Writer-activist P Valsala wins Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Kerala's highest literary honour


Thiruvananthapuram: Writer and social activist P Valsala has bagged the prestigious Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the highest literary honour given by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, for her contributions in the field of literature.

"It's a moment when one feels proud of choosing the path of a writer," Valsala said on learning about the award.

“Why does one write? This is one question that bothers all writers at some stage. Awards are also an answer to such questions,” she said.

The writer said she had always tried to hold the marginalised sections closer.

Valsala is only the fourth woman to receive the award after it was instituted in 1993. The other women winners include Kamala Surayya (in 2002), Sugathakumari (in 2009) and M Leelavathi (in 2010).

The 83-year-old is the author of 25 short story collections and 17 novels - all in Malayalam. She is renowned for her distinct style of writing.

Her works have won several awards including Kumkumam Award (for Nellu published in 1972), the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (for Nizhalurangunna Vazhikal), the Muttathu Varkey Award, and the CV Kunhiraman Memorial Sahitya Award.

The former headmistress, P Valsala also held the post of Chairperson of Kerala Sahitya Akademi.

For the 28th year, the jury included Sahitya Akademi President Vaishakhan, Dr B Iqbal, Alankode Leela Krishnan, KEN Kunhahmed, and Principal Secretary of Department of Culture Rani George.

Commenting on the award, Minister of Culture Saji Cherian said "P Valsala deserved it for her extensive contributions in the field of literature".

The Ezhuthachan Puraskaram is named after Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan, a 16th-century devotional poet, considered to be the father of the Malayalam language.

It award consists of a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs and a citation.

Writer-researcher Sooranad PN Kunjan Pillai (1911-1995) was the first recipient of the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram (in 1993).

Last year, the award was won by noted writer Paul Zacharia.

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