Fraser Valley Poets Society

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Surjeet Kalsey wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted by Violet Nesdoly on May 2, 2014

Big congratulations to our own Surjeet Kalsey who on May 1st,  received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program, Department of Asian Studies, UBC.



Surjeet KalseyB.C.’s prestigious Writer’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 was, for the first time, awarded to a woman writer—Surjeet Kalsey


Surjeet Kalsey was given this Award for her dedication as a writer to the Punjabi Literature, language and culture in Canada for the last 40 years, in an Award Ceremony on 1st May 2014 at Centre Stage, New Surrey City Hall, as a part of Late Harjit Kaur Memorial Program of the Department of Asian Studies in the University of British Columbia.

Surjeet Kalsey is an outstanding South Asian Canadian writer, came to Canada in 1974 with her background in broadcasting, as a News Anchor of “Pradeshik Samachar” Regional News for All India Radio Chandigarh. Surjeet writes both in Punjabi and English and is the author of 19 books of poetry, short stories, drama, and translations, and has edited several books.

Her poetry books in Punjabi include Paunan Nal Guftagoo, Aurat, Shabad te Shatkt, Rom Rom Vich Jagdey Deevey, Naam Tiharey, and the latest, Rung Mandal, is forthcoming. Her poetry books in English include Speaking to the Winds, Footprints of Silence, Sand-Scape, and Colours of My Heart. She has written three books of short stories: Sat Paraiyan, Ik Parvasi Aurat di Diary, and Katha Teri Meri as well.

As a social activist, Surjeet has worked intensively in the community to raise awareness about violence against women and children. Working many years with families who went through family violence, her writings especially short stories and drama reflect women’s issues. Her three-act play Mehlin Wasdiyan Dhiyan (Daughters Behind the Palace Doors) 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 South Asian Community in Canada.

Graduated from the UBC in Creative Writing in 1978, and got an M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology in 1997, Surjeet was a pioneer to introduce Punjabi literature to English speaking readers through her translations. 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 translated and edited a number of books including Pakistani Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Kav Sagar, and Canadian Urdu poet late Zahid Laeeq’s Akas Barmla. Surjeet has translated Ajmer Rode’s plays One Girl One Dream and Komagata Maru.
Surjeet is one of the woman founder members of the 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).

Currently Surjeet hosts “Apni Awaaz” a program at CIVL Radio 101.7FM Abbotsford from the University of Fraser Valley. Surjeet, mother of a daughter and a son, works as a Family Therapist for the last 20 some years along with her creative writing. Surjeet was a winner of Canada’s Best Writer’s International Network (WIN) Award in 2013. For more information about Surjeet’s publications please visit her blog:





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