THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: V J James’ ‘Nireeshwaran’, has been chosen for this year’s Vayalar Rama Varma Literary award. A three-member jury comprising K V Mohan Kumar, A K Nambiar and Anil Kumar Vallathol chose the novel for the award.
The award, in its 43rd year, will be presented to James at a function to be held at Nishagandhi auditorium here at 5.30 p.m. on October 27, the death anniversary of the late poet and lyricist Vayalar Rama Varma. The award carries a cash prize of `1 lakh, a citation, and a statuette designed by sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman.
Announcing the award, writer Perumbadavom Sreedharan, president, Vayalar Rama Varma Memorial Trust, said the jury had arrived at the decision unanimously. “I congratulate James for his efforts,” Sreedharan said at a press conference.
The award was decided over three phases. In the first phase, the trust had asked 255 readers to choose five books. Out of this, 102 individuals responded with 123 suggestions. From this, five works that got the most points were sent to a 20-member committee of writers. The top three selections from this committee were submitted to the three-member judging committee. Of these, the committee chose ‘Nireeshwaran’.
Apart from award distribution, the Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust will also give `5,000 annual scholarship to students who excelled in Malayalam from Asan Memorial Higher Secondary School, Chennai.
‘No room for any controversies’
This year, a controversy had erupted after writer M K Sanoo resigned from Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust presidentship.
Reportedly, he had resigned due to judging committee’s alleged move to choose Ramachandran Puthussery’s autobiography ‘Thilacha mannil kalnadayaayi’ for the award. Ezhacherry Ramachandran’s ‘Ilathumbile vajradaaham’ was the other contender. Sanoo had alleged that there was a move to select Puthussery, a left ideologue, for the award.
However, the panel clarified that there was no external pressure or intervention to select a particular book. Perumbadavam Sreedharan said that M K Sanu resigned citing health reasons.
“Sanu had informed the trust in a written letter about his inability to continue on the president’s post due to health reasons. We are not aware of other controversies and can’t respond to it. Our panel was impartial and it took the decision unanimously. So there in no point in any controversies. Sanoo, meanwhile, will continue as our mentor,” Sreedharan said.
According jury member K V Mohan Kumar, nobody influenced the judges to select the winner. “We selected the winner following a final decision by the panel. Three of us were convinced about the work of V J James and hence chose him as the winner. There was no external pressure,” Mohan Kumar said.
M K Sanu welcomes award jury decision
Kochi: Writer M K Sanu who resigned from the post of chairman of Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Trust (VRMT) welcomed the selection of Nireeswaran, the novel penned by V J James, for the Vayalar Award on Saturday. His resignation ensured that a deserving candidate received the award, he said. Sanu had earlier resigned from the post alleging interference from outsiders in the award selection process and pressure to grant maximum marks to an undeserving candidate.
The critic said he had received tremendous pressure from various corners to select a novel for the award, which according to him, was undeserving. “I had been part of the Trust for the last 10 years. This was the first time I had such a bad experience. I felt it was better to step down from the Trust rather than be a mute spectator to injustice,” Sanu told TNSE. Now that a deserving candidate received the award, the writer clarified he will still not return to the Trust. According to Sanu, the novel written by V J James highlighted the realities of the present-day world. The language used in the novel is splendid, he said.