Tenzin Dickie is a Tibetan-English translator living in NYC. She was born in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India, to parents who had crossed over from Tibet when they were children in the ’60s. It took her a long time to understand that she was a second generation exile, not a first generation exile and that was why many things were the way they were.
Dickie attended a Tibetan boarding school in Dharamsala where almost all the students were called Tenzin and the only non-Tibetan staff were the Hindi madam and an Australian teacher who probably really enjoyed being called Sir Murray. When her family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, she had a thankfully ok time at high school even though it still took her a year to hear the difference between an American accent and an English accent.
She went on to study English and American literature at Harvard University where she slept more often than studied in Lamont Library and was President of the Harvard Students for a Free Tibet and features editor of the Harvard South Asian Journal. After graduation she worked for a few years as Special Assistant to the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas at the Office of Tibet, NY, which always prompted people to ask, “Did His Holiness drop by the office?” No.
Then she began her MFA in Fiction and Literary Translation at Columbia University where she studied with the amazing Susan Bernofsky and started translating contemporary Tibetan poetry into English. She focuses on a group of established and emerging writers in and around Amdo—Kyabchen Dedrol, Sakyil Tseta, Palmo, Ngarma etc—and is happy to be a conduit in making their work available to the rest of the world.
Dickie is a poet and essayist who has been published in Indian Literature, Seminar magazine, the Yellow Nib, the Huffington Post and Cultural Anthropology. Her translation has been published in The Washington Post. Her current project is a memoir in essays.
She works as editor of the Treasury of Lives, an open-access biographical encyclopedia of significant figures from Tibet, Inner Asia and the Himalayan region, which is a special project of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and can be viewed at TreasuryofLives.org.