Dr. Syam Sudhakar, a bilingual poet who writes in English and Malayalam, won the 2022 Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize. A lecturer in English Literature at the St. Thomas College, Thrissur, he was chosen from among 114 entries received this year by a jury consisting of the noted poet, Mani Rao and two faculty members of the Department of English, University of Hyderabad.
Syam, a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Madras, has published widely, performed readings at home and abroad, and won several awards. His poems have been translated into Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Chinese and French. He has six poetry collections to his credit, including Drenched by the Sun (2013), Slicing the Moon (a bilingual video, 2013), and AvasanatheKollimeen (The Last Meteor, 2014). He has edited an anthology in English titled Shakespeare in the Age of Covid-19: Poems and Flash Fiction by Young Indians (2020) and four anthologies in Malayalam.
Noting what she called the ‘epic vision’ of Syam Sudhakar, the poet Mani Rao complimented him for the way he ‘stacks and links images effortlessly, restoring our awareness of the world as a creative project.’
Recognised as a significant award for creative writing in India, the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize was instituted by the Hyderabad-based Srinivas Rayaprol Literary Trust to recognize excellence in poetry written in English by poets in the age group of 20-40 years. The Prize is jointly administered by the Department of English, University of Hyderabad.
The inaugural prize was awarded in 2009 to Aditi Machado and in 2021 to Pervin Saket. Eminent poets like Jeet Thayil, Sudeep Sen, Keki Daruwalla, Arundhati Subramanian, K. Srilata, Manohar Shetty, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Ranjit Hoskote, Vivek Narayanan, E.V. Ramakrishnan, Gieve Patel, Mamang Dai and Vinay Dharwadker have been associated with the prize as jury members. The award, consisting of a citation and cash prize of Rs. 15,000 will be presented to the winner at a literary event to be held soon.