Former minister among Sahitya Akademi awardees

New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Former Union Minister M PVeerendrakumar and 23 other authors were today presentedthe prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards for their literaryworks that include travelogue, novels and collection of shortstories.

The awards, which were announced in December, weretoday presented to the winners at a glittering function hereby Sahitya Akademi President Sunil Gangopadhyay and veteranliterary critic Sitakant Mahapatra. The award comprised acitation, memento and a cash prize of Rs. one lakh each.

Veerendrakumar (74), Chairman and Managing Director of''Mathrubhoomi'' group of publications, was awarded for histravelogue ''Haimavathabhuvil'' in Malayalam.

"It was unexpected. I was quite surprised when theSahitya Akademi told me that my work has been selected.

Anyway, I feel happy and appreciate the way the jury hasassessed the work," he told PTI.

''Haimavathabhuvil'', which gives a fascinating overviewof the cultural heritage of India, has already been translatedin Tamil and Rajasthani.

The travelogue, which is currently in its 23rdedition, has already bagged the prestigious Vayalar RamavarmaShitya Award in Kerala and many other awards.

He is the author of at least a dozen titles inMalayalam. One of his works ''Ramante Dukham'' has gone into 18re-prints while another ''Amazonum Kure Vyakulathakalum'' haswon the Kerala state Sahitya Academy Award.

He was Minister of State for Labour (independentcharge) with additional charge of Urban Affairs in 1997.

Famous poets honoured with the award for the year areAurobindo Uzir (Bodo), Arun Sakhardande (Konkani), GopiNarayan Pradhan (Nepali), Vanita (Punjabi), Mangat Badal(Rajasthani), Mithila Prasad Tripathi (Sanskrit), Laxman Dubey(Sindhi) and Sheen Kaaf Nizam (Urdu).

The well-known novelists who have been selectedinclude Bani Basu (Begali), Esther David (English), DhirendraMehta (Gujarati) and M Borkanya (Manipuri).

Those who have won awards for their collection ofshort stories are Manoj (Dogri), Uday Prakash (Hindi) andNanji Nadan (Tamil).

Critics Keshada Mahanta (Assamese), Rahamath Tarikere(Kannada), Basher Bashir (Kashmiri) and Ashok R Kelkar(Marathi) have got the award for their books.

Pathani Pattnaik (Oriya) won the honour for hisautobiography and Bhogla Soren (Santali) for his book of play.

Six women and two young authors, who are less than 50years of age, are among the recipients of the award today. PTIETB

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