Easterine Kire’s ‘Son of the Thundercloud‘ is all about Nagaland and she used lyrical storytelling and wisdom of Naga legends to produce a superlative life-affirming fable. The Norway-based Naga author has won prestigious Sahitya Academi Award this year, for her work which discusses slightly different issues of otherwise turbulent Nagaland.
“It’s cathartic to put in writing on it,” she says including that whereas there were political strife and turmoil in Nagaland, “behind it lies the tales of lovely lives, and a lovely tradition, raring to return out. That’s the true Nagaland.”
Previously too, using a fictional narrative, one of Easterine’s previous books, ‘Bitter Wormwood‘ (Zubaan, 2011) documents political turmoil Nagaland was going through and its influence on atypical women and men.
In 2015 she also gained The Hindu Prize for her novel ‘When the River Sleeps’ (Zubaan, 2014) based mostly within the hills of Nagaland a few lone hunters in the hunt for a magical stone. “I grew up in a Christian family, it was the type of a ‘nativized’ Christianity, a fascinating mixture of tribal tradition and faith coming collectively,” she says.
As per the Express report, in 2018, this book has also been awarded Sahitya Bal Puraskar in Guwahati, this Friday. “Naga society has modified through the years. We’re on the danger of dropping our custom of oral storytelling, it’s disappearing within the cities, and my writing seeks to protect that,” she says.
Kire went to the Baptist High School, Kohima, for the first ten years of her schooling. She then continued her studies by getting a pre-university degree at the Kohima College, a BA degree from Shillong and a year of Journalistic studies at Delhi followed by occasional writing in a column for the local newspapers. With a first class MA in English Literature, she was appointed as Editor in the State Government of Nagaland’s Directorate of Information and Publicity. But after two years, she resigned from the editorial job to become a teacher at the Kohima College and then moved on to a more permanent teaching job at the North Eastern Hill University, Kohima.
Being one of the 21 recipients of Bal Puraskar, Kire will be handed the award, she has gained in the English category, in a ceremony slated to be held in Delhi on November 14. The award features a casket that has an engraved copper-plaque and a cheque of Rs 50,000.