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BLBA announces winner illustrator and winner author of 2021. Heartiest Congratulations to the winners. The language this year for author category is Malayalam and the illustrator category is across all languages.

Winners

Deepa Balsavar

Profile:

Deepa was born in the big city of Mumbai and grew up loving animals and books and drawing. She wanted to become a vet but went to art college instead. She decided that if she couldn’t treat animals, she would write and draw stories about them, and about people and the world. She lives amidst dogs and cats, and will soon begin teaching at IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay. Deepa believes that a person’s happiness is connected to the happiness of everything around – every person regardless of who they are or where they come from, and every plant or animal that we share our earth with. The path to ‘happily ever after’ has demons and obstacles, but she dreams of a future where all children are equal, safe, cherished and free to pursue their dreams; where there are green forests, clean water and wide, open spaces to run.

 

Jury Speaks:

“Deepa’s illustrations represent diversity, compassion and sensitivity without losing the playfulness and charm that appeal to children and adults effortlessly. Her eye for detail is remarkable, and the scope and scale astonishing. Her delicate balance between colour, image and expression is outstanding, and has been a hallmark of all her works.”

Deepa Balsavar full interview
Deepa Balsavar citation
Deepa Balsavar notable work

Profile:

Deepa was born in the big city of Mumbai and grew up loving animals and books and drawing. She wanted to become a vet but went to art college instead. She decided that if she couldn’t treat animals, she would write and draw stories about them, and about people and the world. She lives amidst dogs and cats, and will soon begin teaching at IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay. Deepa believes that a person’s happiness is connected to the happiness of everything around – every person regardless of who they are or where they come from, and every plant or animal that we share our earth with. The path to ‘happily ever after’ has demons and obstacles, but she dreams of a future where all children are equal, safe, cherished and free to pursue their dreams; where there are green forests, clean water and wide, open spaces to run.

 

Jury Speaks:

“Deepa’s illustrations represent diversity, compassion and sensitivity without losing the playfulness and charm that appeal to children and adults effortlessly. Her eye for detail is remarkable, and the scope and scale astonishing. Her delicate balance between colour, image and expression is outstanding, and has been a hallmark of all her works.”

Deepa Balsavar full interview
Deepa Balsavar citation
Deepa Balsavar notable work

S. Sivadas

Profile:

S. Sivadas was born in 1940 in Vaikom, Kottayam. He has written over 200 books in the last 50 years. Inspired by his childhood memories, love for nature and deep commitment to science, his work has stood out significantly in the children’s literature canon in Malayalam. He served as a Professor of Chemistry in CMS College, Kottayam till his retirement in 1995. S. Sivadas writes on popular science, contemporary ecology, short stories, novels and other fictional tales with an emphasis on scientific outlook. He is a recipient of multiple awards like Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards, Kairali Book Trust awards and lifetime achievement award from the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AIWC) among others.

 

Jury Speaks:

“S. Sivadas exemplifies a rare commitment to both the art and craft of writing for children. This is evident in the sheer range of genres and subjects he has covered in his body of work spanning over the last 50 years. He stands tall as a pioneer of scientific knowledge in children’s literature.”

S. Sivadas full interview
S. Sivadas full interview (Malayalam)
S. Sivadas citation
S. Sivadas notable work

Profile:

S. Sivadas was born in 1940 in Vaikom, Kottayam. He has written over 200 books in the last 50 years. Inspired by his childhood memories, love for nature and deep commitment to science, his work has stood out significantly in the children’s literature canon in Malayalam. He served as a Professor of Chemistry in CMS College, Kottayam till his retirement in 1995. S. Sivadas writes on popular science, contemporary ecology, short stories, novels and other fictional tales with an emphasis on scientific outlook. He is a recipient of multiple awards like Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards, Kairali Book Trust awards and lifetime achievement award from the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AIWC) among others.

