Awards & Recognition

s. shankar / writer

Honorable Mention for Flesh and Fish Blood, Rene Wellek Prize Committee of the American Comparative Literature Association, 2013.


Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular by S. Shankar is a major contribution to comparative and postcolonial studies. The book develops a strong, well substantiated argument for the value of ‘vernacular knowledges’ that have been overlooked in the current vogue for hybridity and the transnational. Taking such vernacular knowledges seriously, Shankar argues, allows us to more fully acknowledge the role of the local and the traditional in cultural self-understanding and political struggles for autonomy. Flesh and Fish Bloodoffers nuanced readings of a variety of Indian texts in Tamil, Hindi, and English, defending them against charges of provincialism or nostalgia by showing that attention to local concerns is entirely compatible with intellectual sophistication and aesthetic richness. Tamil literature, especially, emerges from this description as a major cultural site for the development of postcolonial theory and a worthy rival to the Anglophone canon. These readings are embedded in a judicious and wide-ranging discussion of such topics as nationalism, humanism, and translation, along with a powerful concluding defense of the methodology and practice of comparison. Over-all, Shankar’s book combines theoretical sophistication, deftness of interpretation and an impressive clarity and cogency of argument. It makes a compelling claim for rethinking postcolonialism within the framework of comparative vernacular literatures and makes a much needed case for a more capacious curriculum.”


  • Senior Nehru-Fulbright Award, 2017-2018.
  • College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature Excellence in Research Senior Award, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
  • IPPY Book of the Month Selection for Ghost in the Tamarind: A Novel. September 2017.
  • Visiting Scholar-in-Residence. Two-week Residency. SOAS University, London, United Kingdom. May-June 2017.
  • 2016 Scholar-in-Residence. Center for Critical Race Studies. Week-long residency. University of Houston-Downtown. Feb. 2016.
  • Guest Scholar. English and Foreign Languages University (Hyderabad, India)—March 13-31 2015.
  • Convener, XVI Annual Conference of the Forum on Contemporary Theory (India), Theme: Translation, Comparatism and the Global South, 2012-2013. Conference held Dec. 2013.
  • Banff Cultural Center (Canada), Self-Directed Writing Residency Program, July 2012.
  • College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2008.
  • Deutsche Welle Merit Award, 1987. [For short story “Grey Cat” in an international competition.]
  • Vineet Gupta Award, 1987. [Led to publication of first book, volume of poetry I As Man, Calcutta Writers Workshop]
  • British Council Merit Award, 1986. [For short story “Madness”]


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