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K. Satchidanandan

K. Satchidanandan

Indian writer
K. Satchidanandan
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Indian writer
Is Critic Linguist Poet Translator Literary critic
From India
Type Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 28 May 1946, Kodungallur
Age 74 years
K. Satchidanandan
The details


K. Sachidanandan is an Indian poet and critic writing in Malayalam and English. A pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, a bilingual literary critic, playwright, editor, columnist and translator, he is the former Editor of Indian Literature journal and the former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi. He is also a public intellectual of repute upholding secular anti-caste views, supporting causes like environment, human rights and free software and a well known speaker on issues concerning contemporary Indian literature. Moreover, he is the festival director of Kerala Literature Festival.

Life and career

K. Sachidanandan (Malayalam: കെ സച്ചിദാനന്ദൻ) is an Indian poet and critic writing in Malayalam and English. A pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, a bilingual critic,film maker, playwright, editor, literary columnist and translator, he is the former Editor of Indian Literature journal and the former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi.He is also a public intellectual of repute upholding secular anti-caste views, supporting causes like environment, human rights and free software and a well known speaker on issues concerning contemporary Indian literature.[1][2]

Life and career

Koyamparambath Satchidanandan was born in 1946 in Pulloot, a village in Kodungallur in the Thrissur District of Kerala. After his early education in the village school, he studied biology at Christ College, Irinjalakuda and had his Masters in English from Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. He obtained his PhD in post-structuralist poetics from the University of Calicut. He joined as a lecturer in English at K.K.T.M. College, Pulloot in 1968, and moved to Christ College in 1970 where he became a Professor of English. He voluntarily retired from this post in 1992 to take up the editorship of Indian Literature, the English journal of the Indian National Academy in Delhi. In 1996 he was nominated Secretary, the chief executive, of the Academy, a post from which he retired in 2006. Later he served as a Consultant to the Indian Government's Department of Higher Education and to the National Translation Mission. He also worked as Director, School of Translation Studies and Training at the Indira Gandhi Open University, Delhi He edited 'The Katha Library of Indian Literature', 'The Library of South Asian Literature' and Beyond Borders, a journal of South Asian literature and ideas.

His literary career began with the publication of 'Kurukshetram', a collection of essays on poetry (1970) and 'Anchusooryan' , a collection of poems(1971). Since then he has published several books of poetry, criticism, plays, travelogues and translations of poetry and plays and edited several magazines like 'Jwala', 'Uttaram' and 'Pachakkutira' besides many anthologies of poetry and essays in Malayalam, English, Hindi and Slovenian. He has represented India at several national and international literary events like Valmiki World Poetry Festival (Delhi,1985), Sarajevo Poetry Days (1985), Festival of India in the USSR (1988), Printemps des Poetes, France(2003), Berlin Literary Festival (2005), Frankfurt Book fair (2005, 2006), Paris Book fair (2007), Jaipur International Literary Festival (2008, 9, 10, 11,12), London Book fair (2009), Indo-Arab Literary Festival, Abu Dhabi (2008), Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, Montreal (20110, Hay Festival, Trivandrum, 2011) Rotterdam Poetry Festival (2012), Medellin Poetry Festival (2013), Festival of India in Latin America (2013), Sharjah Book fair (2013) and Vilenica Literary Festival, Slovenia (2014, 2015). This is besides readings in Lahore, Manchester, Dubai, Damascus, Aleppo, Bonn, Rome, Madrid, Avila, Segovia and all major cities in India. One of the most widely anthologised and translated of modern poets in India, he has 32 books of poems in 18 languages. He was conferred the Knighthood of the Order of Merit by the Government of Italy (2006) and given the Indo-Polish Friendship Medal by the Government of Poland (2005). Satchidanandan was in the Ladbroke list of Nobel probables in 2011. [3] A film on him, 'Summer Rain' was released in 2007.Satchidanandan is now a National Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Simla. He co-edits two on-line journals, Guftugu and 1 Over the 8th. His poems appeared in many prestigious poetry anthologies like Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry, The Dance of the Peacock,.

