Prestigious PEN/Nabokov Award to Vinod Kumar Shukla


Vinod Kumar Shukla (86), one of the most distinguished contemporary Hindi litterateurs, has been announced to be conferred with the prestigious PEN/Nabokov Award for 2023 for his contribution to literature. Along with him, this award is also being given to well-known playwright Erica Dixon Despenza.

Announcing this, PEN America said, ‘Storyteller, novelist, poet and essayist Vinod Kumar Shukla is counted among the greatest contemporary creators of the Hindi language. He is being given the 2023 PEN/Nabokov Award for his contribution to international literature.

Shukla was well known not only in Hindi but also in all languages ​​for his works like ‘That man went away wearing a new hot coat like thought’, ‘Servant’s shirt’, ‘Sabkuch hona bacha rahega’ and ‘Deewar mein ek khidki rehti thi’. Kind of well known.

“Shukla’s prose and poetry epitomize deep observation,” PEN America Award judges Amit Choudhuri, Roya Hakakian and Maja Mengiste said in a statement. The voices emanating from him are the voices of a very alert and intelligent observer. He has been writing for decades and till now he has not got the recognition he deserves. Shukla has created such literature which has changed our understanding of modernity.’

Significantly, Shukla, born in Rajnandgaon district of undivided Madhya Pradesh, can see a glimpse of magical realism in his works. Mani Kaul had also produced a film on his novel ‘Naukar Ki Kameez’ and story ‘Bojh’.

Expressing happiness over this announcement, senior litterateur Uday Prakash told BLiTZ, ‘Vinod Kumar Shukla is a unique writer. They have a different perspective of seeing things around them. Both the visual and the ability to see are multiple influences in his works. The jury has also underlined the same point. The writer in him cannot be boxed in. Mani Kaul recognized his directorial potential very early and made films on his compositions.’

Another senior poet-storyteller Kumar Ambuj said, ‘Vinod Kumar Shukla has made new, unexpected structures of sentences possible in all the three genres of his poetry, story and novel. Hindi words have been endowed with unique brightness and expressive meanings. Transforming imagination and fantasy into the unique creativity of life, statements of dilemma, difficulties and irony of common man have been recorded. Despite being in the tradition of Hindi, he has been making new proposals for creation that see, in my art vision, the reality is expressed in this way, in this style. This style got attached only to Vinod Kumar Shukla.

He not only introduced the readers to the new taste but also developed the ability to accept that taste in them. He renewed the readers. Adapted the grammar of Hindi to his own words and told our everyday experiences in a way that they were not told before. While reading them you rediscover what you have seen so far, the movements and silences around you. He is the true, modern and most capable representative of Hindi creativity on the world stage. This honor received by him is a matter of pride for Hindi and the entire country.


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