 

Jury Speaks:

“S. Sivadas exemplifies a rare commitment to both the art and craft of writing for children. This is evident in the sheer range of genres and subjects he has covered in his body of work spanning over the last 50 years. He stands tall as a pioneer of scientific knowledge in children’s literature.”

S. Sivadas full interview
S. Sivadas full interview (Malayalam)
S. Sivadas citation
S. Sivadas notable work

Shortlist

K. Sreekumar

Profile:

K. Sreekumar has over 190 books published for children across various genres. He holds a doctorate degree in theatre studies and began his career as a journalist in Mathrubhumi. He grew up in Ernakulam district and currently stays in Balussery, Kozhikode. A prolific writer, His most recent work is Malayala Balasahitya Charithram (History of Children’s Literature in Malayalam) published by Poorna Publications in November, 2021. His collected works on Soviet children’s literature and folktales, folktales from Kerala, and a series of picture books have been well received by children over time. He currently serves as the Coordinator (Research and Administration) at the Thunchan Memorial Trust, Tirur. Over his long career, he has received many awards including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Bheema Balasahitya Award, Pala K.M. Mathew Awards, Balasahitya Institute Awards and more.

 

Jury Speaks:

“K. Sreekumar stands out prominently with his writing that is never didactic. A writer of modern sensibilities, he mindfully picks his content and craft. Dr Sreekumar has, admirably, endeavoured to create a gentle awareness in the young mind by writing on topics like political violence and gender perception.”

K. Sreekumar full interview
K. Sreekumar full interview (Malayalam)

Profile:

K. Sreekumar has over 190 books published for children across various genres. He holds a doctorate degree in theatre studies and began his career as a journalist in Mathrubhumi. He grew up in Ernakulam district and currently stays in Balussery, Kozhikode. A prolific writer, His most recent work is Malayala Balasahitya Charithram (History of Children’s Literature in Malayalam) published by Poorna Publications in November, 2021. His collected works on Soviet children’s literature and folktales, folktales from Kerala, and a series of picture books have been well received by children over time. He currently serves as the Coordinator (Research and Administration) at the Thunchan Memorial Trust, Tirur. Over his long career, he has received many awards including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Bheema Balasahitya Award, Pala K.M. Mathew Awards, Balasahitya Institute Awards and more.

 

Jury Speaks:

“K. Sreekumar stands out prominently with his writing that is never didactic. A writer of modern sensibilities, he mindfully picks his content and craft. Dr Sreekumar has, admirably, endeavoured to create a gentle awareness in the young mind by writing on topics like political violence and gender perception.”

K. Sreekumar full interview
K. Sreekumar full interview (Malayalam)

Palliyara Sreedharan

Profile:

Palliyara Sreedharan is a prolific writer for children in Malayalam and has authored over 150 books in a career spanning over 50 years. He was born in Kunnur in 1950 and grew up there. He is the present Director of the Kerala Balasahitya Institute (Kerala State Institute of Children’s Literature). He is commitment to mathematics and dedicated his life towards writing about math for children in a way to mitigate the fear of the subject. He has authored several short stories, poems, dramas and historical fiction with mathematics as the central theme and written for children’s magazines too. Further, he has contributed to textbooks for NCERT and State Institute of Education. Over his long and fruitful career, he has received several prestigious awards like the Bharath Excellence Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Balasahitya Institute Award among others. He lives in Thiruvananthapuram and continues to write.

 

Jury Speaks:

“The ‘mathemagician of Kerala’ instils in his young readers the courage and confidence to embrace the beauty of mathematics. Palliyara Sreedharan reveals how simple, fun and engaging the subject can be within the light of literature. His books on mathematics go beyond the confines of the subject to a larger reading universe.”

