.

As a social activist, Kalsey has worked intensively in the community to raise awareness about violence against women and children. Her three-act play “Mehlin Wasdiyan Dhiyan” (Daughters Behind the Palace Doors), for example, was the first play which established theatre for South Asian women in Canada in the late seventies to address the unspoken issue of violence against women in the Indo-Canadian/South Asian Community in Canada. The mother of a daughter and a son, she has worked as a Family Therapist for the last 35 years along with her creative writing.

Kalsey has been an active member of the Punjabi Writers Forum Vancouver previously known as Punjabi Literary Association Vancouver in the early seventies and has been a member since. She is also a founder member of Samaanta (1982), Women’s Sahara Group Abbotsford (1996), and Punjabi Literature Society Abbotsford (2008).

Short promotional video (with English subtitles): Can you recite any of your poems? ਤੁਸੀਂ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੋਈ ਕਵਿਤਾ ਪੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਸੁਣਾ ਸਕਦੇ ਹੋ? تسیں اپنی کوی شاعری سناسکدے ہو؟

Full Interview, Part 1:

Full Interview, Part 2:

Full Interview, Part 3:

Full Interview, Part 4: