The rolling hills, pristine streams, and the verdant settings of the hill district of Idukki could inspire the best in a writer. But, the general seclusion of the place often keeps it under the radar of recognition, awards, or even encomiums.
Writers in places like Idukki have endured years of neglect, often unintended, by publishers and those in mainstream literary circles. However, young writers feel that a more level playing field is emerging with the advent of social media. Now, Mobin Mohan, a 33-year-old writer from Kanchiyar, near Kattappana, has been honoured with the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar for his debut novel 'Jacaranda.'
On Thursday (December 30), when the Akademi published its list, Mobin was named alongside renowned author George Onakkoor, who won the award for his autobiography Hrudayaragangal; and Reghunath Paleri, Bal Sahitya Puraskhar for 'Avar Moovarum oru Mazhavillum.’
Mobin, who works at the Munsif court in Kattappana, is elated. The romantic novel is set in a fictional European village. Mobin drew inspiration from a Jacaranda tree in full bloom in Marayoor. "The flowers were so beautiful that I stood there for hours looking at it. It was like a violet carpet. Later, I learnt that it was commonly found in European countries. That eventually took me to this novel of love, friendship, and longing," he said.
As someone who still gets his stories rejected without any reason, Mobin feels that publishers weigh the selling power of individual writers more than the content. "Now, with platforms like social media, writers like me in Idukki get better opportunities for networking and publishing. It was through one such event that I met writer P Surendran, who read the draft of my novel. He liked it and arranged a publisher for it. Similar is the support from writers like Benyamin. Unlike the older generation of writers in Idukki, who had to spend weeks meeting publishers in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Kozhikode, often without any results, the literary arena of Idukki is flourishing now," he said.
Apart from the novel, Mobin has also published collections of stories titled 'Purambokk' and 'Akasham Petta Thumbikal.’ Mobin’s next will be a novel set in his native place Idukki.