Tamil novelist Poomani and French writer Lyonel Trouillot won the Gitanjali Literary Prize, the first Franco-indian literary award, here on Saturday.
The Tamil writer was awarded for the novel “Agngnaadi”, while the Haitian French writer Lyonel Trouillot was selected for his work “Une Belle Amoure Humaine” (The beautiful human love).
Former justice David Annoussamy, co-president of the jury, who declared the winner in the Indian language along with Fariba Hachtroudi, co-founder of the prize and president of the jury, said the monumental novel with epic dimensions depicts the picture of a village and its surroundings.
“It portrays the sufferings of a village borne out of political, religious and economic hegemony. Poomani had the courage to undertake such a work (1053 pages) and to complete it successfully, he said.
‘Agngnaadi’ is the word used to designate the mother in the locality, and is also used to designate any person deserving sympathy.
The award winning Indian writer’s book will be translated into French while the Francophone writer’ s book will be translated and published in English. In addition, the award winners will have 15 days of literary sojourn to a french location. The winners would be presented with a plaque.
The Gitanjali Literary Prize is awarded to two winners - one, a Francophone writer from abroad and the other a writer from India whose work could be in English or any of the following regional languages - Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam.
Annoussamy said the jury listed six literary works (three from Tamil, two from Malayalam and one from Hindi). Indian nominees for the award were” V Positive” by T K Rema (Malayalam book edited and transcribed by T Ajeesh) and “Shigaf” a Hindi novel by Manisha Kulshreshta.
Fariba Hachtroudi, co-founder of the prize, said the Malayalam book is the testimony of T K Rema, who is affected by AIDS, and through this novel describes her sufferings in her native Kannur, in Kerala. Not only does she lose her husband to the dreadful disease, but she and her two children also turn out HIV-positive. When her two children are ousted from the school, Rema decides to resist and slowly finds sympathisers who support her cause to get the children readmitted.
In Shigaf, the writer not only analyses the widening rift dividing the Hindus and the Muslims in Kashmir, but also the gap between the relationship of man and woman. The novel has been merited for depicting the pain of being uprooted from one’s homeland and the inability to settle elsewhere.