Satchidanandan is married, with two daughters.[4][5]

Awards and honours

Akademi awards
  1. 1984: Kerala Sahitya Akademi C.B. Kumar Award for Prose for Kavitayum Janatayum
  2. 1989: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry for Ivanekkoodi
  3. 1999: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Drama -forGandhi
  4. 2001: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Travelogue for Pala Lokam Pala Kaalam
  5. 2009: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation for Padinjaran Kavithakal
  6. 2010: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Fellow
  7. 2012: Sahitya Akademi Award for Marannu Vecha Vasthukkal

Other Major Awards/Fellowships

1990: Srikant Verma Fellowship, Govt of Madhya Pradesh.

1993: Oman Cultural Centre Award, Oman.

1997: Mahakavi P. Kunjiraman Nair Award, Kerala.

1998:Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Award, Kolkata

1999: Senior Research Fellowship, Govt of India

2001: Mahakavi Kumaran Asan Award, Chennai

2002: Baharain Keraleeya Samajam Award, Baharain

2002: Gangadhar Meher Award, Sambalpur, Orissa

2005: Pandlam Keralavarma Award, Kerala

2005: Bappu Reddy national Award, Andhra Pradesh

2005: Vayalar Award,Kerala

2007: K. Kuttikrishnan Award, Kerala

2008: Subramanya Shenoi Award, Kerala

2009: Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan Award, Kuwait

2009: N T Rama Rao National Award, Andhra Pradesh

2009: Birla Fellowship for Comparative Literature,Delhi

2009: Padmaprabha Award, Kerala

2010: C P Menon Award, Kerala

2012: Kusumagraj National Award, Maharashtra

2013: Kamala Surayya Award, Dubai

2014: Kuvempu National Award, Karnataka

2014:Sahitya Parishad Award, Kerala

2014: Manapuram V C Patmanabhan Award, Kerala

2014: Kala Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, London

2014: Muttathu Varky Award,

2014: SBT Suvarna Mudra Award

2015: National Fellowship, IIAS, Shimla

Own works in Malayalam


1. Anchu Sooryan (Five Suns, 1971)
2. Aathmagita (The Song of the Self, 1974)
3. Kavita (Poetry, 1977, 82, 84)
4. Indian Sketchukal (Indian Sketches, 1978)
5. Ezhuthachan Ezhutumbol (When the Poet Writes, 1979, 85, 87, 89)
6. Peedana Kalam (Times of Torment, 1981, 89)
7. Venal Mazha (The Summer Rain, 1982)
8. Randu Derrgha Kavyangal (Two Long Poems, 1983)
9. Satchidanandante Kavithakal 1962–82 (Poems 1962–82, 1983,87)
10. Socrateesum Kozhiyum (Socrates and the Cock, 1984)
11. Ivanekkoodi (Him, too, 1987, 89, 90, 95, 97)
12. Veedumattam (Changing House, 1988)
13. Kayattam (The Ascent, 1990)
14. Kavibuddhan (The Poet as Buddha, 1992)
15. Eenta Satchidanandan Kavitakal, Ed. Balachandran Chullikkad (Selected poems 1993)
16. Desatanam (Going Places, 1994, 1995)
17. Malayalam (1996, 1998, 2003))
18. Apoornam (Imperfect, 1998)
19. Theranjedutha Kavitakal (Selected Poems, 1999)
20. Sambhashanathinu Oru Sramam (An Attempt to Converse, 2000)
21. Vikku, (Stammer, 2002)
22. Sakshyangal (Witness, 2004)
23. Ghazalukal, Geetangal (Ghazals and Geets, 2005)
24. Satchidanandte Kavithakal (Poems 1965–2005, 2006)
25. Anantam (Infinite, 2006)
26. Onnaam Padham (The First Lesson, 2006)
27. Ente Kavita (My Poems, 2008)
28. Marannunacha Vasthukkal (2009)
29. Bahuroopi (2011)
30. Tathagatam( 2013

