Malayalam literature is a rich and diverse tradition that has produced some of the most influential and memorable works in the Indian literary canon. From epic poems to modern novels, Malayalam writers have contributed a wealth of literature that has captivated readers for centuries.
In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of the most famous Malayalam writers of all time. These writers have made significant contributions to the field of Malayalam literature, and their works continue to be widely read and celebrated today.
Reading and exploring diverse literary works is an important way to expand our understanding of the world and to gain new insights and perspectives. By learning about these famous Malayalam writers and their works, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the region and the enduring power of the written word.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the best of Malayalam literature and introduce you to 10 of the most famous writers to know.
Here is my top 10 Malayalam writers:
M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Madath Thekkepaattu Vasudevan Nair is popularly known as MT. He is an Indian author, screenplay writer, and film director. He is a prolific and versatile writer in modern Malayalam literature. He is one of the masters of post-Independence Indian literature. He was born on 15 July 1933 in Kudallur, Palakkad district. M. T. Vasudevan Nair is a scriptwriter and director of Malayalam films.
His debut novel Naalukettu (Ancestral Home- translated to English as The Legacy), wrote at the age of 23. He won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1958. His other novels include Manju (Mist), Kaalam (Time), Asuravithu (The Prodigal Son – translated to English as The Demon Seed), and Randamoozham (The Second Turn). The deep emotional experiences of his early days have gone into the making of MT’s novels. Most of his works are oriented towards the basic Malayalam family structure and culture and many of them were path-breaking in the history of Malayalam literature. His three seminal novels on life in the matriarchal family in Kerala are Naalukettu, Asuravithu, and Kaalam. Randamoozham, which retells the story of the Mahabharatha from the point of view of Bhimasena, is widely credited as his masterpiece.
For a thorough understanding of the life and career of M.T. Vasudevan Nair, be sure to read his full biography available here. M. T. Vasudevan Nair Biography This comprehensive resource covers Nair’s background, including his age and notable awards, as well as a detailed overview of his books and other literary contributions. Additionally, this biography features a selection of quotes from Nair’s works, providing insight into his writing style and philosophical views. If you’re interested in learning more about M.T. Vasudevan Nair and his contributions to literature, this comprehensive biography is a must-read.
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is also known as Beypore Sultan. He was an Indian independence activist and writer of Malayalam literature. He was born on 21st January 1908. He was a writer, humanist, freedom fighter, novelist, and short-story writer, noted for his path-breaking, down-to-earth style of writing. This made him equally popular among literary critics as well as the common man.
His notable works include Balyakalasakhi, Shabdangal, Pathummayude Aadu, Mathilukal, Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu, Janmadinam, and Anargha Nimisham. The translations of his works into other languages have earned him worldwide acclaim. The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honor of the Padma Shri in 1982. He was also a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Fellowship, Kerala Sahitya Academy Fellowship, and the Kerala State Film Award for Best Story.
For more information on the life and works of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, be sure to check out his full biography available here. Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Biography This comprehensive resource covers his background, including his age and awards received, as well as a detailed overview of his novels and other literary contributions. Whether you are a fan of Basheer’s work or simply want to learn more about this important figure in Malayalam literature, this biography is a must-read.
S. K. Pottekkatt
Sankaran Kutty Kunjiraman Pottekkatt is popularly known as S. K. Pottekkatt. He was an Indian writer of Malayalam literature and a politician from Kerala, India. He was born on 14 March 1913. He was also a great traveler among the Keralites, who wrote many travelogues for the people who have been unintroduced to the outside world. He was the author of nearly sixty books which include ten novels, twenty-four collections of short stories, three anthologies of poems, eighteen travelogues, four plays, a collection of essays, and a couple of books based on personal reminiscences. He was a recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Novel, Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Jnanpith Award. His works have been translated into English, Italian, Russian, German, and Czech, besides all major Indian languages.
Get to know the life and career of S.K. Pottekkatt, a prominent figure in Malayalam literature, with this comprehensive biography. This resource covers Pottekkatt’s background, including his age and notable awards, as well as a detailed overview of his books and other literary contributions. Additionally, this biography features a selection of quotes from Pottekkatt’s works, providing insight into his writing style and philosophical views. Whether you are a fan of Pottekkatt’s writing or simply want to learn more about this influential figure in Malayalam literature, this biography is a must-read. Check it out here: S.K. Pottekkatt Biography, Books, Awards, Quotes.
Maniyambath Mukundan is commonly known as M. Mukundan. He is an Indian writer of Malayalam literature. He was born on 10 September 1942. Many of his early works are set in Mahé (Mayyazhi) which has earned him the moniker, Mayyazhiyude Kathakaaran. He is known to be one of the pioneers of modernity in Malayalam literature and Mayyazhippuzhayude Theerangalil, Daivathinte Vikrithikal, Kesavante Vilapangal, and Pravasam are some of his notable works. He has received many honors including Vayalar Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award. Crossword Book Award and the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the highest literacy honor of the Government of Kerala. He is also a recipient of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of the Government of France.
Kamala Surayya (Madhavikutty)
Kamala Surayya was popularly known for her one-time pen name Madhavikutty and married name Kamala Das. She was an Indian poet in English as well as an author in Malayalam from Kerala, India. She was born on 31 March 1934. Her popularity in Kerala is based chiefly on her short stories and autobiography, while her oeuvre is in English, written under the name Kamala Das. She is noted for the poems and explicit autobiography. She was also a widely read columnist and wrote on diverse topics including women’s issues, child care, politics among others.
