E. Santhosh Kumar

E. Santhosh Kumar is a Malayalam writer. He has won numerous awards, including that of Kerala Sahitya Academy. Andhakaranazhi, published in 2012 and recipient of 2012 Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Novel, is considered as one of his best.

E. Santhosh Kumar
E. Santhoshkumar.jpg
Pattikkad, Thrissur, Kerala, India
Alma materGovernment Higher Secondary School, Pattikkad
Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur
St. Thomas College, Thrissur
GenreNovel, short story
Notable worksChavukali and Andhakaranazhi
Notable awardsKerala Sahitya Akademi Award


E. Santhosh Kumar was born in 1969 in Pattikkad, Thrissur, Kerala. He studied in Government Higher Secondary School, Pattikkad, Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur and St. Thomas College, Thrissur. He works with National Insurance Company.

His contributions has largely been in novel and short story. Galapagos, which was later published as a collection, was his first published short story. He won his first Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 2006 for Chavukali, a collection of short stories.  This was followed up with an award for the best children's novel Kakkara Desathe Urumbukal instituted by Kerala State Children's Literature Institute in 2011. In 2012, he won the prestigious Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for the second time, for his novel Andhakaranazhi. The novel was translated by P. N. Venugopal into English under the title The Island of Lost Shadows. This work was short listed for the Crossword Prize 2016. The film "Aaradi" (six feet) directed by Saji Palamel, an official entry for IFFK 2016 under contemporary Malayalam cinema, was based on his story "Oralkkethra Mannu Venam?"( How much land does one need?), which won him special jury award for story in the Kerala State film award 2017.

Notable worksEdit

With his first short stories published in the late nineties and his first novel in 2002, E. Santhosh Kumar established himself as a leading writer of Malayalam.  He is generally identified with the generation of Malayalam writers who came into prominence  at the turn of the 21st century.[1] His oeuvre includes two full length novels, six novelettes  and over sixty short stories. His works published in the literary journals of Malayalam and in book form continue to be exceedingly  popular. From the beginning of his writing career Santhosh Kumar has been hailed for his distinctive style and perceptive approach to writing. His novels and short stories have won critical acclaim for the pithy themes, sensitive and insightful handling of socio political issues and a highly restrained and evocative language style. Critics have often described Andhakaranzhi as his magnum opus. This novel is set in the background of a naxalite uprising that left a trail of blood in Kerala in the late sixties and early seventies. The novel also connects to the ruthless manhunt and terrifying torture launched against those suspected to be naxalites during the time of emergency.[1] Santhosh uses this period of Kerala’s  socio-political history to delve  into questions of how ideological convictions  of  human beings clash with their inner personality. Shivan, the protagonist of Andhkaranzhi has absolute belief in the humanistic aims of the Naxalite ideology and the violent means they advocate is fully justified for him. After taking part in a naxalite operation  that ends in the murder of a feudal landlord, Shivan takes shelter in an island mostly inhabited by tribal people. He gradually eases himself into a system that survives on oppression and extortion of poor tribes. In stark contrast with the hardened revolutionary is Sreenivasan, the soft natured poet who is arrested and tortured to death by the police for helping Shivan escape from their clutches. Santhosh Kumar portrays the transformation of the revolutionary into the oppressor with profound understanding of the social and psychological cataclysms that shape the human being. Andhakaranazhi has been hailed as a contemporary classic of Malayalam literature.[2]

In his first novel “Amusement Park” Santhosh  explores the life of two physically challenged persons set in the background of the tentacles of globalisation. The two men with big dreams trapped inside their little bodies struggle  to cope with the big world around them, and gradually their conception of themselves as human beings gets shattered. Amusement park, it has been said that, “unravels cartographies of power that traverse space, identity and language, touching a pseudo-continuum of landscapes across genre, form and time; and in doing so, compels a reimagining of amusement parks and novels as conflicted testimonials of antipathies and exchanges tempered into an increasingly globalised world”.[3] K. Prasananrajan, a noted critic describes ‘Vakkukal’ (Words) another novel of Santhosh Kumar as a work of philosophical dimensions. He says that the rare insight into the  human condition, heightened novelty of meaning created through the use of words and the original approach in presentation style accounts for the powerful impact that this rather small novel creates on the reader. Santhosh has also been able to leave a powerful mark on the Malayalam short story, especially at a time when a number of short story writers emerged with highly varied styles and themes.[4] V. Viyaykumar in his study of contemporary Malayalam short stories  also highlights this.[5] Literary critic Meena T. Pillai says that in the short story ‘Parunthu’, Santhosh Kumar “uses animal imagery to infuse faded lives with a metaphysical vigour, pitching human solace in the marvellous and inexplicable world of nature. The ageing kite, born of the wind and the forest, yet stilled by its reflection in the water is the only succour for a mother who has lost her child to the violence of the world. The edge of the forest, the edge of both the madness of civilisation and the fury of the wild joins two different cosmic worlds, of realism and fantasy, of the dead and the living.”[6]

