Mathrubhumi Group Launches Rs 5 Lakh Literary Award to Celebrate Indian Literature

Image credit: Facebook

Image credit: Facebook

The award will be given at the third edition of the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters to be held in January 2020.


Rakhi Bose

While the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL) has been giving Malayalam literature a boost for over two years now, the Mathrubhumi Group has come up with yet another reward for writers and publishers in the form of a literary prize.

The first edition of the Mathrubhumi Book of the Year Awards is set for launch during the three-day festival to be held in January 20 to February 02, 2020. Entries from all sections of Indian writers are encouraged. The award also comes with a Rs 5 lakh cash prize.

Mathrubhumi has for almost 100 years been encouraging writers and literature from Kerala and also published extensive Malayalam translations of English and other vernacular texts and classics including Victor Hugo's Les Miserables which was first translated to Malayalam in 1924.

"We have encouraged writers, thinkers and intellectuals from the beginning of the organisation. This award is another step in that direction," Mathrubhumi Joint MD MV Shreyams told News18. The award will be eligible for Indian writers writing fiction in English as well as translations of regional texts into English.

The award will be judged by a three-judge jury that includes writer and veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor as well as prominent writer, intellectual and folklorist Chandrashekhara Kambara who is also the President of Kendra Sahitya Akademi. According to a representative of the festival, the third judge is a surprise.

The third edition of MBFIL, the venue for the award, will be held from January 30 to February 02, 2020. The festival organisers have written out to publishers and are expecting to receive their entries that will be further short-listed.

The theme of this year's festival is "Shrinking Spaces, Transcending Letters". The idea is to attempt to recognize the efforts the writers, artists and civil society in the country that has been actively fighting to retain the shrinking spaces of democratic discourse in the country. It is a tribute to the fight to preserve spaces for debate and discussion that are free of ideology, politics or partisanship.

Meanwhile, Festival Director Sabin Iqbal said that with the third edition of festival, the organisers hoped to look forward to further associations that could add value to the festival in terms of "workshops and master classes" in order to "contribute to the literary as well as creative landscape" of Kerala.

Speaking about the theme, Iqbal said that Kerala had always been a dynamic society in terms of proactive dissent and conversation and the festival was yet another attempt at conserving the tradition.

This is not the only literary award the group has to offer. Mathrubhumi Literary Award was instituted in 2001 and has been annually awarding writers from Kerala with a cash sum of Rs 2 lakh since. The award is meant as an acknowledgement of the writers' contribution to Malayalam literature as a whole.

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