Important Personalities of Malayalam Literature

Important personalities in Malayalam Literature are as follows


Ramacharitam (13th century) is the oldest Malayalam text and is a mixture of Malayalam and Tamil languages. It was written by Cheeramakavi.

Cherusseri Namboodiri

Cherusseri Namboodiri was the first big name in Malayalam literature, whose work Krishna Gatha (15th century) is considered as one of the masterpieces in pure Malayalam.


Tunchattu Ramanuja Ezhuttachchan was a 16th century poet of Malayalam language and is known as “the father of the Malayalam language“. The most revered work of his are Adhyathmaramayanam and Mahabharatham. He was a strong proponent of the Bhakti Movement and his poems are classified under the genre of kilippattu.

Kumaran Asan

Kumaran Asan (1873-1924) was a poet, philosopher, a social reformer and a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru. He is considered to be one of the first modern poets of Malayalam language. He wrote the epic poem Buddha Charitha in Malayalam. Because of the quantum of his work, he is seen as only Malayalam poet who became a Mahakavi without writing a Mahakavya.

G. Sankara Kurup

The Jananpith awards in India were initiated in 1965 and the first winner G. Sankara Kurup, a Malayalam poet, who won this award for Odakkuzhal (The bamboo flute, 1950).

O. N. V. Kurup

Ottaplavil Neelakandan Velu Kurup {1931-2016} or simply ONV was the 2007 Jnanpith Award winner. He received the Padmashri Award from the Government of India in 1998. ONV was 5th Malyalee & second Malyalee poet to get the Jnanpith Award.

The other three Jnanpith award winners from Kerala are S.K. Pottekad (1980), Thakazhi Siva Sankara Pillai (1984) and M.T. Vasudevan Nair (1995).

He wrote songs for Malayalam Films also. In 1989, he won the national award for best lyricist for the film “Vaishali”. He also won 13 state film awards for best lyricist. His first published poem was “Munnottu” (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly.

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