Palliyara Sreedharan full interview
Palliyara Sreedharan full interview (Malayalam)

Profile:

Palliyara Sreedharan is a prolific writer for children in Malayalam and has authored over 150 books in a career spanning over 50 years. He was born in Kunnur in 1950 and grew up there. He is the present Director of the Kerala Balasahitya Institute (Kerala State Institute of Children’s Literature). He is commitment to mathematics and dedicated his life towards writing about math for children in a way to mitigate the fear of the subject. He has authored several short stories, poems, dramas and historical fiction with mathematics as the central theme and written for children’s magazines too. Further, he has contributed to textbooks for NCERT and State Institute of Education. Over his long and fruitful career, he has received several prestigious awards like the Bharath Excellence Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Balasahitya Institute Award among others. He lives in Thiruvananthapuram and continues to write.

 

Jury Speaks:

“The ‘mathemagician of Kerala’ instils in his young readers the courage and confidence to embrace the beauty of mathematics. Palliyara Sreedharan reveals how simple, fun and engaging the subject can be within the light of literature. His books on mathematics go beyond the confines of the subject to a larger reading universe.”

Palliyara Sreedharan full interview
Palliyara Sreedharan full interview (Malayalam)

S. Sivadas

Profile:

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S. Sivadas was born in 1940 in Vaikom, Kottayam. He has written over 200 books in the last 50 years. Inspired by his childhood memories, love for nature and deep commitment to science, his work has stood out significantly in the children’s literature canon in Malayalam. He served as a Professor of Chemistry in CMS College, Kottayam till his retirement in 1995. S. Sivadas writes on popular science, contemporary ecology, short stories, novels and other fictional tales with an emphasis on scientific outlook. He is a recipient of multiple awards like Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards, Kairali Book Trust awards and lifetime achievement award from the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AIWC) among others.

 

Jury Speaks:

“S. Sivadas exemplifies a rare commitment to both the art and craft of writing for children. This is evident in the sheer range of genres and subjects he has covered in his body of work spanning over the last 50 years. He stands tall as a pioneer of scientific knowledge in children’s literature.”

S. Sivadas full interview
S. Sivadas full interview (Malayalam)
S. Sivadas citation
S. Sivadas notable work

Profile:

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S. Sivadas was born in 1940 in Vaikom, Kottayam. He has written over 200 books in the last 50 years. Inspired by his childhood memories, love for nature and deep commitment to science, his work has stood out significantly in the children’s literature canon in Malayalam. He served as a Professor of Chemistry in CMS College, Kottayam till his retirement in 1995. S. Sivadas writes on popular science, contemporary ecology, short stories, novels and other fictional tales with an emphasis on scientific outlook. He is a recipient of multiple awards like Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards, Kairali Book Trust awards and lifetime achievement award from the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AIWC) among others.

 

Jury Speaks:

“S. Sivadas exemplifies a rare commitment to both the art and craft of writing for children. This is evident in the sheer range of genres and subjects he has covered in his body of work spanning over the last 50 years. He stands tall as a pioneer of scientific knowledge in children’s literature.”

S. Sivadas full interview
S. Sivadas full interview (Malayalam)
S. Sivadas citation
S. Sivadas notable work

Sippy Pallippuram

Profile:

Sippy Pallippuram was born in the Vypeen Island of Kochi. Inspired by his grandmother’s tales, he wrote poems and stories as a child. He began to write for children during his years of teaching in school. His first book Kallivandi was published in 1968 and since then he has written over 200 books. Generations of children have taken to his works and have extensively appreciated his poems and short stories. Majority of his writings are for early readers and some for older children and adolescents. His works have been published widely across publishers in Kerala for a range of genres including poems, short stories, novels and kathaprasangham (storytelling through poems). He has won an array of awards for his contributions to teaching and children’s literature. Prominent among them are Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for children’s literature (2010), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Balasahitya Institute Awards and Bheema Balasahitya Award. He currently lives in Palliport, Ernakulam and continues to write.

 

Jury Speaks:

“Sippy Pallippuram, the much beloved raconteur, keeps young readers enthralled with his unpretentious and uncomplicated narratives. His verse is of performance variety and about everyday things which readers will remember for its rhythm and sound. This has not changed since the last fifty years; his pen still creates magic.”

