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Kamaladevi Aravindan

Kamaladevi Aravindan (maiden name Kamala Devi Nair) is an award-winning bilingual (Tamil and Malayalam) writer and playwright, whose writings have been published in India, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. She was born in Malaysia and moved to Singapore after her marriage.

She is a prolific author who has in her lifetime published more than 162 short stories and essays, 18 stage plays, 300 radio dramas as well as 5 books. She has earned numerous awards and is a celebrated author among established writers since the start of her writing career in her teens.

At fifteen years of age, she was awarded “The Best Writer” in the Johor state (Malaysia) and was praised to be the pride of Tamils by K. Sarangapani. She later studied postmodern literature from Koothupattarai Muthusamy from Tamil Nadu and from Ramanujan, professor from Thanjai University. She also specializes in ‘Parikshartha’ drama literature in Tamil Nadu.

In addition to Singapore and Malaysia, her short stories have been in periodicals from Tamil Naadu, USA and Canada such as Kanaiyazhi, Yukamayini, Oodaru and Uyirmmai. Several of her work has been translated into English as well such as her short story collection Nuval by Sithuraj Ponraj; a short story,Soorya Grahana Theru” (from the short story collection, Soorya Grahana Theru), by Kavitha Karum, featured inFiction of Singapore in 2014 by National Arts Council, Singapore.

Her writing continues to be studied at higher institutions too such as the short story collections, Nuval and Karavu at the University of Malaya by both undergraduates and postgraduates. Many of her short stories have been selected as examination texts too. Her research articles too have been included at tertiary institutions to represent female writers from Malaysia and Singapore.

In 2014, Kamaladevi Aravindan’s non-fiction book, Nigazhkalayil Naan, that traces her journey in the theatre field received the Jeyanthan Foundation Lifetime Playwright Award. In the same year, her short story, Mugadugal, from the collection Nuval, was chosen as the 2014’s best Tamil short story during the Singapore Writers Festival that year and released as a short film, which won three other awards.

Kamaladevi won the Karigarsozhan Award from Thanjai University in 2011. The Tamil Language and Cultural Society’s Bharathiyar-Bharathidasan Award, Association of Singapore Tamil Writers’ Tamizhavel Award during Muthamizh Vizha in 2016, and Artists Association’s Best Playwright Award are some of the other awards she has acclaimed as a personality in the literary scene. She has also won the Indian Muslim Association’s Societal Literature Contributor Award during the annual literary recognition in 2000, the Research Award for Malaysian Tamil Female Writer in 2013 and the Malaysia Scholars Award in Kedah State in 2017.

Similarly, Kamaladevi has also received many awards in Singapore for her literary works in Malayalam. Her Malayalam plays have been staged at various venues in Singapore and have acclaimed awards. She won Singapore’s Best Playwright Award, Best Director Award and Best Author Award at the drama competition organized by Kairalee Kala Nilayam, Singapore, in 1992. Her play, Silanthivala (Spider Web), has brought her fame in the Malayalam literary scene for being a female script-writer and director.

Three of her books Nuval, Karavu and Sembawang were published under the auspices of a National Arts Council, Singapore grant. Her latest novel, Sembawang, is a Tamil historical fiction which traces the lives of those who lived in the Semawang area in the early 1960s over a span of fifty years also received a National Heritage Board, Singapore, Grant. The English translation of the novel was synchronously published in 2020 by Marshall Cavendish International Asia.

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