A major modern Indian poet, Ayyappa Paniker was born in Kuttanad
, in the village of Kavalam
, on the 12th of September 1930. He completed his intermediate course at Malabar Christian College
and his B.A.Honors degree at University College, Thiruvananthapuram
. In 1971 he acquired Ph.D degree from Indiana University, United States of America and went on to do post-doctoral research at Yale and Harvard.
Ayyappa Paniker is hailed as the poet who introduced modernism into Malayalam poetry. He published his first poem when he was 16 years old. He has authored and edited several books and anthologies in English and Malayalam, and has rendered several works in Malayalam. Dr.Paniker is also renowned as a professor of English and retired from teaching after a long and fruitful career.
His influence has been strongly felt in the cultural and intellectual life of the Malayalee. Ayyappa Paniker is a great critic who is given the credit for ushering in a radically new awareness in the field of literary criticism. He has also exerted tremendous influence on modern Malayalam theatre and on emerging playwrights. He has made his presence felt in the field of translation as well and has many translations to his credit; he is an authority in the theory and practice of translation.
Among his many edited works, 'Medieval Indian Literature,' published by the Central Sahitya Akademi is a monumental work. Another landmark publication is 'Indian Narratology.'
Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry, Central Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry, Distinguished Teacher Award, and Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowship are some among his achievements.
Ayyappa Paniker now enjoys a prestigious position as an icon of modernist culture and thinking. He has traveled widely and is a poet of international fame. He is a rare blend of creative and intellectual genius.