Benyamin receives Vayalar 2021 Award

Versatile and prolific Malayalam author adds another accolade

Benyamin DeeCee
Malayalam writer Benyamin receives Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Literary Award 2021 for his literary work Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal Photo DeeCee Books

Renowned Malayalam writer Benyamin recently received the Vayalar Ramavarma Memorial Literary Award 2021 for his literary work Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal published in Malayalam by DC Books. He will be presented with the 45th Vayalar award on 27 October 2021 at Nishagandhi Auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram. The prestigious accolade includes a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh, a felicitation letter by Vayalar Memorial Trust office, and a bronze sculpture chiseled by noted Indian carver Kanayi Kunhiraman.

Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal is a political satire set around an ordinary village Manthalir which observes the impact of religion and politics on the culture of Manthalir over a period spanning two decades. The Vayalar award jury this year consisted of writers Dr George Onakkoor, Dr C Unnikrishnan and KR Meena.

Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal published in Malayalam by DC Books. Photo Amazon

Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi reported that Benyamin feels blessed and happy to have received the Vayalar award for the book that contains the essence of his soul. He added that 20 Communist Varshangal is a book that is close to his heart because it is a work that was created by mapping the political scenario which he witnessed while growing up and his perspective towards the ideologies in the Travancore region at the time.  

The Vayalar Award, instituted in 1977, honors the celebrated Indian poet and lyricist Vayalar Ramavarma (1928 – 1975). The award will be presented to Benyamin on 27 October, which also happens to be Vayalar’s death anniversary.

Previous winners of the prestigious Vayalar Award include MT Vasudevan Nair (1985), OV Vijayan (1991), M Mukundan (2003), and KR Meera (2014), KV Mohan Kumar (2018), V J James (2019), and Ezhacherry Ramachandran (2020) among other notable writers.

Benyamin – a serial award-winning author

Benyamin’s literary accomplishments include 18 books comprising novels, short story collections, travelogues, and memoirs in Malayalam. The English translation of his book Mullappooniramulla Pakalukal by Shahnaz Habib called Jasmine Days won the inaugural JCB Prize for literature in 2018. It describes the tale of a woman’s move to a middle eastern city amidst the Jasmine revolution. The work received the Crossword Book Award in 2019 and was long-listed for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award.

Benyamin’s most popular work till date Aadujeevitham (Goat Days), the hard-hitting true story of a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, has crossed over a hundred Malayalam reprints. The English translation by Dr Joseph Koyippally, Goat Days not only made it to the lists for Man Asian Literary Prize 2012 and DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 but also won the Kerala Literary Academy Award in 2009. The novel is said to have been originally penned for Malayalam magazine Mathrubhumi.

Aadujeevitham has been translated into numerous languages including Nepali, Odia, Tamil, Kannada, Arabic, and Thai. Goat Days, as the English translation is titled, enjoys the rare distinction of being used as a textbook in schools and universities including Bharathiar University, Kerala University, Pondicherry University, Calicut University, and the Kerala state 10th standard school syllabus.

Benyamin’s short story collection Euthanasia won the first Abu Dhabi Malayalam Samajam prize. The celebrated Malayalam author has also won the Muttathu Varkey Award 2019 and Padmaprabha Literary Award 2015 for his immense contribution to Malayalam literature. The Atlas Kairali Story Award, Abu Dhabi Sakthi Award, and Norka Roots Pravasi Literary Prize are other feathers in Benyamin’s cap.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here