The selection committee, in a meeting held on Monday, 19 decided to confer the prestigious award to Kambar. He is about to be the eighth kannadiga to receive India"s highest literary honour.
Kambar, a former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi, was a recipient of the civilian honour Padmashri, besides Kabir Samman, Kalidas Samman and Pampa Award.
A writer who popularised the north Karnataka dialect through his poems and plays, Kambar also served as chairman of the National School of Drama, New Delhi from 1996 to 2000. He was the president of the Karnataka Nataka Academy from 1980 to 1983.
“I am happy at having been chosen for the award. I had expected it. Kannada language should get more Jnanpiths. There is no dearth of subjects to write on. If you ask me which is my best work, I would say that none of my works have given me complete satisfaction. This is the reason why I have been able to write for the last four decades. I can only express myself through my writings," Kambar reacted to the announcement.
The other seven literary heavyweights who have bagged the Jnanpith are Kuvempu, K. Shivarama Karanth, Da Ra Bendre, Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, V.K. Gokak, Girish Karnad and U.R. Anantha Murthy .