Celebrated Malayalam poet Akkitham wins 55th Jnanpith award for outstanding contribution to literature

Akkitham, 93, has written over 40 literary pieces in Malayalam, including poems, short stories and plays.

FP Staff November 29, 2019 16:04:44 IST
Celebrated Malayalam poet Akkitham wins 55th Jnanpith award for outstanding contribution to literature
  • The legendary Irupatham Noottantinte Ithihasam verse by Akkitham is believed to have ushered in modernism in Malayalam poetry.

  • Akkitham, 93, has written over 40 literary pieces in Malayalam, including poems, short stories and plays.

  • The prize includes an honorarium of Rs 11 lakh and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati.

Celebrated poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, popularly known as Akkitham, has won the 55th Jnanpith award for his outstanding contribution to literature. Akkitham, 93, has written over 40 literary pieces in Malayalam, including poems, short stories and plays.

Celebrated Malayalam poet Akkitham wins 55th Jnanpith award for outstanding contribution to literature

File image of Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri.

With the award announced on 29 November 2019, Akkitham becomes the sixth Malayalam writer after G Sankarakurup, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, SK Pottekkad, MT Vasudevan Nair and ONV Kurup to receive the honour, notes The New Indian Express.

Born in Palakkad, Kerala, Akkitham wrote his first poem at the age of eight. His legendary Irupatham Noottantinte Ithihasam verse is believed to have ushered in modernism in Malayalam poetry. Additionally, his Balidarashanam and Dharma Sooryan are rated by critics as the best among the modern Malayalam writings. In addition to being a famed writer, Akkitham also participated in the Indian freedom struggle alongside Mahatma Gandhi.

Apart from the Jnanpith award, which is considered the highest literary honour in India, Akkitham was also conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2017. In 2008, he was chosen for the literary award instituted by Akhila Kerala Ezhuthachan Samajam.

The 54th Jnanpith award was bagged by Amitav Ghosh, best known for his English fiction novels. The prize includes an honorarium of Rs 11 lakh and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati.

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