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Poets dominate 2009 Sahitya Akademi Awards

New Delhi: Poets dominated this year’s Sahitya Akademi award winners with eight of their books chosen for the honours in 24 categories of literature.

The poets honoured were: Praduman Singh Jindrahia (Dogri), Kailash Vajpeyi (Hindi), Jess Fernandes (Konkani), Raghu Leishangthem (Manipuri), Vasant Abaji Dahake (Marathi), Phani Mohanty (Oriya), Damayanti Beshra (Santhali) and Puviarasu (Tamil).

Those who won the awards for their collection of short stories include Vaidehi (Kannada), the late Manmohan Jha (Maithili), Samiran Chhetri ‘Priyadarshi’ (Nepali), Major Ratan Jangid (Rajasthani), Prashasya Mitra Shastri (Sanskrit) and Anand Khemani (Sindhi).

Well-known novelists Dhrubajyoti Bora (Assamese), the late Manoranjan Lahary (Bodo), U. A. Khadar (Malayalam) and Yarlagadda Laxmi Prasad (Telugu) were also honoured with the awards for 2009, Secretary of the Sahitya Akademi, Agrahara Krishna Murthy, told journalists.

Sri Chaturvedi Badrinath (English), Shirish Panchal (Gujarati), Mashal Sultanpuri (Kashmiri) and Abdul Kalam Qasmi (Urdu) won the awards for their books of criticism.

Sourin Bhattacharya (Bengali) for his book of essays, and Atamjit (Punjabi) for his book of plays also got the prestigious awards.

The Akademi also announced ‘Bhasha Samman’ for 2008, to Vishwanath Khaire and Surendranath Satapathy in the field of classical and medieval literature. This award carries a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and an engraved copper plaque.

Mr. Murthy said the government had agreed in principle to increase the Sahitya Akademi award cash prize from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh.

He hoped this year’s awardees would receive Rs.1 lakh on February 16, 2010 and an official notification was expected soon.

The Akademi had decided to honour authors of children’s literature from this year. “The details are being worked out whether to award the book or the overall contribution of the author. But we will hand out 24 awards every year,” Mr. Murthy said. — PTI

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