Nilmani Phookan (born 10 September 1933) is an Indian poet in Assamese language and an academic. His work, replete with symbolism, is inspired by French symbolism and is representative of the genre in Assamese poetry. His notable works include Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Gulapi Jamur Lagna, and Kobita.
He has won the 56th Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award , for the year 2020. He was also awarded the 1981 Sahitya Akademi Award in Assamese for his poetry collection, Kavita (Kobita). He was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 1990, and received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest literary honor in India, given by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters in 2002.
He was born in Dergaon in Golaghat district, Assam. He received his Master's degree in History from Guwahati University in 1961. Although he had started writing poetry since the early 1950s.
He started his career as a lecturer at Arya Vidyapeeth College in Guwahati in 1964, where he worked until his retirement in 1992. He has also translated Japanese and European poetry into Assamese.
He has won the 56th Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary award, for the year 2020. He was also awarded the Assam Valley Literary Award in 1997, and in 2002 he received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest literary honor in India, given by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, reserved for "the immortals of literature". In 2019, he was awarded a D.Lit. by Dibrugarh University.
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