Writers sometimes live under the pleasing illusion that they will be remembered for all time. This is a fragile dream for many reasons...
Satchidanandan is an Indian poet, essayist and translator writing in Malayalam, the language of Kerala and a bilingual critic and editor. He has a doctorate in post-structuralist poetics and was Professor of English at Christ College, University of Calicut, Kerala, editor of Indian Literature, the journal of the Sahitya Akademi (The National Academy of Letters) and later the Chief Executive of the Akademi. He then worked as a Language Policy Consultant for the Government of India and has been associated, as editor, with Katha, Delhi and the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature. He edited the poetry quarterly Kerala Kavita in Malayalam and the series of translations from South Asian literature, The South Asian Library of Literature in English. He retired in 2011 as Director and Professor, School of Translation Studies and Training, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi. He was also on the Project Advisory Board of Indian Literature Abroad, and the National Executive of the National Translation Mission and has been on the Executive Board of Sahitya Akademi besides being on the academic/governing bodies of JNU, (Delhi), Ambedkar University(Delhi), Malayalam University(Kerala) and has been on the PhD. Board of four universities. Until recently he was a National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.
Satchidanandan has 24 collections of poetry in Malayalam, 16 collections of world poetry in translation, four plays, three books of travel and 23 collections of critical essays and interviews besides four collections of essays in English. He has edited several anthologies of poetry and prose in Malayalam, English and Hindi. He has 27 collections of his poems in translation in 18 languages, including five collections in English, six in Hindi, four in Tamil and two in Kannada, two in Oriya, two in Assamese and one each in Irish, Arabic, Chinese, German, French, Italian Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Gujarati. He has won 36 awards and honours for his literary contribution including Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award,( Kolkata) Gangadhar Meher Award( Orissa), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (5 times), Kumaran Asan Award ( Chennai), Bapureddy National Award, NTRamaRao award ( Hyderabad) Kuvempu Samman ( Karnataka), Kerala Varma Award, Ulloor Award, P. Kunhiraman Nair Award, Odakkuzhal Award, Vayalar Award, SBT Suvarna Mudra, Padmaprabha Puraskaram (Kerala), Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan Award, (Kuwait), Baharain Keraleeya Samajam Award ( Bahrain), Oman Kerala Cultural Centre Award ( Muscat), Kamala Surayya Award ( Dubai), Kusumagraj National Award (Maharashtra), Sahitya Akademi Award for Malayalam and Kala award for total contribution from London. His more recent awards include Poetry for Peace Award from the Govt of UAE, V. Aravindakshan Award, Kavyotsav Award, Hariyorma Award and Kamal Surayya Memorial award from Kerala. He has also won Green India Excellence Award for environmental writing besides Sahityasree from the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Delhi, Senior Fellowship from the Department of Culture, Government of India, Sreekant Verma Fellowship from the Government of Madhya Pradesh and the K.K. Birla Fellowship for Comparative Literature. He is a Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. Many of his books of poetry and criticism have been textbooks in Universities and there are several PhDs on his poetry. A film on him, Summer Rain was released in 2007. His name was in the list of first ten Nobel prize probables in 2011.
Satchidanandan has represented India in several international literary events like the international literary festivals in Sarajevo, Berlin, Montreal, Beijing, Moscow, Ivry-sur Seine, Rotterdam, Jaipur, Delhi, Hay Festival-Trivandrum, Medellin International Poetry Festival in Colombia, and book fairs at Delhi, Lahore, Kolkata, Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, Leipzig, London, Paris and Moscow. He has also read and talked at Bonn, Rome, Verona, Ravenna, Leiden, New York, St. Petersburg, Damascus, Aberystwyth, Manchester, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Sharjah, Singapore, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Venezuela etc. besides most of the cities in India. Satchidanandan has been honoured with Knighthood of the Order of Merit by the Government of Italy, with the Dante Medal by the Dante Institute, Ravenna and the India-Poland Friendship Medal by the Government of Poland. He has also been an activist for secularism, environment and human rights.