SAARC LITERARY AWARDS
A SAARC Literary Awards Advisory Committee was formed, with eminent writers from all the SAARC countries as its Members.
• FOSWAL conferred the First-ever SAARC Literary Award for Lifetime Creative Excellence on eminent Bangla writer Shamsur Rahman of Bangladesh at the Third SAARC Writers Conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 22-24 March, 2001. Besides a cash award of Two Lakh Indian Rupees (2,40,000 takas), the SAARC Award carried a Shawl of Honour, a Citation and, of course, regards and affection on behalf of the SAARC writers” fraternity.
• During 2002-2006, five writers were selected for the SAARC Literary Awards carrying Rs. 51,000 in cash, a Shawl of Honour and a Citation each. These writers are :
• Dr. Laxman Gaikwad, India
The Outstanding Young Dalit Marathi Writer was honoured with the “SAARC Literary Award” for “his exceptionally sensitive writing and for his ceaseless crusade for denotified and nomadic tribes.”
• Ms. Zaheda Hina, Pakistan
A novelist, short story writer and gender activist, has been awarded “SAARC Literary Award” for “Outstanding Contribution to Literature” and for “her intense commitment to human values, courage and innovativeness, and for her lifelong struggle for just causes.”
• Dr. Ganesh Narayandas Devy, India
A linguist, literary critic and social activist who writes in English, received the “SAARC Literary Award” for Innovative Contribution to Literature and Commitment to Social Reform, for “his social concerns, for the depth of his understanding of culture and society, for his social commitment particularly for the Adivasi Tribals, and the sacrifices he has made for their cause.” Dr. Ganesh Narayandas Devy is a social and human rights activist and works among and for tribals and adivasis, also in collaboration with the activist writer Mahasveta Devi.
• Mr. Tissa Abeysekara, Sri Lanka
An eminent fiction writer and film maker, and a committed friend of FOSWAL. The Chief Coordinator of FOSWAL in Sri Lanka.
He expired early this year. A great loss to the FOSWAL creative family !
• Ms. Maitreyi Pushpa, India
An eminent Hindi novelist, was awarded “SAARC Literary Award” for “Outstanding Contribution to Literature”, for bringing alive “the agony in the lives of people who are born with the stigma of a criminal tribe, never having the rights of citizenship, even deprived of the basic human rights” in her novels.
• During the SAARC Writers Conference held on April 3 and 4, 2007, in New Delhi, Ms. Mahasveta Devi, eminent Bangla writer and social activist was honoured with the Literary Award for Lifetime Creative Excellence for her outstanding contribution to iterature, and for her selfless work for the downtrodden and marginalized, the tribals and adivasis.
Ms. Mahasveta Devi is one of the most eminent and respected Contemporary Indian writers.
The Award carried cash prize of 2,00,000 Indian rupees, a Shawl of Honour and Citation.
• During the Poetry Festival of Both Punjabs, in October 2007 SAARC LIFETIME LITERARY AWARD was presented by H.E. Dr. A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, to Dr. Syed Akhtar Hussain Akhtar, eminent Punjabi scholar and poet from Pakistan, and Chief Editor of “Lehran”, the first and the only Punjabi literary magazine brought out by him in Pakistan, against all odds.
The award carried a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000, and Ceremonial Shawl of Honour, and Citation.
• The SAARC Festival of Literature held in March 2009, at Agra, was also the occasion for the SAARC Literary Awards 2009, which were offered to eminent writers, and a creative journalist
• Uday Prakash, distinguished Hindi poet and fiction write
• Jayanta Mahapatra, well-known Oriya and English poet
• Kamaal Khan, prominent, creative media person
And SAARC Young Writers’ Awards – 2009 which were offered to five eminent poets :