31. Nilkkunna Manushyan ( 2015)


32. Saktan Thampuran (One-act Plays, 1983)
33. Gandhi (Full-length Play, 1995)


34. Kurukshetram (Studies in Modern Poetry, 1970)
35. Janatayum Kavitayum ((Poetry and the People, 1982, 84)
36. Marxian Soundarya Sastram (Marxian Aesthetics, 1983, 90)
37. Thiranjedutha Lekhanangal (Selected Essays, 1985)
38. Pablo Neruda (A Lecture on Pablo Neruda, 1985, 1990, Revised, 2007))
39. Samvadangal (Dialogues: on society, culture, politics, religion education, ecology and literature, 1986)
40. Sameepananangal (Approaches, 1986)
41. Samskarathinte Rashtreeyam (The Politics of Culture, 1989)
42. Sambhashanangal (Conversations: a collection of Interviews given, 1989)
43. Brechtinte Kala (The Art of Bertolt Brecht, 1989, Revised, 2007)
44. Padavukal (Steps: Early articles, 1990)
45. Kazhchakal, Kazhachappadukal (Sights and Visions: Travelogues, 1991)
46. Anveshanangal (Enquiries, 1991)
47. Veenduvicharangal (Rethinkings, 1992)
48. Soundaryavum Adhikaravum (Beauty and Power : on Aesthetics and Politics, 1993)
49. Muhurtangal (Moments, selected Essays on Malayalam Literature, 1996)
50. Pala Lokam, Pala Kalam (Many Times, Many Worlds, Travel Writings, 1998)
51. Kalayum Nishedhavum (Art and Dissent, 1999)
52. Bharateeya Kavitayile Pratirodha Paramparyam (The Tradition of Dissent of Indian Poetry, 2002)
53. Moonnu Yatra (Three Travels, Travelogues, 2004)
54. Kizhakkum Padinjarum (East and West, Travelogues, 2005)
55. Adithattukal (Foundations, Essays, 2006)
56. Mukhamukham (Face to Face, Interviews, 2006)

57. Darshanathinte Ritubhedangal ( Seasons of Vision, Articles, 2010)

58. Malayalakavitha Patanangal (Studies in Malayalam Poetry, 2009, 2011)

59. Sahityavum Pratirodhavum ( Literature and Resistance, Criticism, 2013)

60. Anubhavam, Orma, Yatra ( Experience, Memory, Travel, Autobiographical Essays, 2013)

61. Vithum Vrikshavum ( Selected Essays on Literature, 2013)

Translations in Other Languages

1. Andha Admi Jisne Soorya Khoja (Selected Poems, Hindi, Delhi, 1987)
2. Selected Poems (Gujarati, Ahmedabad1989)
3. Irachasakshigal (Selected Poems, Tamil, Coimbatore, 1990)
4. Summer Rain: Three Decades of Poetry (English, Delhi, 1995)
5. Voh Jise Sab Yad Tha (Selected Poems, Hindi, Delhi, 1996)
6. Nanna Mai Nagara (Selected Poems, Kannada, Bangalore, 1996)
7. How To Go To The Tao Temple (New Poems, English, Delhi, 1998)
8. Sachidanandan Kavitaikal (Selected Poems, Tamil, Madras, 1998)
9. Sareeram Oru Nagaram (Selected Poems, Tamil, Madras, 1999)
10. Apoorna Aura Anya Karitayem (Poems, Hindi, Delhi, 2000)
11. Imperfect and Other New Poems (Poems, English, Calicut, 2000)
12. Sagar Teerer Kavita (Poems, Assamese, Guwahati, 2001)
13. Sachidanandaner Kavita (Poems, Bengali, Calcutta, 2001)
14. So Many Births (Poems, English, Delhi, 2001)
15. Kavitai Meendum Varum (Poems, Tamil, Madras, 2002)
16. Peele Pathe Da Supna (Poems, Punjabi, Delhi, 2002)
17. Ghar O Anyanya Kabita (Poems, Odia, Cuttack, 2002)
18. Tant De Vies: L’Incomplet et autres poemes (Poems, French, Paris, 2002)
19. Haklahat (Poems, Hindi, Delhi, 2004)
20. Ham Jazeeraun Mein Rahte Hein (Poems, Urdu, Hyderabad, 2004)
21. Sareeram Oka Nagaram (Poems, Telugu, Hyderabad, 2004)
22. I Riti Della Terra (Poems, Italian, Rome, 2004)
23. Suruatem (Poems, Hindi, 2005)
24. Stammer and Other Poems (Poems, English, 2005)
25. Ich Glaube Nicht An Grenzen (Poems, German, 2006)
26. Luknat (Poems, Urdu, 2008)

