• Thursday, July 25, 2024


Amitav Ghosh awarded 2024 Erasmus prize for pioneering writings on climate change

Ghosh consistently explores the enduring planetary crisis and the deep repercussions of climate change in his literary works.

(Photo credit: @GhoshAmitav)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

Renowned Indian writer Amitav Ghosh has been awarded the Erasmus Prize 2024 for his impactful writings addressing the planetary crisis and climate change.

The prestigious award, presented annually by the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation in the Netherlands, recognizes exceptional contributions in the fields of humanities, social sciences, or arts globally.

Ghosh, celebrated for works like The Great Derangement and The Nutmeg’s Curse, has consistently delved into the ongoing planetary crisis and the profound impacts of climate change in his literary creations. Themes of nature, humanity, and the intricate relationships between the two are recurrent in his works, spanning from his fictional Ibis trilogy to The Hungry Tide, a tale intertwining marine biology, climate change, and human-animal conflict.

One of Ghosh’s non-fictional endeavors, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, explores the interconnectedness of colonialism, politics, and climate change, reflecting on the art of addressing this critical issue. In his latest book, The Nutmeg’s Curse, written during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghosh examines the exploitation of indigenous communities, ownership of natural resources, and the overarching themes of climate change and colonialism.

The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation recognized Ghosh for his passionate contributions to the theme of ‘imagining the unthinkable’—depicting the unprecedented global crisis of climate change through impactful storytelling. The foundation highlighted Ghosh’s deep exploration of how to confront the existential threat of climate change and his unique ability to make an uncertain future tangible through compelling narratives about the past.

Ghosh’s work is described as offering a remedy to the climate crisis by illustrating it as a cultural challenge stemming from a lack of imagination. The award announcement was met with delight and honor from Ghosh, who expressed his gratitude and privilege in joining the ranks of previous Erasmus Prize recipients, including Trevor Noah, A.S. Byatt, and Barbara Ehrenreich.

The Erasmus Prize is a highly esteemed accolade, with past recipients including influential figures such as Charles Chaplin and Ingmar Bergman. Ghosh is set to receive the award in person in the Netherlands in November, marking a significant recognition of his impactful contributions to literature addressing critical global challenges.

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