Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan Jr won the 56th Jnanpith Award and Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo won the 57th Jnanpith Award. The country’s highest literary award, the Jnanpith is bestowed on writers for “their outstanding contribution to literature”. Jnanpith Award is a literary award presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith organization to Indian writers every year. This was instituted in 1961 and is given only to Indian writers who write in Indian languages and English.
About the Nilmani Phookan Jr:
Phookan is a Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awardee. Based out of Guwahati, he is a poet of renown and has written Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Gulapi Jamur Lagna, and Kobita. Phookan was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990 and received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2002. Phookan is the third Assamese writer to have received the Jnanpith. The previous awardees were Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya in 1979 and Mamoni Raisom Goswami in 2000.
About the Damodar Mauzo:
Mauzo is based out of Majorda, Goa, and has previously won the Sahitya Akademi Award. He is known for his novels, such as Karmelin, and Tsunami Simon, and short stories Teresa’s Man and Other Stories from Goa. This is the second Jnanpith Award for a Konkani writer— the first being Ravindra Kelekar in 2006.