O.V. Vijayan, an Indian author

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O. V. Vijayan

O. V. Vijayan (2 July 1930 – 30 March 2005),  was an Indian author and cartoonist, who was an important figure in modern Malayalam language literature.

Early Life

O. V. Vijayan was born on 2 July 1930, Madras, India. Before India became independent, his father, O Velukkutty, worked for the Malabar special police in Madras. Vijayan was educated at home before attending school in Malabar and Palakkad. Later, he finished his bachelor’s degree at the Victoria College in Palakkad and got a master’s degree in English literature from the Presidency College.

Career as cartoonist

He started out as a lecturer, but in 1958, he moved to Delhi to explore his interest in cartoons. In Delhi, he got a job as a cartoonist and satirist at Shankar’s Weekly. After that he worked as a cartoonist for several publications, including Patriot, the Statesman and the Hindu.

Literary Career

He got his first short story published in 1953, “Tell Father Gonsalves”.

In 1957 he published his first collection of short stories, Three Wars. After the Hanging and Other Stories is his most well-known collection in English, which contains several jewel-like stories, including The Wart and The Foetus about wartime trauma, and The Airport, The Little Ones, and others. Besides that, he wrote many essays and also published a book of cartoons in 1990 called Ithiri Neramboke, Ithiri Darshanam (A Little Pastime, A Little Vision).

In 1969, Vijayan published his first novel, Khasakkinte Itihasam (The Legends of Khasak).

He wrote on a variety of topics, but his most famous work is Khasakkinte itihasam (1969, serialized in 1968; The Legends of Khasak). Dharmapuranam (1985; The Saga of Dharmapuri), Madhuram Gayathi, Gurusagaram, and Pravachakante Vazhi (1992) are among his other works.


He won three awards for his novel Gurusagaram, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Novel in 1990, and the Vayalar Award in 1991.

In 2003, he received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of India.


Naveena Samskarika Kala Kendram, Hyderabad, instituted the O. V. Vijayan Literary Award in 2011, in memory of Vijayan, who spent his last days in Secunderabad. The award includes *50,001 in cash, a memento by Kanayi Kunhiraman, and a citation. The award goes to the best book of the year.


He died on 30 March 2005, Hyderabad, India.

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