CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has hit the literary jackpot this year with two authors from the state winning the Sahitya Akademi awards. The winners, Kuzha Kathiresan and Lakshmi Saravana Kumar, are a contrasting duo with just one commonality. Both of them, though happy, feel the recoginition has been delayed.
Kathiresan, a 67-year-old publisher, famous for his children’s books and poetry, began his writing career at the age of 30. He was awarded the Bala Puraskar award for total contribution to children literature.
On the other hand, Yuva Puraskar awardee Lakshmi Saravana Kumar is just 31-years-old. His novel Kaanakan, which won him the award, is set in the ganja fields of the Western Ghats in Theni district and deals with the lives of the underprivileged and the oppressed. The author, who carries his mother’s name as his first name, is also a filmmaker. He had assisted director Vasanthabalan in his period film Aravaan and the historical fiction, Kaaviya Thalaivan. Saravana Kumar is now working on the script for his first film.
Kathiresan who runs Ainthinai Pathippagam, was at his house in Anna Nagar when a well-wisher called him to inform about him being included in the list of awardees. “It is indeed a surprise. I hadn’t sent any sample work to the Akademi last year. Five years ago, I was expecting one. Then, over time, it never crossed my mind,” Kathiresan told at his Anna Nagar residence.
Saravana Kumar was busy with production meetings for his movie when he was informed of the news. “This award doesn’t call for a huge celebration, I feel. But I am happy nevertheless,” he told Express over phone. He feels that his Yuva Puraskar award was due at least three years ago for his novel, Uppu Naigal, which he considers his as his best work. Though Akademi award was delayed, both the writers were bestowed with several other awards over the years.