Eminent Malayalam litterateur O N V Kurup and noted Urdu poet Akhlaq Khan Shahryar have been chosen for the Jnanpith Award for the year 2007 and 2008 respectively for their contribution to literature.
The recipients for the country's highest literary honour were announced after a meeting of Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by noted Oriya writer and Jnanpith award winner Sitakant Mahapatra.
Born in 1931 in Kerala's Kollam district, Kurup is a leading voice among the contemporary Malayalam poets who has reinvented the narrative transition of Malayalam poetry through his long poems like 'Ujjayini' and 'Swayamvaram'.
According to a statement by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the trust which presents the award, Kurup began his career as a "progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology".
Kurup has 20 collections of poetry to his credit. He is also winner of several awards and honours including Kerala Sahitya Academy award, Sahitya Academy award, Vayalar award and Padmashri.
Born in 1936 in a Muslim Rajput family in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district, Shahryar shaped himself as an "intellectual poet", whose poetry strongly expresses an "ideological non-commitment".
His roots, according to the statement, lies in the poet's desire for self-realisation and his attempt to understand modern problems.
"Shahryar is not concerned in his poetry with messages or conclusions. Rather, he expresses the spiritual suffering and psychological anguish of what he regards as the wounded modern man," it said.
Shahryar, who played a major role in shaping today's Urdu poetry, has received numerous awards including Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy award, Sahitya Akademy award, Delhi Urdu Academyaward and Firaq Sammaan.