Thakazhi Samaraka Samithi will be celebrating the birth centenary of the story-teller and Jnanpith laureate, late Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai with a slew of programmes in the district from the end of January.

Minister for Culture, K.C. Joseph was slated to kick-off the 90-day long centenary celebrations with a release of its logo in the district in the last week of January, Samithi secretary, Sreekumar Valiyamadhom said.

The Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy was likely to inaugurate the valedictory of the celebrations on April 17, he said.

The short stories of the great story teller will be the focus of the seminars to be conducted in 20 schools in the district. The Samithi is trying to start the first of these seminars in Thakazhi UP school, where the legendary writer had been a student. The contests for students of schools and colleges in caricature and essay writing were also planned, Mr. Sreekumar said.

The novels of the writer will be the subject of intense debate and discussions at the 20 select libraries in the district. These discussions, organised with the help of library office-bearers and members, would feature novel reading sessions followed by airing of views on the books by writers and participants, Mr. Sreekumar said.

The highlight of the programmes will be a seven-day literary festival organised from April 10, which happens to be the writer’s death day to April 17, his birthday. The festival will include literary programmes during the day and cultural programmes in the evening. The play based on Thakazhi’s novel, `Randidangazhi,’ (Two Measures) by Kannur-based Sanghachetana and presentation of folk songs will be part of the cultural programmes.

Actors, Madhu and Sheela, who immortalised the love pair, Pareedkutty and Karuthamma, in the film ‘Chemmeen,’ based on Thakazhi’s novel of the same name, will be honoured during the celebrations. Screenings of films based on Thakazhi’s works including `Naalu Pennungal’ (four women) by Adoor Gopalakrishnan and documentaries on Thakazhi will be held.

The Samithi is teaming up with Department of Culture to organize the events. Talks were also on to rope in Kerala Sahitya Akademi as one of the organizers, Mr. Sreekumar said.

Thakazhi museum-cum-memorial hall, run jointly by the Samithi and Department of Archaeology, has been spruced up for the ensuing celebrations. The neglected building got a fresh coat of paint, thanks to the intervention of Minister, K.C. Joseph, who sanctioned Rs one lakh for its renovation.