Akademi honour for two from state

Gayatri Saraf and Suryamani Khuntia from the state will be given the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Awards for their short story collection and translation works.

By ANWESHA AMBALY in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 22.12.17
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Bhubaneswar: Gayatri Saraf and Suryamani Khuntia from the state will be given the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Awards for their short story collection and translation works.

Saraf, 65, has been selected for her collection Itabhati Ra Shilpi, which is primarily based on the condition of migrant labourers in the state.

"We are facing a very grim situation in the state today. I have always been concerned about these issues which reflect in my writing," said Saraf, who is now working on a novel based on the issue.

Apart from some stories on the migrant labourers, the book has stories on social problems.

Saraf feels the literary scenario in the state is developing. "A number of young writers in the state are producing good works these days. They have explored a number of unusual genres and that is a real boost to the state's literary future," said the former government school principal.

She said Odia books should be made available on various online platforms to ensure better reach.

Khuntia, who won the award for his book Yuganta, translation of a Marathi book written by Iravati Karve.

"I have spent all my life teaching kids in my village. For me, this award is a huge thing," said the 70-year old writer, who is now working on translating the book Khana Mihirer Dhipi by Bani Basu.

He had won the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award in 2003.

Khuntia feels the translation holds a lot of importance in today's society.

"Translation has been a part of our literature for a very long time. But during the past decade, it has got a new lease of life with a large lot of young writers getting into the field," said the writer.

Khuntia devotes four hours every day - 4.30am to 8.30am - on writing.

"Unfortunately, Odia literature hardly reaches out to the world due to lack of translated texts," he said.