Eezham Tamil writer wins national award of Singapore
[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 December 2008, 15:56 GMT]
Kanagalatha Krishnasamy Iyer, a Singapore national of Eezham Tamil origins, won the national literature prize, 2008, of Singapore on Wednesday for her collection of short stories, Naan Kolai Seyum Penkal (The Women I Murder). Hailing from Negombo in the Western Province of Sri Lanka, Kanagalatha first migrated to Jaffna after the 1983 pogrom against Tamils and later settled in Singapore. An old student of Vijayaratnam Maha Vidyalayam, Negombo and Jaffna Hindu Ladies College, Kanagalatha is currently News Editor of Tamil Murasu, the national Tamil daily of Singapore.
The Singapore literature Prize is a biennial award for outstanding published works of fiction and poetry in each of the four official languages, English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It carries a cash award of 10,000 S$.
Extracts from a brochure appended with the press release of the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) follow:
Latha has published two collections of modern
Tamil poetry: Theeveli (Firespace), 2003, and
Paampuk Kaattil Oru Thaazhai (A Screwpine in
Snakeforest), first edition 2004, second edition
2005. Her poems have been anthologized in
Journeys: Words, Home and Nation, a multilingual
anthology published by The Centre for the Arts,
National University of Singapore (1995), Rhythms-A
Singaporean Millennial Anthology of Poetry,
published by the National Arts Council (2000), and
Kanavum Vidiyum - Anthology of Contemporary
Tamil Poetry by Women Poets by the Sahitya
Academy of India (2003).
Her poems and short stories
have also appeared in prominent international Tamil
literary journals like Kanayaazhi (India),
Kaalachuvadu (India), Uyirnizhal (France) and
Sarinigar (Sri Lanka). Theeveli is used as a BA
literary text in Periyar University in Tamil
"Naan Kolai Seyum Penkal is an unprecedented
collection of disturbing and darkly beautiful stories of
the ‘other’ - the female voice in Singapore Tamil
"She chronicles the ordinary absurdities of Singapore
life while addressing the bigger questions by creating
her worlds with a wonderful economy, the perfectly
weighted use of details and voice."
"The multilayered tales of femininity, botched
relationships, psychological breakdown, family
tensions, struggle and negotiation for space and
identity as a ‘minority gender’ within a maledominated
ethnic minority, take place outside
comfortable and familiar patterns in the distinctive
Singapore multi-ethnic social milieu, providing the
space for excitement, danger, and transformation."
Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Sports, Community Development, Youth and Sports presented the awards.