Tamil writer Vannadasan, who also writes poetry in the name of Kalyanji, and whose writings are shorn of negativism, has been selected for this year’s Sahitya Akademi award for his short story collection Oru Siru Isai.
Born S. Kalyanansundaram, he is the son of literary critic Thi.Ka. Sivasankaran, known as Thi.Ka.Si who is also a winner of Sahitya Akademi award for literary criticism in 2000. They are, probably, the only father and son duo to have won the award.
“The expression ‘God is in the details’ perfectly suits his writings. He pays enormous attention to details even while writing about minor incidents and ordinary people. The details are cultural in nature,” said writer M.D. Muthukumarasamy, who is also the director of the National Folklore Support Centre.
“The positive portrayal of his characters and nostalgia underpins all his writings and the same led to critics labelling him as a writer who revels in the past. It is for the same reason he was also ignored. But everything changed with time and it is impossible to come across a writer who does not try to write like Vannadasan,” said Mr Muthukumarasamy.
Most of Vannadasan’s characters are ordinary people whom everyone meets in their day-to-day life, but he attempts to delve deep into their minds. He empathises with them and his short stories reiterate the idea that he cannot hate anyone.
“He has elevated all his characters to the level of his great mind. Both in fiction and real life he cannot comment negatively about anyone,” said writer Vannanilavam, a close associate of Vannadasan.
“He has been writing for half a century and I have been following the journey of his writings. His writings are full of images and impossible for anyone to imitate. He is also consistent in his writings,” said Vannanilavam.
Mr. Muthukumarasamy said Vannadasan’s short stories were an extension of his poems. “The central aesthetics of his writings is that he is able to distance himself – for his own self and people around him – and observe,” he added.