The 6th Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry prize was awarded to Ranjani Murali on 18 October, 2014. The award and prize money was handed over to Ranjani by Ranjit Hoskote, a well- known poet, curator and cultural theorist. The US-based poet became the winner in a contest that had more than 175 entries this year. Named after the pioneering Indian English poet, Srinivas Rayaprol, the award is given annually to poets in the age group of 20-40 years.
The jury comprised Prof. Sachidananda Mohanty, Prof. Mohan G. Ramanan and Ranjit Hoskote. The ceremony began with the introduction of Srinivas Rayaprol by his daughter Prof. Manorama Kanuri. She gave a background to the award, which was instituted in 2009 through an MoU between the Srinivas Rayaprol Literary Trust and the Department of English of University of Hyderabad. She recounted her father’s professional life as a top-ranking civil engineeer in the Andhra Pradesh government, a job he did with great integrity, even as he pursued his passion in poetry.
Dr. Murali Manohar, Head of the Department of English, UoH, welcomed the audience and spoke about the relevance of poetry in the contemporary age. Prof. Mohan Ramanan, one of the jury members, explained the selection procedure and said that Ranjani’s poetry stood out for her distinctive style, marked with elegance and economy of words. He averred that Ranjani has raised the bar for the prize and wished her a bright poetic future.
The winner, Ranjani Murali, was effusive in thanking the jury and the Trust and said that it was an honour that was worth receiving in person. She took the opportunity to thank Ranjit Hoskote who, she said, was one of her inspirations. She read out some of her poems, like “Prostitutes: Nocturne”, “Flashback Sonnet: B Film Actress Seeks Lost Bastard Child” and “Audio to a Alcatraz Prison” to much appreciation by the audience.
Prof. Sachnidananda Mohanty talked about the literary contributions of Srinivas Rayaprol. He mentioned that he was the editor of the literary journal, “East and West” in which many eminent writers and poets had published. In his introduction to the Chief Guest, Ranjit Hoskote, he announced that he has been shortlisted for the inaugural Khuswant Singh Award.
On this occasion, the Chief Guest, Ranjit Hoskote, shared his appreciation for the Srinivas Rayaprol Trust as well as the Department of English for instituting the award and remembering the work of the late poet. He said that the event marked the poet’s work. He read poems from his new collection “Central Time”.
Dr. Aparna Rayaprol, Professor at the Department of Sociology, UoH and the youngest daughter of Srinivas Rayaprol, thanked the jury, winner and the audience for making the event a grand success. She also presented a collection of original volumes of ‘East and West’ journal dating back to the 1950s, along with a collection of Srinivas Rayaprol’s poems to Ranjit Hoskote.
Saumya Painuli, MA-Communication