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Book prize recognises writers for contribution to literature

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 11, 2019 1:20 am
Kethoser Kevichusa, center, receives the Gordon Graham Prize for Naga Literature from Neiphiu Rio, left, on April 9 at Hotel Vivor in Kohima.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, April 10 (EMN): A recent literature award in Nagaland called the Gordon Graham Prize for Naga Literature was given to two writers during an award ceremony that was conducted at Hotel Vivor in Kohima on Tuesday evening. The winners of the award are Easterine Kire and Kethoser Kevichusa.
Winner in the non-fiction category Kethoser Kevichusa dedicated the award to the living descendants of those who were killed in the Battle of Kohima during the Second World War. More so, to the families of Indian and Burma (Myanmar) military forces who lost their lives during the battle. His book ‘Forgiveness and Politics’ contains philosophical aspects of forgiving as well as politics, he said. He described the book as ‘off the head but from the heart, for the hand.’

In her acceptance speech, Easterine Kire, winner in the fiction category thanked God, and the organisers, for selecting her book ‘When the River Sleeps’ for the award. “It is a great honour to be selected for this prestigious award, and I am very grateful,” she said.

During the programme, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio congratulated the Kohima Education Society (KES) for the “commendable” job and “noble” initiative which will ‘go a long way in encouraging Naga authors and writers.’

Congratulating Kire and Kevichusa for being the “deserving winners” of the award, he said ‘there couldn’t have been more worthy winners of the award this year—you are not only celebrated authors but also role models for our youth—our youths aspire to be like you.’ He hoped they will motivate youngsters to be creative.

The KES instituted this award in memory of Gordon Graham in the 75th year of the Battle of Kohima, WWII. The initiative to award Naga authors for both fiction and non-fiction work of literature will help promote young promising writers towards excellence. Further, it will encourage reading and writing within the Naga community, Rio said.

The chief minister felt that the youths need to develop the habit of reading to ‘open minds.’
‘The awards and the winners have the potential to open the gates of knowledge and learning,’ he said and hoped that the state would be able to produce more ‘acclaimed authors’ across the world in the future.

Such will be a true tribute to Gordon Graham and his effort towards helping the cause of education and excellence amongst Naga youths and their society, Rio said.

Charles Chasie, president of KES, gave an introduction to the first Gordon Graham Prize for Naga Literature, its winners, and judges. He said the award was the result of long deliberations.

The key intent of the award was to ‘facilitate free and rational thinking and to assist the thinking elements in Naga Society to play a larger and meaningful role and not to confine and restrict rational thoughts and debates to academic institutions alone.’

He said the award was the first prize of its kind in the Naga society although there were ‘not many participants we were gratified with its quality.’

‘The idea was to encourage budding writers to write and to build confidence in the written word and to recognise and reward the knowledge-keepers and idea givers of Naga society,’ said Sylvia May, chief executive officer of Kohima

Educational Trust (KET), UK. She described her father, Gordon Graham, as “a writer his entire life,” and “classic scholar,” in whose memory the award was instituted.

Aküm Longchari, one of the judges, spoke about the criteria of judging: “Knowledge-keepers and idea givers of Naga society” was the foremost factor to it. Other criteria included content, knowledge and research of the subject matter; engagement with issues; originality and authenticity; clarity and flow; language, sensitivity, contextualisation; and the book’s overall impression and relevance, Longchari pointed out.

The awardees were given INR one lakh and a certificate each.
CM Rio gave away the award to Kethoser Kevichusa, while CEO Sylvia May handed the award to Easterine Kire’s brother Albert Kire, who received the award in her absence.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 11, 2019 1:20:09 am