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.

K. Kanakalatha
K. Kanakalatha
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 Nadu, India.

"Naan Kolai Seyum Penkal is an unprecedented collection of disturbing and darkly beautiful stories of the ‘other’ - the female voice in Singapore Tamil literature."

"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.

 

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