H S Shivaprakash is an acclaimed poet and playwright from Karnataka. He writes in Kannada, but many of his works have been translated into English and other Indian regional languages. Apart from being a writer, he also travels around the world sharing his thoughts on literature and the arts and a variety of mystic and devotional traditions.
His Early Life
H S Shivaprakash is the short version of Hulkuntemath Shivamurthy Sastri Shivaprakash. He was born in 1954 in Bangalore. His father was a very well-read individual and even worked under the Mysore royalty. Shivaprakash was a student of English literature in college, and he later became a teacher of the same subject. During the early part of his career, he taught at colleges in Tumkur as well as Bangalore.
His Role as a Prominent Literary Figure
His talents as a poet first came to the fore with ‘Milarepa’, a book that he published when he was 23 years old. This was an anthology of Kannada poems. A few years later he published another anthology of poems called ‘Malebidda Neladalli’. This went a long way in establishing his reputation as a writer. After this, Shivaprakash wrote many other works of poetry.
His first work as a playwright was ‘Mahachaitra’, which came about in 1986. It is one of his most celebrated works in Kannada literature. It resulted in Shivaprakash winning the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award. He went on to write a host of other original plays, besides doing adaptations of some of Shakespeare’s renowned plays. These adaptations too won him rave reviews.
Shivaprakash’s plays have been performed not just in Kannada but also in other languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and Manipuri.
Shivaprakash has compiled literary works from writers in Europe, South America and Africa for them to reach newer segments of people by translating them into Kannada. On the other hand, he has also translated the works of many great Kannada poets into English.
He has written two books of criticism in Kannada. He is considered to be an authority on subjects like Sufism, the Bhakti movement and the Vachana tradition. Shivaprakash is currently a professor dealing with the subject of arts and aesthetics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
Awards and Recognition
Shivaprakash has won a number of prestigious awards, including four Karnataka Sahitya Akademi awards. He is a winner of the Karnataka Nataka Akademi award and the Sangeet Natak Akademi awards. Shivaprakash is also an honorary fellow of the School Of Letters at the University of Iowa.