Author Amitav Ghosh wins Erasmus Prize 2024

Indian author Amitav Ghosh has been awarded the prestigious Erasmus Prize 2024 by the Netherlands-based Praemium Erasmianum Foundation for his significant contributions to the theme “imagining the unthinkable” through his writings on the climate crisis and human interactions with nature.

Ghosh’s Contributions to Climate Crisis Literature

The foundation recognized Ghosh’s ability to make the unprecedented global crisis of climate change tangible through his compelling stories about the past. His work offers a remedy to the existential threat that defies imagination by delving deeply into the question of how to do justice to it through the written word.

Born in Kolkata in 1956, Ghosh has produced a vast body of work, including historical novels and journalistic essays that transcend boundaries and time periods. His writings are grounded in thorough archival research and succeed in making major themes such as migration, diaspora, and cultural identity tangible without losing sight of the human dimension.

Nature as a Character in Ghosh’s Writing

Nature has been an important character in Ghosh’s work, particularly since his research into the tidal landscape of the Sundarbans for his book “The Hungry Tide.” He witnessed firsthand how climate change and rising sea levels were ravaging the area, and his writings draw from the rich history of the Indian subcontinent to describe how the effects of natural catastrophes have been inextricably linked with human destiny for a long time.

In his compelling Ibis trilogy, set against the backdrop of poppy cultivation and opium wars, Ghosh shows how colonialism has left deep scars in the landscape.

Non-Fiction Works: The Nutmeg’s Curse and The Great Derangement

In his non-fiction book “The Nutmeg’s Curse,” Ghosh traces the current planetary crisis back to a disastrous vision that reduces the earth to raw material, soulless and mechanical. In his essay “The Great Derangement,” he challenges readers to view climate change through the geopolitical context of war and trade.

Through understanding and imagination, Ghosh creates space for hope, which is a prerequisite for change. He propagates a new humanism in which not only all people are equal, but humanity also abandons the distinction between man and nature.

Previous Accolades

Ghosh has won various prizes, including the 2018 Jnanpith Award, the highest literary prize in India. In 2019, he received an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University and was ranked by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the most important global thinkers of our time.

The Erasmus Prize

The Erasmus Prize is awarded annually to an individual or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the field of humanities or the arts. The prize consists of €150,000 in prize money and will be presented to Ghosh in the autumn of 2024.

 


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1 Comment

  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    March 15, 2024 at 1:16 pm

    Hearty congratulations to Amitav Ghosh.

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