Doha-based author Sheela Tomy has won the 2021 Cherukad Award for Malayalam Literature for her debut novel, Valli.
A native of Wayanad in northern Kerala, she is working for the Primary Health Care Corporation.
Valli is set in Wayanad, high up in the Western Ghats. The lyrical novel, which focuses on women and nature, narrates the transformation of forest village Kalluvayal, an ecologically sensitive hill station, during the last few decades.
The author dedicates Valli to oppressions and marginalisation in the context of land, nature and its people. Valli in Malayalam has three meanings: earth, vine or wages.
The award, established 43 years ago in memory of Cherukad Govinda Pisharodi, a social reformer and author, will be presented on October 29 at a public function in Perinthalmanna, Kerala. Renowned orator Sunil P Ilayidam will deliver a speech commemorating Cherukad.
A Doha resident since 2003, Sheela has studied engineering and has a post-graduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Her first published work was short story collection ‘Melkwiyadisinte Pralaya Pusthakam’ (Melquiades’ Book of Floods) published in 2012.
Sheela has previously won awards in Qatar, UAE and Kerala. Her husband Tomy Lazer is an engineer in Doha, and the couple have three children.