Third children’s writer from Sivaganga to win Bal Puraskar Award

Devi Nachiappan.

Devi Nachiappan.   | Photo Credit: handout_e_mail


When V Deivanai, who later became Devi Nachiappan, was made the organiser of ‘Kavimani Kuzhanthaigal Sangam’, a platform for children launched by her father ‘Kuzhanthai Kavignar’ Azha Valliappa at the age of 13 years, little did she realise the position would take her to greater heights and ultimately win Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Puraskar Award.

On June 14, when Sahitya Akademi announced ‘Bal Sahitya Puraskar’ award for Ms. Nachiappan, she became the third renowned children’s writer from the district to win the coveted award after ‘Children’s poet’ Sella Ganapathy in 2015 and ‘Kirungai’ Sethupathy in 2018. Interestingly, all the three drew inspirations from Azha Valliappa, a banker by profession.

“I owe the award to my father who had been a great source of inspiration,” Ms. Nachiappan told The Hindu. She was studying class VIII at Ramakrishna Mission Primary School in T. Nagar, Chennai, when her father made her the organiser of ‘Kavimani Kuzhanthaigal Sangam’, which met once in a month to tell stories to children and draw children’s programmes for Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR).

Her father, who penned innumerable children’s songs and stories, would not just recite the songs and tell the stories to children in the get-together but would seek the opinion of children and even change the texts and words if they were correct, recalls Ms. Nachiappan.

After she became the organiser, she had the opportunity to meet children’s writers and discuss children’s programmes for DD and AIR. She was a little girl among giants like ‘Vanoli Anna’ Koothapiran, the voice behind ‘Siruvar Solai’, a popular programme for children in AIR. It was at that time, she took interest in writing for children.

When she could not perfect the writing style, her father guided her to focus on Tamil translations of children’s stories in foreign languages and she came out with her maiden book ‘Pala desathu kutti kathaigal’ (short stories of different countries for children). It was published in Gokulam children’s magazine in 1984. She went on to write 12 books and win 10 awards. She won the Tamil Nadu government’s best teacher award and ‘Tamil Semmal’ award, she says.

Ms. Nachiappan did doctorate in ‘Kazhanthai ilakkiya paadalgalil uthigal’ from Alagappa University. After retirement in a few months, she would write more for children, especially on travel, she says.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:01:54 AM |

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