Check full biography here Madhavikutty (Kamala Surayya) Biography, Age, Books, Awards
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai (1912-1999) was a celebrated Indian novelist and short story writer from the southern state of Kerala. He wrote primarily in the Malayalam language, and his works are considered to be among the finest examples of modern Malayalam literature. He began his writing career in the 1930s and quickly made a name for himself as a master storyteller, capturing the lives, struggles and the unique culture of Kerala through his works.
Pillai was known for his vivid portrayal of the lives and struggles of the people of his home state. He wrote about the marginalized sections of society, shedding light on issues of caste, class, and gender. His most famous work, “Chemmeen” (The Prawn), is considered a classic of Indian literature and has been adapted into a successful film and stage production. It was the first Malayalam novel to win the prestigious Jnanpith award. He received several other awards and honors, including the Padma Bhushan, a prestigious civilian award, and the Kerala Sahitya Academy award for his overall contributions to Indian literature.
Throughout his career, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai wrote more than 30 novels and numerous short stories, many of which have been translated into different languages, introducing his works and Kerala culture to a wider readership. His works are still widely read and studied in India, and he continues to be a major influence on modern Malayalam literature and culture.
For more information on the life and works of Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, be sure to check out his full biography available here Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai Biography
P. Kesava Pillai was better known by his pen name P. Kesavadev. He was a novelist and social reformer of Kerala. He known for his socially relevant and thought-provoking works. He was born in 1916 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and began his career as a journalist, eventually becoming the editor of the newspaper Mathrubhumi. In addition to his work in journalism, Kesavadev was also a prolific writer, publishing numerous novels, short stories, and essays over the course of his career. His work is known for its social relevance and thought-provoking themes, and has received widespread acclaim for its literary merit. Kesavadev received many accolades for his writing, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and the Sahitya Akademi Award. His novels, including “Naadan Premam” and “Oru Sankeerthanam Pole,” are considered modern classics of Malayalam literature and continue to be widely read and studied today.
Sarah Joseph is a prominent figure in Malayalam literature, known for her feminist themes and portrayal of marginalized communities. She was born in 1943 in Kottayam, Kerala and began writing at a young age, eventually publishing her first novel, “Aalahayude Penmakkal,” in 1975. Over the course of her career, Joseph has written numerous novels, short stories, and essays, many of which focus on the experiences and struggles of women in Kerala. She has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and has been influential in shaping the modern feminist movement in the state. Joseph’s work has received widespread praise for its honesty, depth, and ability to capture the complexities of human emotions, and she has received numerous awards for her writing, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri. Her work continues to be highly regarded and widely read today.
O. V. Vijayan
O.V. Vijayan was a renowned Indian writer and cartoonist who made significant contributions to Malayalam literature. He was born in 1930 in Palakkad, Kerala and began his career as a cartoonist for The Hindu newspaper. In addition to his work in journalism, Vijayan was also a prolific writer, publishing numerous novels, short stories, and essays over the course of his career. His work is known for its social relevance and intellectually challenging themes, and has received widespread acclaim for its literary merit. Vijayan received many accolades for his writing, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Padma Bhushan. His novels, including “The Legends of Khasak” and “The Saga of Dharmapuri,” are considered modern classics of Malayalam literature and continue to be widely read and studied today.
Lalithambika Antharjanam was a pioneering figure in Malayalam literature, known for her feminist themes and portrayal of marginalized communities. She was born in 1909 in a small village in Kerala and began writing at a young age, eventually publishing her first short story in 1929. Over the course of her career, Antharjanam wrote numerous novels, short stories, and essays, many of which focused on the experiences and struggles of women in Kerala.
She was a vocal advocate for women’s rights and was influential in shaping the modern feminist movement in the state. Her work has been widely praised for its honesty, depth, and ability to capture the complexities of human emotions. Antharjanam received numerous awards for her writing, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri, and her work continues to be highly regarded and widely read today. Her autobiography Aathmakadhakkoru Aamukham (An Introduction to Autobiography) is also considered a significant work in Malayalam literature.
Malayalam literature boasts a wealth of talent, with many writers who have made significant contributions to the cultural and literary landscape of Kerala and beyond. From the early works of Kumaran Asan and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer, to the modern contributions of M.T. Vasudevan Nair and Sethu, Malayalam writers have consistently produced thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing works that have had a lasting impact on readers and society. This list of the top 10 famous Malayalam writers is just a small sampling of the talent and diversity that can be found in the Malayalam literary canon. We encourage readers to delve deeper into the works of these writers and discover the wealth of literary talent that exists within the Malayalam language and culture.
We welcome reader comments and thoughts on this article about the top 10 famous Malayalam writers. If you have any additional suggestions for writers to include on this list, or if you have any personal insights or opinions on the works of these writers, we encourage you to share them in the comments section below. Your input and perspectives are valuable to us and can help to enhance the richness and diversity of the conversation around Malayalam literature. Thank you for reading!
Recently read Malabar Aflame by Karoor Soman.
Definitely worth to be put on the list.