I was glad to hear that Nanjil Nadan is the Sahitya Akademi award winner in Tamil this year. As with any award given by the Government there have been some strange choices over the years. This year however the Akademi has chosen the right person.
Nanjil's short stories are the product of his land. Not for him the magical realism wave that swept Tamil literature in the 80s or the post modernism of 90s. He is like the village story teller, recounting tales of his travel. His stories are based on simple day to day events, but his writing is like alchemy that transforms these plain events into universal truths.
Of all the serious writers in Tamil today, he is the one of the easiest to read. (Asokamithran is the other name that comes to mind). Nanjil's forte is short story. His novels read like an extension of his stories. Reading his short story collection is like reading his biography - starting from Nagercoil, working as a travelling sales man in Mumbai and then the move to Coimbatore to settle down.
A real tribute to him would be to get more readers to read him. So if any Tamil reader of this blog is interested, I can lend my copy of Nanjil's short story collection for a week.
My previous posts on Nanjil Nadan