Kovai Gnani, renowned Tamil writer and literary critic, passes away in Coimbatore at 85

Gnani worked as an editor for 30 years while becoming the greatest contributor to the Marxist critique of Tamil texts.

FP Staff July 22, 2020 16:03:48 IST
Kovai Gnani, renowned Tamil writer and literary critic, passes away in Coimbatore at 85

Renowned Tamil writer and literary critic Kovai Gnani passed away at his Coimbatore residence on 22 July, 2020. Pari Vallal, his elder son, told the Times of India that Gnani died of age-related health issues at 11.15 am.

Born in 1935 as K Pazhaniswami, Gnani studied Tamil Literature at Annamalai University. From there he went on to work as an editor for 30 years while also becoming the greatest contributor to the Marxist critique of Tamil texts. In his illustrious career, Gnani has written over 25 books, five volumes of essays, 11 anthologies, and three poems in addition to mentoring several modern Tamil writers, poets, and critics. Among his many awards and accolades, the Tamil Literary Garden Award he was presented with in 2010 stands out.

Despite being a proponent of Marxism in Tamil literature and drawing parallels between Tamil society, 'virtue' and socialism, he did not politically associate himself with communist parties. Also part of the Little Magazine Movement, he edited Puthia Thalaimurai, Vaanampadihe and ran Marxia Ayvithazh, Parimanam and Nigazh with a few of his contemporaries, enriching the modern Indian literature canon.

He had reportedly been in poor health since 1988, even losing sight due to diabetes and retiring voluntarily, but he continued reading and writing with the help of an assistant.

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