Who was Kovilan?

Life History

Kovilan (Kandanisseri Vattomparambil Velappan Ayyappan) was born in Kandanisseri near Guruvayur in Thrissur District, Kerala, India on 9 July 1923 (1098 Mithunum 25).

Father: Vattomparambil Shanku Velappan

Mother: Kotakkattil Kunjandi Kali.

Early education at: Kandanisseri Excelsior School and Nenmini Higher Elementary School.

Kovilan entered Pavaratty Sahitya Deepika Sanskrit College at the age of thirteen. He had the good fortune to attend classes by the scholars/teachers K. P. Narayana Pisharoti, P.C. Vasudevan Elayathu, M.P. Sankunny Nair, Cherukadu and Sreekrishna Sharma. He was expelled from college in 1942 for actively taking part in the Quit India movement.

When Kovilan entered Sanskrit College, poetry was his passion. By the time he quit, he had written at least three novels.

In 1943 Kovilan joined Royal Indian Navy and got training as Anti Submarine Detector Operator. His work places include Bengal sea, Burma and Singapore. He left Navy following the famous Navy Rebellion of 1946 and returned home.

While back in Kerala, Kovilan got in touch with Vaikkom Muhammed Basheer, Joseph Mundassery and C. J. Thomas. He also took part in the trade union movements. In 1948 he passed S.S.L.C. He worked for a while as a stenographer for Joseph Mundassery.

In 1948 Kovilan joined Corps of Signals, Indian Army as a radio mechanic. He also specialized in electronics. For five years he lived in the Himalayas. While in army, he came in contact with Parappurathu and Nandanar. During his last year in the army Kovilan worked as Instructor, National Cadet Corps, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He retired from the army in 1968 as Havildar Major.

After retirement, Kovilan spent his life in Pullanikkunnu, in Kandanisseri among Munimada and Laksham Veedu Colony, and later at Ariyannur. Wife Sarada (passed away – 1999). Two daughters Vijaya and Amita and one son Ajithan. Kovilan breathed his last on June 2, 2010.

Kovilan has published eleven novels, tweleve short story collections, three essay collections and one play.

More information is available at http://www.dvaipayana.net/kovilan


  • Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, (1972): Thottangal (novel)
  • Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, (1977): Sakunam (stories)
  • Muttathu Varkey Award, (1995)
  • Basheer Award (by Qatar ‘PravAsi’), (1995)
  • A.P. Kulakkad Award (1997): Thattakam (novel)
  • Kerala Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1997)
  • Kerala Sahitya Parishath Award (1998): Thattakam (novel)
  • Sahitya Akademi Award (1998): Thattakam (novel)
  • N.V. puraskkaram (1999): Thattakam (novel)
  • Vayalar Award (1999): Thattakam (novel)
  • Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (2005)

  • Ezhuthatchan Puraskaram (2006)

  • Mathrubhumi Award (2009)


P.O. Ariyannur, 
PIN 680102, 
Thrissur (Dt),