The last decade has witnessed a major contribution from young Tamil writers and many of their works can, without any doubt, be placed on a par with world great literary achievements, said Su. Venkatesan, winner of the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel “Kaaval Kottam” for 2011. Addressing a felicitation organised by the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association, Mr. Venkatesan said while writers in other Indian languages celebrated conferring of literary awards on young writers, only in Tamil Nadu a controversy was created over giving award to him.Mr. Venkatesan, who is also the general secretary of the association, said he was happy about the award because it had shed light on the organisation he was working with and the people he had portrayed in his novel.
“I am also happy that stringent criticism also has ensured that the novel gained popularity and encouraged more people to read,” he said.
Justice K. Chandru said as a historical novel portraying the lives of ordinary people, “Kaaval Kottam” deserved a better place than Kalki's historical novels dealing with royalty. “Mr. Venkatesan has portrayed the people in their flesh and blood,” Mr Chandru said adding that the author had boldly dealt with a subject others would not come forward to write and speak.
Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission Secretary T. Udayachandran said the novel had achieved the zenith of fiction writing in many places. He said at a time a controversy over Mullaperiyar Dam was raging, reading of the novel, that had gone into details of the dam building in the wake of a Thatuvarucha Pancham (drought) would reveal on which side justice lay.
Director K. Balachandar said he was immensely pleased with Mr. Venkatesan's arrival in the film world with director Vasanthabalan making a film Aravaan based on one of the many sub-plots of the novel.“While many writers are ready to make compromise to gain entry into the film world, Mr. Venkatesan has no such plans when he was penning his work. This has to be appreciated,” he said.Another Sahitya Akademi winner Sa. Kandasamy, recalled the remarks of one of the juries of the award, to drive home the point that the prize had gone to a deserving writer.
Directors Balumahendra, Vasanthabalan, Samuthirakani, writers Melanmai Ponnusami, S. Tamilselvan and S. Ramachandran participated.