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Actor-playwright Girish Karnad was today conferred with Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution in the field of theatre. Karnad, who has been writing plays, often using history and mythology to tackle contemporary issues, has had his works translated into various Indian languages and helmed by directors like Ebrahim Alkazi, B V Karanth and Alyque Padamsee among others. At the eighth edition of Tata Literature Live! here, the 79-year-old playwright, famously known for writing 'Tughalak', spoke on the topic 'Playing on Twenty Tongues' after receiving the honour. "As a Kannada playwright, I have an identity. I know my audience, my language. As an Indian playwright, immediately my identity becomes fluid. It changes from one part to another. Is this a handicap? No. "That's what makes me richer and I hope if this kind of fluidity is constant, it can make the interpretation and reception of my plays richer.
This award is a recognition of the great fortune that I've had, that I was there when Indian literature was taking shape," Karnad said. The veteran actor-writer spoke of, how with Konkani as a mother tongue, studying in Marathi medium in the initial years, he moved to Sirsi, Karnataka and eventually became fond of English literature in college. Karnad said he was surprised how one day he just started writing and ended up finishing his first play, entirely in Kannada. At the LitFest awards event, several other top honours were also given. Tata Trusts' Big Little Book Awards', for Author in Bengali Children's Literature, went to Nabaneeta Dev Sen. This year, in its second edition, 'BLBA' recognised champions of Bengali children's literature. "In today's world, books are fighting for children's attention. Technology and other recreational activities like music are taking precedence over a more conventional form, that is reading," Nabaneeta said. "It's important to reignite children's imaginations with books and encourage more publishers to invest their time and energies towards children's literature. Overall, I am thrilled to receive this award," she added. 'Big Little Book Award' for illustration went to Proiti Roy, who said, the honour "means a lot, not just to me but all the children's book illustrators in India, to realise the work and get this kind of appreciation." At the function, 'Business Book of the Year' award went to the book 'Advice and Dissent: My Life in Public Service', by YV Reddy. 'First book of the year', non-fiction went to 'Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent' by Pranay Lal, while the fiction award went to Prayaag Akbar's 'Leila'. Book of the year, non-fiction, went to 'Age of Anger: A History of the Present' by Pankaj Mishra, whereas the fiction top honour was bagged by Easterine Kire's 'Son of the Thundercloud'. The 'Publisher of the Year' award went to Penguin Random House. The four-day LitFest concluded with a performance by sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan.
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