EARLIER this year, Mr Parthendral Murugathasan (below right, with his book) suffered a stroke. In the initial days after the stroke, he found it difficult to write. But that didn't stop him from penning his 13th book, Sangamam.
The effort paid off when the 65-year-old former electrician was awarded the Singapore Literature Book Prize (Tamil category) for this year by Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew. The four winners - each representing the four official languages here - got $10,000 book prizes each.
The Singapore Literature Prize is awarded every two years to outstanding published works in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Started in 1992 to promote Singaporean writing, it is the most prestigious local literary award for published works.
Mr Murugathasan, who has fully recovered from the stroke, says: "My family members, especially my wife, have been supportive all this while. So I dedicated a poem to her in Sangamam."
The book is a collection of poems which tell the life story of a man who comes to Singapore to make a living. They touch on events that affected his life and those of his loved ones.
The other winners are Professor Simon Tay, who won for his English language novel City Of Small Blessings; Mr Johar Buang for his Malay poetry anthology Sampai Di Singgahsana Cinta (Reaching The Destination Of Love); and the Chinese category was shared by Mr Chia Joo Ming, for his novel M40 and Mr Gabriel Wu, for his poetry collection Ban Cun Zai (A Half Existence).
P. Balasubaramaniam is a correspondent with Tamil Murasu.