Sippy Pallippuram full interview
Sippy Pallippuram full interview (Malayalam)

Profile:

Sippy Pallippuram was born in the Vypeen Island of Kochi. Inspired by his grandmother’s tales, he wrote poems and stories as a child. He began to write for children during his years of teaching in school. His first book Kallivandi was published in 1968 and since then he has written over 200 books. Generations of children have taken to his works and have extensively appreciated his poems and short stories. Majority of his writings are for early readers and some for older children and adolescents. His works have been published widely across publishers in Kerala for a range of genres including poems, short stories, novels and kathaprasangham (storytelling through poems). He has won an array of awards for his contributions to teaching and children’s literature. Prominent among them are Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for children’s literature (2010), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Balasahitya Institute Awards and Bheema Balasahitya Award. He currently lives in Palliport, Ernakulam and continues to write.

 

Jury Speaks:

“Sippy Pallippuram, the much beloved raconteur, keeps young readers enthralled with his unpretentious and uncomplicated narratives. His verse is of performance variety and about everyday things which readers will remember for its rhythm and sound. This has not changed since the last fifty years; his pen still creates magic.”

Sippy Pallippuram full interview
Sippy Pallippuram full interview (Malayalam)

Jury for Author (Malayalam) Category

greystroke

Greystroke

Greystroke has been a writer and an illustrator of children’s books and stories for over 25 years, and began his professional illustrator’s career as the cartoonist for the “Indian Review of Books”. Since then, his work has been published by leading publishers in India. His book “Wailers Three”, published by Pratham Books, is a CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) recommended reader for English for Kendriya Vidyalayas.

He runs a publishing house called 1InchMargin, and is the art director for Melting Pot, a content and design house behind the award-winning Mahindra newsletter, ‘Skyline’. He also was the art director for the children’s magazines Chatterbox, Quest, Junior Quest, Hoot and Toot, between 1999 and 2013, for which he has illustrated over 250 stories and written several. He is also a photographer and a filmmaker, and a founder-partner at Funky Rainbow, a leading independent retailer of Indian children’s books.

Greystroke has been a writer and an illustrator of children’s books and stories for over 25 years, and began his professional illustrator’s career as the cartoonist for the “Indian Review of Books”. Since then, his work has been published by leading publishers in India. His book “Wailers Three”, published by Pratham Books, is a CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) recommended reader for English for Kendriya Vidyalayas.

He runs a publishing house called 1InchMargin, and is the art director for Melting Pot, a content and design house behind the award-winning Mahindra newsletter, ‘Skyline’. He also was the art director for the children’s magazines Chatterbox, Quest, Junior Quest, Hoot and Toot, between 1999 and 2013, for which he has illustrated over 250 stories and written several. He is also a photographer and a filmmaker, and a founder-partner at Funky Rainbow, a leading independent retailer of Indian children’s books.

basheer

Dr. M. M. Basheer

Dr. M. M. Basheer was born on 18th September, 1940 in Kaniyapuram village of Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. He studied BA and MA under the University College, Thiruvananthapuram and then went on to the University of Kerala for his doctoral studies. While in college, he worked as reporter of an evening daily Karmabhoomi published in Trivandrum. He was the editor of several literary magazines as Grandhalokom, Malayalavimarsam, Sahityalokom, Samskarakeralam, Samakalasangeetham and Keralakavitha. After completing his formal education, he was posted as Lecturer in the Department of Malayalam, University of Calicut, where he retired from. Dr. M. M. Basheer has written over 50 books from 1967 to 2017 on Malayalam literature. He has been a recipient of Puthezhath Raman Menon Award 1989, C.J. Smaraka Dr. Abraham Vadakkel Award 1993, Abudhabi Sakthi Award 2016 and Kerala Sahitya Parishath Award 2017.

