Eminent Odia novelist and storyteller Padmashri Pratibha Ray was selected for the country’s most coveted literary honour, the Jnanpith Award, for the year 2011 for her excellent contributions to the field of Indian literature. After a gap of 19 years, Odia literature got this award.
Pratibha Ray is an Indian academic and creative writer. She was born on 21 January 1943, at Alabol, a remote village in the Balikuda area of Jagatsinghpur district formerly part of Cuttack district of Orissa state. She was the first woman to win the Moortidevi Award in 1991. Dr Ray is the fourth Odia writer to receive the Jnanpith Award after novelist Gopinath Mohanty in 1973, poet Sachidananda Routray in 1986 and Sitakant Mohapatra in 1993. The award carries a cash prize of 7 lakh, a citation and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati.
The Jnanpith Award is a literary award in India. Along with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, it is one of the two most prestigious literary honours in the country. The award was instituted in 1961. Any Indian citizen who writes in any of the official languages of India is eligible for the honour. It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnapith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the The Times of India.