Moortidevi Award for Akkitham

The new year has brought for Kerala one of the coveted literary awards in the country with renowned poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboodiri being chosen for the prestigious Moortidevi Award of the Bharatiya Jnanpith for 2009. O.N.V. Kurup had been chosen for the Jnanpith Award late last year and the award is to be presented to him here on February 11.

Achuthan Namboodiri, known by his nom-de-plume Akkitham, has been chosen for the award for his selected poems. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.2 lakh, citation and a statuette of Goddess Saraswati. Akkitham was chosen for the award by a selection committee chaired by T.N. Chaturvedi and comprising, among others, Malayalam poet and Kendra Sahitya Akademi former secretary K. Satchidanandan.

Akkitham is considered one of the harbingers of modernity in Malayalam literature. He literally burst into the literary scene with his celebrated Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam (Saga of the Twentieth Century), a poem that brought him not only bouquets and brickbats but also widespread acclaim as a profoundly contemplative poet.

He went on to publish 46 poetry collections, several essays and short stories including such major works as Balidarsanam, Arangettam, Nimishakshethram, Idinju Polinja Lokam and Amrthaghatika. He had translated Srimad Bhagavatham, a work spread over 2,400 printed pages.

Akkitham, who turns 85 on March 18, had won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for Balidarsanam in 1973. The Kerala government had honoured him with the prestigious Ezhuthachan Puraskaram in 2008.

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