Dr. M. M. Basheer was born on 18th September, 1940 in Kaniyapuram village of Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala. He studied BA and MA under the University College, Thiruvananthapuram and then went on to the University of Kerala for his doctoral studies. While in college, he worked as reporter of an evening daily Karmabhoomi published in Trivandrum. He was the editor of several literary magazines as Grandhalokom, Malayalavimarsam, Sahityalokom, Samskarakeralam, Samakalasangeetham and Keralakavitha. After completing his formal education, he was posted as Lecturer in the Department of Malayalam, University of Calicut, where he retired from. Dr. M. M. Basheer has written over 50 books from 1967 to 2017 on Malayalam literature. He has been a recipient of Puthezhath Raman Menon Award 1989, C.J. Smaraka Dr. Abraham Vadakkel Award 1993, Abudhabi Sakthi Award 2016 and Kerala Sahitya Parishath Award 2017.

paul

Paul Zacharia

Paul Zacharia writes in Malayalam under the pen-name ‘Zacharia’ and has published over 50 works of fiction and non-fiction including short stories, novellas, travelogues, film-scripts, collections of essays/columns for adults and two children’s books. His novel in English, ‘A Secret History of Compassion’ was published by Context in 2018. He has received literary awards that include the Kendra Sahitya Akademi and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. In November, 2013 he was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. He lives in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and is married to Lalitha. They have a daughter and a son.

Paul Zacharia writes in Malayalam under the pen-name ‘Zacharia’ and has published over 50 works of fiction and non-fiction including short stories, novellas, travelogues, film-scripts, collections of essays/columns for adults and two children’s books. His novel in English, ‘A Secret History of Compassion’ was published by Context in 2018. He has received literary awards that include the Kendra Sahitya Akademi and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. In November, 2013 he was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. He lives in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and is married to Lalitha. They have a daughter and a son.

sherylene

Sherylene Rafeeque

Sherylene Rafeeque is a freelance writer/editor based in Kochi. She started her career as an assistant editor for Mango, a children’s imprint in English by DC Books. After a brief stint as a sub-editor with The New Indian Express, she returned to Mango and her first love – books. She was part of the editorial team for The English Express, a series of English textbooks for the lower and middle grades in India; and Classic Folktales from Around the World, a 12-volume special edition. She has retold four books for children. Sherylene has worked with an NGO to promote the use of ICT tools in educating differently abled children. She is also Consultant Editor for a public policy think-tank in Kochi. Now a mother of two girls, she strives to get the best of her work and family life.

Sherylene Rafeeque is a freelance writer/editor based in Kochi. She started her career as an assistant editor for Mango, a children’s imprint in English by DC Books. After a brief stint as a sub-editor with The New Indian Express, she returned to Mango and her first love – books. She was part of the editorial team for The English Express, a series of English textbooks for the lower and middle grades in India; and Classic Folktales from Around the World, a 12-volume special edition. She has retold four books for children. Sherylene has worked with an NGO to promote the use of ICT tools in educating differently abled children. She is also Consultant Editor for a public policy think-tank in Kochi. Now a mother of two girls, she strives to get the best of her work and family life.

suneetha

Suneetha Balakrishnan

Suneetha Balakrishnan, a Creative Writing Trainer certified by the British Council, is a journalist, translator, editor, and writer; working in English and Malayalam, and across genres. She has two novellas, one poetry anthology, and five translations to her credit: including the Malayalam translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. She has written for The Guardian, The Hindu Literary Review, The Business Standard, The Caravan, The Mathrubhumi, and Indian Literature.

Suneetha won the 2010 Penguin-HT short fiction competition, the 2012 DWL Short Story Competition, is a Fellow of the Sangam House International Writer’s Residency 2009, a Featured Poet at the Prakriti Poetry Festival 2010, and a 2019 awardee of the Book Completion Fellowship at The Manipal Centre for Humanities. She is a committed bibliophage and lives in Thiruvananthapuram, her hometown.

Suneetha Balakrishnan, a Creative Writing Trainer certified by the British Council, is a journalist, translator, editor, and writer; working in English and Malayalam, and across genres. She has two novellas, one poetry anthology, and five translations to her credit: including the Malayalam translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. She has written for The Guardian, The Hindu Literary Review, The Business Standard, The Caravan, The Mathrubhumi, and Indian Literature.

