According to the general thought, Literature, in its broadest sense, is any written work. Etymologically, the term derives from Latin litaritura/litteratura, “writing formed with letters”. Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction and whether it is poetry or prose. It can be further distinguished according to primary forms such as the novel, short story, or drama.
Works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre). If we go by this definition and take only into account the written works, we have to go back centuries where the Kings had their own literary circles and people.
It is a broad classification that cannot be easily deduced to few lines but to bring back the memory lines that everyone must have had learned in their school times, Tenali Ramakrishna, one of the greatest yet wittiest poets from the Vijayanagara Empire of Sri Krishnadevaraya, was a great contributor to the Indian (South Indian) Literature.
Coming to the Gupta Dynasty, during the reign of Samudragupta I & II, many poets created beautiful literary works that define our culture. There are numerous folklore tales where many stories emerged from the then lifestyles that are written and preserved. These sample examples explain the existence and importance of the theory of Literature.
Not to forget to mention the gifts, rewards, appreciation, and accolades a poet or a writer was awarded back in time! The same is also reflected in Ancient Egyptian history, Greek Mythology, and Middle-East empires. Although Literature is merely defined as a work of writing, it is also defined as ‘ our past ‘or’ our collective heritage!
Thus, the above introduction exemplifies the existence of the concept of awards given to the most appreciated Literary works. Here comes the perfect definition now what the phrase Literary Awards means.
As the ages passed, the mode and medium of Literature have changed, but the vivacity of the very being of it hasn’t. Thus, the modern era comes up with this beautiful congregation of writers, authors, and poets who have worked their hearts out day & night and contributed to the better world are felicitated with the Awards! These awards not only define their prowess but also their dedication to Humanity.
There has been an interesting history for the awards given to the Literary works. From gold coins to jewels to lands to treasure, the modern-day awards are written forever with the name of the person, their work, and year, which can be traversed from anywhere in the world.
In this junction, it is also to be noted that every country in the world has contributed to the world literature that counts for the progress of Humanity. With a great fabric of many languages, cultures, traditions, flora, and fauna, each country also has its own way to reward its writers, authors, and poets.
Thus, this led to many types of awards. But again, when we talk about Humanity and every one belonging to the same race, some awards pertain to the whole world. The awards like The Booker’s Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and Nobel Prize for Literature mark the greatest honor that is given to the Literature of any country or a writer.
Taking a giant leap from the topic, the year 2020, though, is one of the scariest years of the century after the Spanish Flu and World War; the COVID pandemic has also had its best days and especially to the writers, authors, and poets who had a chance to explore and express the untouched layers of human minds. There have been many books, stories, articles, and poems from both fiction and non-fiction categories that are published.
In a top-down approach from the highest literary awards to the country-specific awards, many literary groups, book clubs, and publishing houses started this beautiful initiative of felicitating the writers, authors, and poets, irrespective of the person’s popularity or organization.
This initiative is more effective with the help of Social Media. As mentioned, the pandemic did some good things; the appreciation in the form of awards spread much higher than before. Everyone who reads or wants to read is aware of most of them or at least certain awards and their importance, making the person read.
India is creating its own mark ranging from a small group who appreciate local writers and authors to larger festivals like Tata Literary Festival or Hyderabad Literary festival or the very respectable Sahitya Akademi Awards. As said earlier, every country has its own named awards; India also has such.
Jnanapith Award is considered the highest literary award in India. It is conferred to those Indian citizens who have done some exemplary literature works in any of the official languages of India. Sahitya Akademi (Fellowship) is the second-highest literary award of India and the highest literary award conferred by the government of India. This award was established in the year 1968.
Some other important Literary Awards on a National Level are Vyas Samman, The Hindu Literary Prize, Yuva Puraskar, Sarswati Samman, Mahapandit Rahul Sankritayan Award, and many more. Some of the State-sponsored awards are Rabindra Puraskar, Kabir Samman, Sahitya Gaurav Puraskar, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, and so on. Apart from this, there are other important awards like Crossword Book Award, Tata Literature Award, Jaipur Literature Award, Hyderabad Literature Award, DSC prize for South Asian Literature, JCB Prize, and many more.