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Kamala Das Biography

Kamlaa Das, one of the outstanding poets of India, writing in English and Malayalam, was born on March 31, 1934 in Malabar in Kerala. Influencd by her uncle Nalapatta Narayan Menon, a prominent writer, she began writing poetry at an early age.
A trailblazer in the Indian English poetry, she is the first Indian woman writing in English who openly talks about the sexual desires and experiences of Indian women. She abandoned the secure field of writing about teenage bloodless, unrequited love. According to her, poetry is “the April sun squeezed like an orange juice”, the heat permeates into the mind of reader. Sensitivity is the strength of her poetry.

Writing under the pen name, ‘Madhavikutty’, she is one of the foremost short story writers in Malayalam. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature, along literary personalities such as Nadine Gordimer and Doris Lessing. Her widely acclaimed stories include Pakshiyude Maranam, Neypayasam, Thanuppu, and Chandana Marangal.

Her first English poetry was ‘The Sirens’, published in 1964, followed by Summer In Calcutta. She received many awards and accolades including Asian Poetry Prize, Kent award for English writing from Asian countries, Asan World Prize, Sahitya Academy award and Vayalar award. She has ventured into the restricted and unclaimed territory and set a point of reference for her colleagues.

Her major works include:

  • The Sirens
  • Summer In Calcutta
  • The Descendants
  • The Old Playhouse And Other Poems
  • My Story
  • Alphabet of Lust
  • The Anamalai Poems
  • Padmavati The Harlot and Other Stories
  • Only The Soul Knows How To Sing
  • Yaa Allah
  • Pakshiyude Manam
  • Dayarikkurippukal
  • Neermathalam Pootha Kalam
  • Madhavikkuttiyude UnmakkadhakalBorn into a conservative Hindu family, Kamala Das converted to Islam at the age of 65. She is now working as a syndicated columnist.