2015 – 11th Annual Arty Award
Abbotsford Art Council
Prestigious Award 2014.
U.B.C.’s Prestigious Writer’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 is first time awarded to
a woman writer Surjeet Kalsey in British Columbia
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 in1978, and got an M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology in1997, 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: http://www.surjeetkalsey.wordpress.com
Link for Interview by students of Asian Studies UBC
Writers International Award
Canada’s Best 2013
W.I.N. Distinguished Poet Award
.International Punjabi Literature Academy (Vishaw Punjabi Sahit Academy) honoured Surjeet Kalsey for her ‘significant contribution in the field of Punjabi Poetry and Prose’.
First Punjabi Literary Conference, California, August 2004
Surrey City Councilor Judy Villinavue, Surjeet & Ashot Bhargav
Truth, Purity, Beauty on 35th Anniversary of India Club Literary Achievement Award presented to Surjeet Kalsey for her poetry book ‘Rom Rom Vich Jagdey Deevy’ & in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Punjabi Literature and language in Canada.
..Chetna Association of Canada honoured Surjeet Kalsey for her ‘Contribution towards Women’s Rights & Social Justice Through Literature.’ International Women’s Day, 5 March 2006
..Certificate of Congratulations for ‘Aks-e-Barmla’ by Province of British Columbia. ..
‘Aks-e-Barmla’ profiles poetry in Urdu by Zahid Laeeq, transliterated into Punjabi by Surjeet Kalsey to enrich multiculturalism in British Columbia for the preservation of culture, ethnicity and language. I wish you much success.’ Dave S. Hayer, MLA Surrey-Tynehead
…Punjabi Sahit Sabha & Cultural Society of Calgary presented an award to Surjeet Kalsey in ‘Appreciation for her Outstanding Contribution to Punjabi Literature, Language and Culture.’
South Asian Review & Sahit Sabha Prince George honoured Surjeet Kalsey for her Literary contributions.
Second Punjabi Conference, Prince George, August 2003
South Asian Review & Sahit Sabha Prince George in the First Punjabi Conference in Prince George honoured Surjeet Kalsey for her significant contribution to Canadian Punjabi literature.