Poet Attur Ravi Varma has been selected for this year’s Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the State government’s highest literary honour. Culture Minister K.C. Joseph announced this at a press conference here on Thursday.

The award, which includes a purse of Rs.1.5 lakh, a citation and a statuette, was decided by a committee comprising Kerala Sahitya Akademi president Perumbadavam Sreedharan (chairman), D. Babu Paul, C.V. Balakrishnan, Akbar Kakkattil, and principal secretary Sajan Peter (member secretary).

The award will be presented at a function in Thiruvananthapuram in the second week of December.

Mr. Joseph on Thursday called on Mr. Varma at his residence here to apprise him of the award.

“Am I being selected because I am getting old?” the poet jested.

“The award was the least expected and comes as a surprise. I have written very little. Much of this I have thrown away. Silence empowers the word. Poems rarely visit me now as I am getting old. I am translating the Kamba Ramayana into Malayalam,” he said.

A major practitioner of modern Malayalam poetry, he is an alumnus of University College, Thiruvananthapuram, Malabar Christian College and Kozhikode Samoothiri College. His works include ‘Kavitha’, ‘Attur Ravi Varmayude Kavithakal’ (1957–1994), ‘Attur Ravi Varmayude Kavithakal’ (1995–2003), ‘J. J. Chila Kurippukal’, ‘Oru Pulimarathinte Katha’, ‘Nale Mattoru Nale Mathram’, ‘Randam Yamangalude Katha’, ‘Puthunanooru’, ‘Bhakthikavyam’ and ‘Thazmizh Puthu Kavithakal’ (translation). He has won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi awards for poetry and translation and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award.

The recipients of the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram are Sooranad Kunjan Pillai (1993); Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai (1994); Balamani Amma (1995); K. M. George (1996); Ponkunnam Varkey (1997); M.P. Appan (1998); K. P. Narayana Pisharody (1999); Pala Narayanan Nair (2000), O.V. Vijayan (2001); Kamala Suraiya (2002); T. Padmanabhan (2003); Sukumar Azhikode (2004); S. Guptan Nair (2005); Kovilan (2006); O.N.V. Kurup (2007); Akkitham Achuthan Namboodiri (2008); Sugatha Kumari (2009); M. Leelavathy (2010); and M.T. Vasudevan Nair (2011).

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