Neela Padmanabhan (born 26 April 1938), eminent Tamil novelist, short story writer, poet, critic, and essayist, is in fact a bilingual writer, (writing in Tamil and Malayalam), based in Thiruvanathapuram, a southern city of India, known for its scenic landscape, visible culture, and vibrant people. When he turned thirty he shot into fame with the publication of his first novel, “Thamalaimuraikal” (Generations), and ever since it has been a story of steady ascension in the ladder of success for this writer who belongs to Kanyakumari district, (Cape Comerin.). He has to his credit 20 long fiction, 10 collection of short stories, 4 volumes of poems, and 7 collections of essays—all in Tamil, besides a novel, 4 collections of short stories, a collection of poems and a collection of essays written in Malayalam, and a volume of essays and a poetry collection in English. Padmanabhan is now read not only in Tamil but thanks to scores of translations, by readers in English, German, Russian, and many Indian languages..
The immensity of his writings will surprise people who know that writing is not a full time vocation for him. Padmanabhan read for his BSC Physics at Kerala University Thiruvanathapuram, and later graduated in Electrical Engineering from the same university in 1963. He took up the post of a Junior Engineer in Kerala State Electricity Board immediately on graduation, and he continued to serve the Board till he retired in 1993 as Deputy Chief Engineer. Institution of Engineers Kolkatha honored him for his professionalism with a fellowship. While his professional career was an in-house story, his radiated across the nation as a fine storyteller, and a writer non-pareil. He has enjoyed ravishing reviews and notices by scholars and writers of eminence, and requests for translation rights every time his works hit the bookstand.
Many of Padmanabhan’s readers find his short fiction still sketches of changing spectrum of human lives in grandeur and distress during the last forty years. “His poems are essentially the outpourings of a pained heart, a heart lacerated by million wounds, troubled by a trillion aches, not necessarily of his own, but of a society at large”.
Padmanabhan is a bilingual author and a translator as well. He has translated from Malayalam to Tamil, and vice versa. He has 2 anthologies in Tamil translations and one in Tamil. He has translated two volumes of poetry from Malayalam to Tamil, and his Tamil translation of Ayyappa Panikker’s Malayalam verses fetched him the Translation Prize (2003) of Central Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
Neela Padmanabhan was honored with membership in academic boards of Kerala University during 1985-89. He was the Tamil language Editor of Modern Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), and he was chosen to the Executive Board of Central Sahitya Akademi (Academy of Letters) and Convener of the Tamil Advisory Board of the Akademi from 1998 to 2002.He has started an endownment and giving awards for young poets and fiction writers every year under the title "NeelaPadmam" and "Thalaimuraigal" through Thiruvananthapuram Tamil sangom.
On the whole Neela Padmanabhan’s creations record the upheavals and transformations that surrounded him and his fellow beings as they also express the anxiety and the spiritual poverty of modern man. The translations of his works in several Indian and world languages, testify to the universal acceptance of his literary merit.
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This website is about the Writer, Neela Padmanabhan, who received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2007 for the novel Ilai Uthir Kaalam in Tamil.