Thirtyfive years after winning the Ilakkiya Chinthanai award for his first short story Viradham, Tamil writer Nanjil Nadan, has won the Sahitya Akademi award for 2010.
“I am happy. But I am not in a mood to celebrate. I have always been a critic of the Sahitya Akademi, because I strongly feel that it has neglected good writers. Still, I appreciate the gesture,” Nanjil Nadan told The Hindu from Coimbatore.
He has penned six novels, 112 short stories (now available in three volumes), several essays and poetry. The Sahitya Akademi award is for his short story collection, ‘Soodiya Poo Soodarka.’ His novel ‘Thalaikeezh Vigithangal’ was adapted and made into a Tamil film titled ‘Solla Marandha Kadhai.’
“I am of the opinion that awards should be given to a writer when he is at his peak. What is the point in giving the award as a retirement benefit,” he asked. In fact, one of his short stories ‘Kumbamuni’ is about a writer who rejects the award.
Born as G. Subramaniam, he chose to write under the name Nanjil Nadan, asserting his pride in belonging to the fertile lands in Kanyakumari district.
If his earlier works eloquently captured the plight of people uprooted from their soil and forced to eke out a living as best as they can, the characters he came across during his travels across the country as a sales executive are featured in his subsequent works.
“Basically his writings vent anger against a society that leaves individuals hungry. He portrays the humiliations and sufferings of people who have had to leave their land and work somewhere,” says novelist M. Gopalakrishnan, who wrote the preface for Nanjil Nadan’s short story collections.
Mr. Gopalakrishnan says Nanjil Nadan’s essays are an expression of anger and a criticism of society and the helplessness of the ordinary man.
“His style is unique and always succeeds in retaining the reader’s interest,” he says.
Humour and satire are the underlying aspects of his works. He effortlessly brings in the style and references found in the Tamil classical literary tradition into his work.