She sums up the essence of his art of story telling in the following words: “Santhosh Kumar’s stark descriptive prose captures the dilemmas, depths and textures of contemporary Malayali life. He takes the short story to an exalted level and establishes it as a serious genre in the 21st century, one that continues to weave unique techniques, protocols of delineation and distinct stylistic aspects that reflect and ruminate over contemporary histories. The discerning reader will drink deeply from this intoxicating spin of tales and surrender oneself to their meditative beauty.”[6]

List of worksEdit


  • Amusement Park (2002) DC Books
  • Vaakkukal (2007) Mathrubhumi Books
  • Kaakkaradesathe Urumbukal (2009) Kerala Balasahitya Institute
  • Andhakaranazhi (2011) Mathrubhumi Books
  • Island of Lost Shadows (English translation of "Andhakaranazhi") 2015, Niyogi Books, New Delhi


  • Thankachan Manjakkaran(2009)
  • Kunnukal Nakshathrangal (2014)
  • Chidambara Rahasyam (2014), DC Books
  • Three Novellas (2015), DC Books
  • Oralkku Ethra Mannu Veenam (2016), DC Books

Short Story CollectionsEdit

  • Galapagos (2000)
  • Moonnu Andhanmaar Aanaye Vivarikkunnu (2003)
  • Chaavukali (2006)
  • Moonnu Viralukal (2008)
  • Neechavedam (2010)
  • Kathakal: E Santhosh Kumar (2013) DC Books
  • Ente Priyappetta Kathakal (2018) DC Books
  • Narakangalude Upama (2019) DC Books
  • A fistful of Mustard Seeds (English translation of 12 stories) 2019 Niyogi Books, New Delhi

His most famous Short StoriesEdit

  • Naarakangalude Upama (2018)
  • Parunth (2017)
  • Chaavukali (2006)
  • Moonnu Andhanmaar Aanaye Vivarikkunnu (2003)
  • Neechavedam (2010)


  • E P Sushama Endowment for Short Story (2002)
  • Current Books Golden Jubilee Award for Short Story (2002)
  • V P Sivakumar Keli Award for Short Story (2005)
  • T P Kishore Memorial Award for Short Story (2005)
  • Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Story (2006)
  • Meloor Damodaran Kathapuraskaram (2010)
  • Kerala State Children's Literature Institute Award for best children's novel (2011)
  • Nooranad Haneef Memorial Novel Award (2012)
  • Kovilan Novel Award (2012)
  • Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Novel (2012)
  • Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar short story award (2014)
  • Shortlisted for Crossword Prize (translation: Island of Lost Shadows) 2016
  • Special Jury mention for story in Kerala Film Awards (2017)
  • Fokana Malayala Samajam award (2018)
  • Padmarajan Puraskaram for best short story in 2018 (2019)


  1. ^ a b Nair, Ravisankar S (June 2014). "അദൃശ്യ സാന്നിധ്യങ്ങളിലൂടെ കഥ പറയുന്ന നോവൽ". കലാപൂർണ: 6–14.
  2. ^ വി.വിജയകുമാർ (October 2019). പ്രതിബോധത്തിന്റെ അടയാളങ്ങൾ. Kozhikode: ഐ ബുക്സ്. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-93-87828-28-5.
  3. ^ Sankar V, Sucheta (December 2016). "Textual Exiles: Cartographies of Power in Amusement Park". Journal of Literature and Aesthetics. 16: 81–93.
  4. ^ V. Vijayakumar (20 October 2017). "എന്താണ് മനുഷ്യമനസ്സിനോളം ദുരൂഹമായിരിക്കുന്നത്?". Indian Express Malayalam (in Malayalam). Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  5. ^ V. Vijayakumar. കഥയിലില്ലാത്തത്. Palakkad: ലോഗോസ് ബുക്സ്. pp. 22–53. ISBN 979-93-88364-13-3 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help).
  6. ^ a b T.pillai, Meena (28 June 2018). "Eye for detail and nuances". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 November 2019.

External linksEdit