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Balamaniamma Award presented

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, DEC. 9. Children should be provided the freedom of a butterfly entering a garden in selecting books for reading, said literary critic Sukumar Azhikode.

He was speaking after the presentation of the first Balamaniamma Award at the Eighth International Book Fair on the Ernakulathappan grounds here today.

Poet Sugathakumari was given the first Balamaniamma Award for her lifetime contribution to literature. The award for best publishing house was given to DC Books for its series called Nattarivukal (Indigenous Knowledge), published between 2003 and 2004. The awards were instituted by the International Book Festival committee.

Children now are forced to guided reading by parents and teachers. This would amount to restricting the creative instincts of children, Dr. Azhikode said. Our contemporary leaders were unable to admit the mistakes they have committed before the public because of the flaws in the education they had, he added. n his presidential address, literary critic M. Achutan said that Sugathakumari represented the generation that succeeded Balamaniamma. Her works had a mixture of romanticism and harsh, critical realism, he added.

Ms. Sugathakumari was selected by a panel comprising literary critic Prof. Achutan, poets K. G. Sankara Pillai and P. Narayana Kurup. The publisher was selected by a panel consisting K. M. Roy, M. V. Benny and Sasi K. Warrier. The award included a plaque and a citation.

Suvarna Nalappat, daughter of Balamaniamma, delivered the commemorative lecture. Earlier in the day, the former Vice-Chancellor of Cusat, M. V. Pylee, inaugurated the `dictionary mela' by DC Books, by handing over a copy to literary critic Vaikom Murali.

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