Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar
Award Name : Jnanpith Award
Year of Award : 1987
Award for : Literature
Location : Pune, Maharashtra, India
Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar, popularly known as Kusumagraj was a Jnanpith Award winner of Marathi literature. He received the award in the year 1987 for his contributions to Marathi literature. He was an eminent Marathi poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer. In a career spanning about 50 years starting in pre-independence era, he wrote 16 volumes of poems, 3 novels, 8 volumes of short stories, 7 volumes of essays, 18 plays and 6 one-act plays. Visakha written in the year 1942 was a great inspiration to freedom struggle movement. In 1974, he received Sahitya Akademi Award in Marathi for Natsamrat. He was the chairperson of the World Marathi Conference in 1989. Vishnu has also translated great plays written by Oscar Wilde, Moliere, Maurice Maeterlinck and Shakespeare to Marathi.
He was born on 27 February 1912 in Pune, Maharashtra. His birth name is Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar. He later adopted the name 'Kusumagraj'. He completed his primary education in Pimpalgaon and high school education from New English School, Nashik. He passed matriculation from Mumbai University. His first collection of poems, Jeevanlahari was published in his 20s. He wrote a script for a mythological film in Marathi, Sati Sulochana in which he acted too. In 1942, Jnanpith award winner Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar, published Kusumgraj's compilation of poetry, Vishakha at his own expense, which happened to be the turning point of his writing career. A few of his poem collections include - Vishakha, Muktayan , Prawasi Pakshi, Meghdoot, Jeewanalahari, Chhandomayi, Himaresha, Marathi Mati and Kinara. A few of his story collections include - Satariche Bol Ani Iter Katha, Shakespearechya Shodhat, Kusumagrajanchya Bara Katha and Appointment.