Indian author and poet Meena Kandasamy has been announced as this year’s recipient of the Hermann Kesten Prize by the PEN Centre in Germany’s Darmstadt. The Hermann Kesten Prize honours personalities who, in the spirit of the charter of the PEN association, stand up for the rights of persecuted authors and journalists.
The PEN Center, Germany, will present the award to the Indian author at a ceremony in Darmstadt on November 15 this year. The winner will receive an amount of €20,000 ($19,996) as prize money. This year, the PEN Center is also honouring the website “Weiter Schreiben” (German for “Keep writing”) with a special award for encouragement, for giving authors in exile and writers from conflict zones a platform to express their thoughts.
Who is Meena Kandasamy?
- Meena Kandasamy was born in 1984 in Chennai, Kandasamy is a feminist and anti-caste activist whose work revolves around the issue of gender, caste, sexuality, patriarchy, and oppression by the Brahmanical system.
- Her novels have been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Hindu Lit Prize. She previously held an editorial role at the English-language magazine ‘The Dalit’. Kandasamy has been a vocal critic of the arrest of fellow writers like Varavara Rao and former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba.
Her notable works include:
- The Gypsy Goddess (2014)
- When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife (2017)
- Ayaankali (2007)
- Tamil Tigresses (2021)
- Touch (2006),
- Ms Militancy (2010).