Jaipur Lit Fest confers the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for Poetry on Tamil author and poet, Rajathi Salma
The fourth edition of the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for Poetry has been conferred on Rajathi Salma, a well-known name to readers of contemporary Tamil literature who will be felicitated at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2019 at Diggi Palace on the January 27.
With two volumes of poetry, a short story anthology and two novels, several of which have been translated to other languages, Salma has made her mark as a distinctive literary voice. Lakshmi Holmstrom’s English translation of her novel, entitled The Hour Past Midnight, was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Asian DSC Award.
Salma has been the recipient of several awards and honours, and has also been a special invitee to several book festivals and seminars. She was the only representative of Tamil literature when the University of Chicago organized a two-day seminar, as part of the annual Norman J. Cutler Conference, to discuss her literary works. Salma has been a committed public servant and was the elected President of the Ponnampatti Town Panchayat between 2001-2006 as well as Chairperson of the Social Welfare Board, Govt. of Tamil Nadu.
Every year, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival celebrates poetry as one of literature’s most effective and powerful art forms and recognises the best among India’s plethora of young and talented poets announcing the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for Poetry. In association with the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Foundation, the award is a tribute to Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia and his immense repertoire. In addition to a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, the winner receives an opportunity to share the stage with literary heavyweights at the Festival.
Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia was a renowned Rajasthani and Hindi poet. The internationally acclaimed writer authored a total of 42 books in Hindi, Urdu and Rajasthani. He was a Freedom fighter, social reformer, educationist and environmentalist who received the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Rajasthan Ratna in 2012. He was selected as a “Living Legend of the 20th Century” on the occasion of the bi-centenary celebration of the US Library of Congress in Washington.
The Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award is given out after a careful selection process by an eminent jury comprising renowned litterateurs and discerning art aficionados like Namita Gokhale, Sanjoy K. Roy, Sukrita Paul, Sudeep Sen, and Jaiprakash Sethia.
On the announcement of the award, Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts which organises the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival annually, said, “Every year it is our endeavour to provide a democratic platform to young artists, writers and poets to showcase their talent at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. The introduction of the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for Poetry recognizes extraordinary work in poetry. In the last few years, there was a lot of focus on poetry with one of our themes being ‘Poetic Imagination’ and this year we have taken another step to promote and appreciate the art form.”
Jury member Jaiprakash Sethia said, “Shri Sethia had the rare distinction of becoming a legend during his lifetime. A conservative estimate is more than 15 million people globally were aware of Sethiaji and his body of work.”