S. K. Pottekkatt
Award Name : Jnanpith Award
Year of Award : 1980
Award for : Literature
Location : Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Sankaran Kutty Pottekkatt popularly known as S. K. Pottekkatt, is a famous Malayalam writer from Kerala state, South India. He is the author of nearly sixty books which include ten novels, twenty-four collections of short stories, three anthologies of poems, eighteen travelogues, four plays, a collection of essays and a couple of books based on personal reminiscences. Pottekkatt won the Kerala Sahitya Academy award of 1961 for the novel Oru Theruvinte Katha (The Story of a Street) and the Jnanpith Award in 1980 for the novel Oru Desathinte Katha (The Story of a Locale), which was made into an award winning film. His works have been translated into English, Italian, Russian, German and Czech, besides all major Indian languages. He was born on March 14, 1913 in Kozhikode. After completing his school and college studies he dedicated his full time to learn classic works of different languages. From 1937 to 1939, he worked as a teacher at Kozhikode Gujarati School. Later he shifted to different jobs and places. He has served as the Member of Parliament during 1962-1967 and his last work was based on his experiences at Delhi. However he couldn’t complete the work of ‘North Avenue’ and died of a stroke on August 6, 1982, aged 69. Actually two years earlier, his wife passed away. He was fully upset and his condition deteriorated.
Pottekkatt’s first story "Rajaneethi" was published in the Zamorin's College magazine in 1928. He became a well known name during 1930’s and his works - Makane Konna Madyam and Hindu Muslim Maithri need special mention. His works were published in magazines those days. By the 40s, he had established himself as a leading writer of fiction in Malayalam. In his travelogue ‘Vazhiyambalangal’ he illustrated his journey to Mumbai. Then he was associated with Indian freedom struggle and he wrote his first novel while he was in Mumbai - Naadanpremam (1941), a romantic short novel. It was followed by Yavanikakku Pinnil and Vishakanyaka. From there on, he began to quote his journeys as notes and got them published. Those travelogues are greatest of Malayalam literature. He has travelled Himalayas, Cairo, Europe, London, Egypt, Africa and many more. He has also published poetry, drama and collection of essays.