Malayalam poetess Sugathakumari has been chosen for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2012 for her poetry collection ‘Manalezhuthu’ (The Writing on the Sand).

The award, constituted by the K. K. Birla Foundation, carries a cash reward of Rs.10 lakh, a citation and a plaque.

The 79-year-old was selected for the honour by a 13-member jury headed by former Chief Justice of India R. C. Lahoti after considering works published in 22 languages published during 2002-11. The award is given annually to an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language during the last 10 years.

Sugathakumari has to her credit 15 volumes of poetry and six collections of prose during a literary career spanning five decades. “Sugathakumari has established herself as a major poet of Malayalam with a unique voice of her own characterised by emotional empathy, humanist sensitivity and moral alertness. She began as a poet of subjective sentiments and personal quests but progressively widened her thematic range, assimilating into her poetry contemporary social concerns such as ecological crisis, oppression of women and failures of ideals that inspired the very idea of Indian nation,” the Foundation said.

The award-winning book is a collection of 27 poems published in 2006 and represents the “best of contemporary Malayalam poetry”, it said.

Sugathakumari, a passionate environmentalist, also headed Kerala’s State Women’s Commission. - PTI

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