27. How Did Mayakovsky Commit Suicide (Poems, Arabic, 2009)

28.While I Write ( Poems, English,2011)

29. Rogha Danta ( Selected Poems, Irish, 2012)

30. K Satchidanandanyanchi Kavita ( Marathi, 2013)

31. Misplaced Objects and Other Poems ( English, 2014)

30. While I Write ( Poems, Chinese, 2015)

Prose in other languages

31. Marxiya Azagiyar (Marxian Aesthetics, Tamil, 1986)
32. Bharatiya Sahitya: Sthapanayem Aur Prasthavanayem (Indian Literature : Positions and Propositions, 2003)

Original works in English

1. Indian Literature: Positions and Propositions (Essays in Indian Literature, Delhi, 1999)
2. Authors, Texts, Issues (Essays in Indian Literature, Delhi 2002)
3. Indian Literature Paradigms and Perspectives (Essays in Indian Literature, Delhi, 2008)

4. Readings, Indian Literature and Beyond (Essays in Indian Literature, Delhi, 2009)

Translations of Poetry into Malayalam

1. THIRANJEDUTHA KAVITAKAL (Selected Poems of Nazrul Islam), Trichur,1976

2. NERUDAYUDE KAVITAKAL (Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda, Trivandrum, 1976; Reissued with more poems from Calicut, 1985, 87, 98)

3. JAIL DIARY (Ho-Chi-Minh’s Prison Diary, Trivandrum, 1976, Kottayam 1982, Calicut, 1998)

4. BRECHTINTE NOORU KAVITHAKAL ( 100 poems of Bertolt Brecht, Calicut, 1985)

5. NALEYUDE KAVITA (Poems by Alexandre Blok, Mayakovsky and Evtushenko. Irinjalakuda, 1982)

6. KARUTHA KAVITA (Black Poetry from Three Continents,Badagara,1982,2012)

7. LATIN AMERICAN KAVITA (Poetry from Latin America, Guruvayur,1982)

8. MAOYUDE KAVITAKAL (Mao-tse Dong’s Poems, Kottayam, 1984 )

9. KAVITAPARYADANANGAL (Poetry from Acros the World, Ernakulam, 1986)

10. PATHU NAVEENA KAVIKAL (Ten Modern Poets: Cesar Vallejo, Garcia Lorca, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Eugenio Montale, Yehuda Amichai, Chairil Anwar, Zbigniew Herbert, Attila Josef, Nazim Hikmet, Lu Hsun. Payyannur, 1989, Reissued as OLIVUM PALUNKUM with two more poets, Wislawa Zsymborsca and Mahmoud Darwish,. Trivandrum, 2009)