Suneetha won the 2010 Penguin-HT short fiction competition, the 2012 DWL Short Story Competition, is a Fellow of the Sangam House International Writer’s Residency 2009, a Featured Poet at the Prakriti Poetry Festival 2010, and a 2019 awardee of the Book Completion Fellowship at The Manipal Centre for Humanities. She is a committed bibliophage and lives in Thiruvananthapuram, her hometown.

Jury for Illustrator Category

Aashti Mudnani

Aashti Mudnani

Aashti Mudnani is a professional book hunter, illustration lover, listener of stories and chai drinker. She started Lightroom, a bookstore for children’s books in Bangalore in 2013 with the help of several people. She loves being outdoors, especially where there are more wild things than cityscapes. But for now, she lives in Bangalore with her two daughters, husband and their cat, Inji.

Aashti Mudnani is a professional book hunter, illustration lover, listener of stories and chai drinker. She started Lightroom, a bookstore for children’s books in Bangalore in 2013 with the help of several people. She loves being outdoors, especially where there are more wild things than cityscapes. But for now, she lives in Bangalore with her two daughters, husband and their cat, Inji.

Proiti Roy

Proiti Roy

Proiti Roy is an illustrator and designer, who started her career in advertising. Soon after, she turned freelance and also started teaching children art and craft. During this period, apart from her advertising and corporate assignments, she began to focus on illustrating children’s books, which was something she wanted to do ever since she could remember. Now, living in Shantiniketan in West Bengal, she continues to illustrate as well as help and rescue street animals in distress.

Proiti Roy is an illustrator and designer, who started her career in advertising. Soon after, she turned freelance and also started teaching children art and craft. During this period, apart from her advertising and corporate assignments, she began to focus on illustrating children’s books, which was something she wanted to do ever since she could remember. Now, living in Shantiniketan in West Bengal, she continues to illustrate as well as help and rescue street animals in distress.

Rani Dharker

Rani Dharker

Rani Dharker is an author and an artist. Her first novel ‘The Virgin Syndrome’ was ecstatically received and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. Rani has a PhD in English Literature and was a professor of English at M S University of Baroda, where she was the leading light in its Shakespeare Society, directing plays and acting. She loves dogs and other four-legged creatures (as well as the ones that fly).

Rani Dharker is an author and an artist. Her first novel ‘The Virgin Syndrome’ was ecstatically received and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. Rani has a PhD in English Literature and was a professor of English at M S University of Baroda, where she was the leading light in its Shakespeare Society, directing plays and acting. She loves dogs and other four-legged creatures (as well as the ones that fly).

Sunandini Banerjee

Sunandini Banerjee

Sunandini Banerjee is both Senior Editor and Senior Graphic Designer at Seagull Books, and designs all of Seagull’s book covers and catalogues. A digital-collage artist whose work has been exhibited in India and abroad, she is a translator as well as a member of the faculty at the Seagull School of Publishing.

Sunandini Banerjee is both Senior Editor and Senior Graphic Designer at Seagull Books, and designs all of Seagull’s book covers and catalogues. A digital-collage artist whose work has been exhibited in India and abroad, she is a translator as well as a member of the faculty at the Seagull School of Publishing.

Thejaswi

Thejaswi Shivanand

Thejaswi is a teacher at Center for Learning, an alternative school near Bangalore. He is a part of running the school library and interacting with children from age six years to teenagers, over books, for the past ten years and also teaches science. He is a consultant for library programmes and a faculty at the Library Educators Course (English), run by Bookworm, Goa.

Thejaswi is a teacher at Center for Learning, an alternative school near Bangalore. He is a part of running the school library and interacting with children from age six years to teenagers, over books, for the past ten years and also teaches science. He is a consultant for library programmes and a faculty at the Library Educators Course (English), run by Bookworm, Goa.

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