List of Famous Indian Literature Awards

Literary awards are those awards which are conferred to the authors and poets for good piece of writing and their associated contributions towards betterment of Indian Literature. This includes literature works in any officially recognized language of India including English as well. Some of these major prestigious awards are given by Government of India while some other by different organizations. This article provides information about famous different Indian literature awards and the institute/organisation offering those awards.

Highest Indian Literature Awards : Gyanpeeth Award (Jnanpith Award)

Indian Literature Awards

Gyanpeeth Award

  • Established – 1961
  • Awarded by Gyanpeeth Trust
  • First Awardee – G Shankar Kurup in year 1965
  • Recent-most Awardee – Balchandra Nemade in year 2014

Gyanpeeth award is considered as the highest literature award of India. It is conferred to those Indian citizens who have done some exemplary literature works in any of the official languages of India. This award is associated with a cash prize of Rs 11 Lakhs and the decoration includes a bronze goddess Sarawati idol.

Some Interesting Facts about Gyanpeeth Award

  1. The well known philanthropist and publishers of Times of India newspaper, Sahu Jain family (Sahushri Shantiprasad Jain and his wife Shanti Jain) established the Gyanpeeth trust in year 1961. This trust is the authority which confers this prestigious Gyanpeeth awards.
  2. This award is conferred to Indian citizens only.
  3. This award is presented for lifetime achievement works of authors and not on single writing.
  4. Till year 2014, 50 persons have been awarded by this prestigious award.
  5. The first awardee G Shankar Kurup got this award in 1965 for his Malyalam poem collection named Odakkuzhal.
  6. The first Hindi author to get this author was Sumitranandan Pant in year 1968 for his work Chidambara.
  7. The first Bengali author to got this prestigious award was Tarasankar Bandhopadhyay in year 1966.
  8. K V Puttappa nickname (Kuvempu) was the first person to get this award in Kannada Literature.
  9. The first author for Sanskrit language who got Gyanpeeth award : Satya Vrat Shastri in year 2006.
  10. The only author belonging to Punjabi literature to get this award was Amrita Pritam in 1981 for his work Kagaj ke Canvas.

2nd Highest Indian Literature Awards : Sahitya Akademi Fellowship

  • Established – 1968
  • Awarded by Sahitya Akademi, Govt. of India
  • First Awardee – S. Radhakrishnan, former President of India
  • Recent-most Awardee – S L Bhyrappa (Kannada) and C. Narayan Reddy (Telugu) for year 2015

This is the second highest literary award of India and highest literary award conferred by government of India. This award was established in year 1968 and the former President S. Radhakrishnan was the first fellow.  This award is conferred for immortal literature works in any of the officially approved 22 languages of India including Rajasthani and English making the total acceptable languages as 24. First Honorary fellow was Leopold S. Senghor from Senegal and the last honorary fellow was V. S. Naipaul in year 2010.

Third Highest Indian Literature Awards : Sahitya Akademi Award

  • Established – 1954
  • Awarded by Sahitya Akademi, Govt. of India.
  • First Awardees  complete list

This is the second highest Literature award conferred by Govt. of Indi and overhaul 3rd highest award of India. This award is also provided by Sahitya Akademi. This award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh. Other important awards provided by Sahitya Akademi are Premchand Fellowship, Bhasha Samman, Anand Coomarswamy fellowship and Translation awards. First awardee and first Hindi poet to get this award was Makhanlal Chaturvedi for his book Him Tarangini in year 1955. Some other authors who were among the first awardees were Jibanandana Das (Bengali), Laxmanshastri Joshi (Marathi), Kuvempu (Kannada) and Jatindranath Dowara (Assamese).

Some other Important National Level Literary Awards

Indian Literature Awards : Vyas Samman

  • Established – 1991
  • Awarded by K K Birla Foundation
  • First Awardee – Dr Ram Vilas, Sharma, in year 1991
  • Recent-most awardee – Kamal Kishore Goyenka, in year 2014

This award is conferred for Hindi Literature only. This award was established in year 1991 by K.K. Birla Foundation. Vyas Samman in addition carries a cash prize of Rs 2.5 Lakhs. Some other notable hindi authors who received this prize are Girija Kumar Mathur (1993), Dharmvir Bharti (1994), Ramswarup Chaturvedi (1996), Mannu Bhandari (2008) and Narendra Kohli (2012).

