The Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 was conferred on writer, translator and film critic Shanta Gokhale on Wednesday. Poet K Satchidanandan was named the Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate for 2019.

“Both these awards recognise an exceptional body of work which has made a significant impact in the Indian literary field,” said the organisers of the literature festival. Gokhale will receive her award on November 17 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai while Satchidanandan will receive his award at the same venue on November 14.

“Frankly, the lifetime achievement award came as a huge surprise to me,” Gokhale said. “It was the strangest feeling to know that, while you were enclosed in your own world, writing and translating – not always for money or even for publication, but out of an inner compulsion and for your own pleasure – you were actually making sense to others whose opinion you held in high esteem. What a happy thought that was. And how humbling.”

Satchidanandan called the award a privilege. “ I am all the more happy and humbled when I think of the poets who have been found worthy of this honour earlier, whose contributions to Indian poetry have been matchless,” he said. “That I am a poet who writes poetry originally only in my mother tongue, Malayalam – though a good part of the oeuvre is now available in English and quite a few other Indian and foreign languages – adds to the joy of this national recognition which tends to elude, or comes late to, such poets.”

Anil Dharker, the festival director and founder praised the two intellectuals. “Shanta Gokhale’s scholarship, versatility and felicity of language is legendary,” he said. “K Satchidanandan is a pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam and his powerful and perceptive verse has gained him global renown.”

Gokhale, born in 1939 in the town of Dahanu in Maharashtra, recently published her memoir One Foot on the Ground: A Life Told Through the Body. She received the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 2015.

Satchidanandan, born in 1948, has represented India at several international literary meetings, and headed many national literary institutions. He is the recipient of many national and international awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2012.

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