The Jnanpith Award (also spelled as Gyanpeeth Award) is a literary award in India. Along with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, it is one of the two most prestigious literary honours in the country. The award was instituted in 1961. Eligibility is restricted to any Indian citizen who writes in one of the 22 languages listed in Schedule Eight of the Indian constitution. It is presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust founded by the Sahu Jain family, the publishers of the newspaper The Times of India.
The name of the award is taken from Sanskrit words jnāna and pīṭha (knowledge-seat). It carries a cheque for ₹11 lakh, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Indian goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts.
Prior to 1982, the awards were given for a single work by a writer; since then, the award has been given for a lifetime contribution to Indian literature. As of 2014 most Jananpith award winners, ten have been writing in Hindi followed by eight in Kannada, five each in Bengali and Malayalam, four each in Oriya, Urdu and Marathi and three each in Gujarati and Telugu and two each in Assamese and Tamil.
Starting with the Bengali writer Ashapoorna Devi in 1976, seven women writers have won the award so far. The other recipients include Amrita Pritam (1981, Punjabi), Mahadevi Varma (1982, Hindi), Qurratulain Hyder (1989, Urdu), Mahasweta Devi (1996, Bengali), Indira Goswami (2000, Assamese) and Pratibha Ray (2011, Oriya).
The award announcements have lately been lagging behind the award-years. The awards for the years 2005 and 2006 were announced on 22 November 2008, and were awarded to the Hindi writer Kunwar Narayan for 2005 and jointly to Konkani writer Ravindra Kelekar and Sanskrit scholar Satya Vrat Shastri for 2006. Satya Vrat Shastri is the first Sanskrit poet to be conferred the award since its inception. The awards for the 45th and 46th Jnanpith for the years 2009 and 2010 respectively, were announced on 20 September 2011. The 45th award was jointly conferred on Hindi littérateurs Amar Kant and Sri Lal Sukla, and the 46th on the Kannada littérateur Chandrashekhara Kambara. The 48th Jnanpith award for the year 2012 was announced on 17 April 2013 and was conferred to Telugu novelist, short-story writer and poet Ravuri Bharadhwaja for his overall contribution to Telugu literature.