Tata Literature Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Tamil author Ambai

Ambai, a Tamil author, was given the coveted Tata Literature Live Lifetime Achievement Award for 2023. Ambai was born in Coimbatore as C.S. Lakshmi.

The Sahitya Akademi Award was previously given to Mumbai-based writer Lakshmi in 2021. She is well known for her feminist viewpoints. Her place as a pivotal character in Tamil literature is further cemented by this most recent accolade.

Lakshmi, who goes by the pen name Ambai, has made significant contributions to Tamil literature, especially in the short story category.

Her original use of language and form has had a lasting impact on Indian literature. She has gone deeply into the realities of women, examining love, relationships, quests, and journeys with extraordinary insight and focus.

Ambai’s journey started in Coimbatore, where she was born, in 1944. She continued her study, gaining diplomas from the universities of Bangalore and Madras before finishing her PhD at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

She began her career teaching in schools and colleges, but she also wrote fiction in addition to her academic work, building a sizable body of work in both Tamil and English.

The Sahitya Akademi Award she got for her book “Sivappu Kazhuthudan Oru Pachai Paravai” (A Red-Necked Green Bird) is one of her noteworthy accomplishments.

Ambai and her literary works:

Her writing talent is not limited to Tamil; several of her works are also available in English. Lakshmi Holmström’s translation of “Veetin Mulaiyil Oru Samayalarai” (A Kitchen in the Corner of the House) is a mesmerizing look at three generations of women in a Rajasthani family as seen through the eyes of a Tamil daughter-in-law.

Ambai joins a prestigious list of past recipients of the Tata Literature Live Lifetime Achievement Award, including eminent figures such as Mahesh Elkunchwar, Anita Desai, Ruskin Bond, Shanta Gokhale, Sir Mark Tully, Girish Karnad, Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Nagarkar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Khushwant Singh, Sir V.S. Naipaul, and Mahashweta Devi. She deserves to be included in this elite group of literary greats due to her contributions to writing, notably her creative examination of women’s experiences.

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