Indian Literature Awards : The Hindu Literary Prize

  • Established – 2010
  • Awarded by Hindu Literary Review (the Hindu Newspaper)
  • First Awardee – Soumya Bhattacharya, Anjali Joseph, Manu Joseph, Anjum Hasan, Daisy Hasan, Tishani Doshi, Manjul Bajaj, Tabish Khair etc.

This award is also called as The Hindu Best Fiction award. It is conferred for English literary and translation works by Indian authors.

Yuva Puraskar

  • Established – 2011
  • Awarded by – National Academy of Letters, Government of India

As the name suggests, this award is conferred to young writers under the age 35. This award is also called as Sahitya Academy Yuva Awards. It is a literary award provided by National Academy of Letters, Government of India. This award is given annually for outstanding and exemplary literature works in any of 24 Indian Languages. The award is accompanied with cash prize of Rs 50,000 and Copper plaque.

Indian Literature Awards : Saraswati Samman

  • Established – 1991
  • Awarded by K.K. Birla Foundation
  • First Awardee – Harivansh Rai Bachchan in year 1991 for his autobiography

Like Vyas Samman, Sarawati Samman was also established by K.K. Birla Foundation. This is provided for outstanding works in Poetry in any of the 22 Official languages of India. The award comes along with a cash prize of Rs 10 Lakhs. Some notable poets who were conferred with this prestigious award are Vijay Tendulkar (1993), Shankha Ghosh (1998), Indira Parthasarthy (1999), Sunil Gangopadhyay (2004) and Veerappa Moily (2014).

Indian Literature Awards : Mahapandit Rahul Sankritayan Award

  • Established – 1989
  • Awarded by Kendriya Hindi Sansthan, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India
  • First Awardee – Dr. Kamala Sankritayan, Dr. Shyam Singh Rashi

This award is also called as Rahul Sankritayan National Award. This is provided for exemplary works on Travel literature in Hindi language.  The name of this award is kept on famous hindi author Rahul Sankritayan who is also known as Father of Hindi Travel Literature.

Some Important Literary Awards by State Governments of India

Rabindra Puraskar

  • Established – 1950
  • Awarded by Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi, Bengal State Government
  • First Awardee – Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay, Niharanjan Ray, Satinath Bhaduri in year 1950

This award is conferred by the state of Bengal for distinguished works in Bangla literature. This is the highest literature award conferred by Bengal government. Some eminent persons to receive this award are Amartya Sen (2011), Himani Bannerji (2005), Gopal Chandra Bhattacharya (1975), Buddhadeb Basu (1974), and Sukumar Sen (1965).

Kabir Samman

  • Established – 1986
  • Awarded by – Government of Madhya Pradesh

This is a National level award conferred by Culture department of Madhya Pradesh. It is conferred annually for distinguished works in Literature (Poetry). The award contains cash prize of Rs 1.5 Lakhs. This is one of the biggest award provided by Madhya Pradesh Government. This award is provided for significant works in Poetry in different Indian languages like : Kannada, Bangla, Punjabi, Hindi, Marathi and Gujrati.

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Sahitya Gaurav Puraskar

  •  Established – 1983
  • Awarded by – Gujarat Sahitya Academy, Gujarat Government
  • First Awardee- Vishnuprasad Trivedi

This award is conferred by Gujarat state government to the authors for their exemplary contribution in Gujarati literature. The cash prize associated with award is Rs 1 Lakh. Along with cash the winner also receives a plaque and shawl.

 Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award

  • Established – 1958
  • Awarded by – Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Kerala Government

This award is provided by Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Kerala Government to Malyalam writers for their significant contribution towards Malyalam literature. This award is given in many categories some of which are – Poetry, Novel, Story, Drama, Criticism, Biography, Autobiography etc.