11. NOORU RUSSIAN KAVITAKAL (100 Russian Poems, Calicut, 1989)

12. SAMAKALEENA HINDI KAVITA (Contemporary Hindi Poetry, Calicut, 1989)

13. MAGADHA (Sreekant Verma’s Long Hindi Poem, Magadh,Calicut, 1990)

14. MUPPATHU INDIAN KAVAYITRIKAL (30 Indian Women Poets, calicut, 1990)

15. VAKKUKALUDE AKASAM (Sitakant Mahapatra’s Oriya poems, Sabdara Akash,Delhi,1999)

16. URANGUNNAVARKKULLA KATHUKAL ( Modern Swedish Poetry, Kottayam, 2007)

17. PADINJARAN KAVITA (Collected Translations, Vol 1. European Poetry, Calicut, 2008)

18. KETTIYITTA KOLADU (The Last Poems of Kamala Das from Closure, Kottayam, 2010)

19. MARAM (Tanslation of Safdar Hashmi’s Tree, Poetry for children, Trivandrum, 2010)

20. MOONNAM LOKA KAVITA ( Collected Translations, Vol. 2.Third World Poetry, Calicut), 2012

21. INDIAN KAVITA (Collected Poems, Vol.3. Indian Poetry, Calicut, 2014)

22. PALALOKA KAVITA (Collected Poems, Vol. 4. Poetry from Around the World, Calicut, 2014)

Translations of Plays into Malayalam

23. LUCULLUSINTE VICHARANA (Bertolt Brecht’s The Trial of Lucullus, in TWO BRECHT PLAYS, Trichur, 1978)

24. EZHU LAGHUNADAKANGAL (Seven Short Plays by W. B. Yeats, Bertolt Brecht and Ben Caldwell, Delhi, 2010)

Select bibliography


1. Satchidanandante Lokangal : (The Worlds of Satchidanandan) : Essays on the poets’ works.
2. Navasargam : Dr. M. Leelavathy (A Chapter on the Poet)
3. Haritha Niropanam Malayalathil : Ed. G. Madhusudanan (An eco-aesthetic study on the poem, Ezhimala)
4. Bible Adhunika Kavithayil, Fr. Joseph Cheeran (A l00-page Chapter on Bible and Satchidanandan’s Poetry)
5. Sambhashanangal : Conversations with Satchidanandan
6. Mukhamukham : Collection of Interviews with Satchidanandan

7. Grandhalokam Monthly, Special Issue on Satchidanandan


1. MALAYALAM LITERARY SURVEY : Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Trichur (Article ‘Under the Bodhi Tree : A Study of the Images of Thathagatha in Satchidanandan's poems’ by Dr. A.R. Vijayaraghavan.
2. MAKING IT NEW : IIAS, Shimla 1995 : E.V. Ramakrishnan (Chapter ‘Living on the Faultline : The Poetry of Satchidanandan; also Interview)
3. INDIAN REVIEW OF BOOKS , Chennai, 8 Dec–Jan.1998–99. Review Article, ‘Sensitive Reflections’ by Pramod Menon
4. THE BOOK REVIEW, Delhi, April 2001, Review Article, ‘The Dialectic of Poetry’ by E.V. Ramakrishnan
5. WORLD LITERATURE TODAY, Minnesota, Spring 2002, Review Article, ‘So Many Births’ by John Oliver Perry
6. DECCAN HERALD, Bangalore, 4 Oct 2003, Article ‘Reminiscences of a Poet’ by Lakshmee Rajeev
7. GBD’S OF ASSAM LETTERS, Guwahati, 2004, Article ‘Reflection’s on Life’ by Jaykanta Sharma
8. HOW TO GO TO THE TAO TEMPLE, Delhi, 1998, ‘Modernism and Beyond’, Interview by Makarand Paranjape
9. THE GULF TODAY, Dubai, 24 May 2001, ‘Packaging Exotic Life’, Article by Rajeev Poduval

10. THE CREATIVE MIND, Delhi, July–Sept. 2004, ‘Master Magician in Literature’, Interview and article by Sujata Chowdhuri

11. ABOUT POETRY, ABOUT LIFE, Author's essay on his life and work in While I Write ( Harper-Collins, Delhi, 2011)

12. INTERVIEW WITH RIZIO RAJ in Misplaced Objects and Other Poems ( Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, 2014)


1. LITERATUR NACHRICHTEN, Frankfurt, February 2006 ‘Auch nach Tagore line Mange intelligentes Schariben’, Interview
2. ICH GLAUBE NICHT AN GRENZEN,Frankfurt, 2006, Introduction, Interview


1. Visions et révisions (Introduction); Genèse; L'homme qui se souvenait de tout; in Digraphe no. 80/81, 1997
2. Les survivants; in Europe vol. 80, no. 883-884, 2002
3. Tant de vies: L’incomplet et autres poèmes, Editions Caractères, Paris, 2002, introd. et trad. Martine Chemana
4. Ragmala - Anthologie, Anne Cestaing (ed.) L'Asiathèque - Langues & Mondes, Paris, 2005: Introd. article and Extract


1. INDIA, Rome, 2002, 2 Article, ‘Poesia di Satchidanandan’ by Antonio Menniti Ippolito
2. I RITI DELLA TERRA, Castelvecchi, Rome, Feb. 2005, Introduction ‘Tradurre Versi’ by Giulia Gatti

Online References

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