The PEN Heart in Germany’s Darmstadt introduced the winners of the Hermann Kesten Prize on Monday, September 19. This yr’s award goes to Meena Kandasamy, an Indian author and poet, whose books embrace “The Gypsy Goddess,” (2014) and “Once I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Author as a Younger Spouse” (2017). She has additionally revealed anthologies of her poems, most notably “Ms Militancy” (2010) and “#ThisPoemWillProvokeYou and Different Poems” (2015).
“Truthfully, I’m not positive find out how to course of it,” Kandasamy informed DW in an announcement shortly after she heard she had received the award. “Earlier recipients embrace Günter Grass and Harold Pinter, and the load of what this prize means is definitely nonetheless sinking in,” she stated, including that she seen this prize “not solely as an affirmation of what I’ve accomplished, however of the historical responsibility that all of us have as progressive writers and artists in India in the present day.”
Fearless fighter of democracy
Vice-president of the German PEN Heart, Cornelia Zetzsche, referred to as Kandasamy “a fearless fighter for democracy and human rights, for the free phrase and towards the suppression of landless folks, minorities and Dalits in India: not a ‘Ms. Nice’ however extra of a ‘Ms. Militancy,’ just like the title of considered one of her books.” Zetsche was referring to Kandasamy’s 2011 e-book of poems titled “Ms Militancy.”
“With empathy, analytical precision and literary fervour, she [Kandasamy] goes via patriarchal, feudal buildings and identifies in speeches and writings, violence towards ladies, penalties of unbridled capitalism and the bloodbath of farmers in southern India,” Zetzsche added.
The Artwork and Tradition Minister Angela Dorn of the state of Hesse, which sponsors the prize, additionally lauded the Indian writer, saying Kandasamy rebelled in her books towards inequality and repression. “She offers victims of violence a voice and all the time speaks up when intellectuals, dissidents and lecturers face misery.”
Standing up for the persecuted
Kandasamy was born in 1984 in Chennai to folks who have been college professors. She has been writing poetry since she was a young person and calls herself an “anti-caste activist, poet, novelist and translator.” In accordance with her web site, her writing goals to deconstruct trauma and violence, whereas spotlighting the militant resistance towards caste, gender and ethnic oppression.
Kandasamy’s novels have been shortlisted for the Girls’s Prize for Fiction, the Worldwide Dylan Thomas Prize and the Hindu Literary Prize. This yr, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) of the UK. She additionally launched a group of essays in 2021 titled “The Orders Have been to Rape You: Tamil Tigresses within the Eelam Wrestle.”
Kandasamy has been vocal concerning the repression of authors in India, together with Telugu poet Varavara Rao, who had been arrested in 2018 for allegedly inciting caste-based violence. She additionally spoke in help of GN Saibaba, poet and professor at Delhi College, who’s in jail for his alleged ties with left-wing organizations.
The PEN Heart, Germany, will current the award to the Indian writer at a ceremony in Darmstadt on November 15 this yr. The winner will obtain an quantity of €20,000 ($19,996) as prize cash. This yr, the PEN Heart can be honoring the web site “Weiter Schreiben” (German for “Maintain writing”) with a particular award for encouragement, for giving authors in exile and writers from battle zones a platform to precise their ideas.
The Hermann Kesten Prize honours personalities, who within the spirit of the constitution of the PEN affiliation, arise for the rights of persecuted authors and journalists. Earlier awardees embrace Günter Grass, Anna Politkowskaya, Liu Xiaobo, Harold Pinter and Can Dündar.