Noted short story writer and novelist Paul Zacharia won Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, Kerala government’s highest literary honour, Minister of Cultural Affairs AK Balan announced on Sunday.
The award will be presented by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a function that will be held at the Secretariat Durbar Hall. Coming with a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation, this year marks the 28th edition of the award.
The jury panel was led by the Kerala Sahitya Akademy president Vysakhan, and included poet K Sachithanandan, literary critic M Thomas Mathew, Sanskrit scholar KG Paulose, and secretary for culture Rani George.
“His cultural interventions are testimony to the fact that he is someone who observed the society around him keenly. Using stinging black humour, he turned the thoughts of an average Malayali into unusual literary moments,” said the jury, according to a report by The Hindu.
Apart from this, Zacharia has also won accolades, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1979, the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award in 2004, VKN Award, Odakuzhal Award, and Muttathu Varkey Award.
A former journalist, who has worked with various national media organisations; some of Zacharia’s best known works include Bhaskara Pattelarum Ente Jeevithavum, Oridathu, Oru Nasrani Yuvavum Goulishashthravum, Salaam America, Praise the Lord, Arkariyam and Oru African Yatra.
Zacharia’s works have been translated into English, German, and French. His novella Bhaskara Pattelarum Ente Jeevithavum was adapted into the 1994 Malayalam film Vidheyan. Directed and written by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, it starred Mammootty and MR Gopakumar in lead roles.
The previous winners of the award are Sooranad Kunjan Pillai (1993), Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai (1994), Balamaniamma (1995), T Padmanabhan (2003), Sukumar Azhikode (2004), S Guptan Nair (2005), Vishnu Narayan Namboothiri (2014), Puducherry Ramachandran (2015), C Radhakrishnan (2016), K Sachidanandan (2017), M Mukundan (2018), and Anand (2019).