TV Varkey

T. V. Varkey is a Kerala-born Indian-writer, who writes novels and short stories both in Malayalam (his mother tongue) and English. He lives in Tripunithura, very close to Kochi.
Born: April 2, 1938 Mevelloor, Kottayam, Kerala, India
Occupation: Novelist, Short Story Writer, Professor and Literary Activist
Influences: Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Dostoevsky, García Márquez, Günter Grass


T.V. Varkey was born on April 2, 1938 into a middle-class family (Thazhakuzhy), at Mevelloor, in Kottayam district. His father, Mathew Varkey (1912-1998), was of Kunnathur family and mother, Thressiamma (1916-1978) was of Vembenil family.He had his primary and high school education at Government L.P. S., Velloor, and St. Paul’s, Veliyanad (Tripunithura), respectively. He did his degree at Sacred Heart College, Thevara, and Master’s at St. Berchman’s, Changanacherry, both in language and literature. Varkey, a gold medallist of the University of Kerala for literary debate, used to publish articles, poems and stories in periodicals, and had won many prizes in various competitions, at an early age itself.

Teaching was his primary calling and he joined S. B College as lecturer in 1964. Two years later he had short stint as a journalist at Deepika, a daily published from Kottayam. Afterwards he worked at Kuriakose Elias College, Mannanam, near Kottayam as a Lecturer and Professor until 1993. During this period he penned his major novels and short stories, besides being a literary activist.

Important works

In his first novel, Vazhiyum Niazhalum (The Road and The shadow), Varkey has employed the stream-of-consciousness technique in telling the love story of a widow. It was a daring experiment in Malayalam when new trends were not very much in vogue. Reviewer, Dr. Radhakrishnan, writes about one of his other novels, Sooryante Maranam (The Death of the Sun), in the Indian Express: “…depicts both Promethean defiance and Sisyphean despair.”Dr. K. M. Tharakan, renowned critic praises Mulmaram (The Thorny Tree), his next important novel, as the “story of a man, a village and an epoch in the history of Kerala.” "Chhaya" (The Shadow), Varkey’s award winning novel is the tale of a human being whose inner self is tragically split into pieces like shattered glass, expounding the unique features of abnormal psychology, in particular the multiple personality….” writes senior critic Dr. M. Leelavathy.Manjupokunna Thalamurakal (The Vanishing Generations) is Varkey’s magnum opus. It is a compelling family saga of a hundred and twenty-five years, which is well integrated with the history of the Syrian Catholic Church of Kerala. The novel, Thrikalam (The Three Seasons) is an analysis of modern ideal personality against the backdrop of fascinating three sets of people living in different families in the same colony. Death becomes a plaything for a heroic personality here.

T. V. Varkey’s three scores of short stories have a unique place in Malayalam literature. Njan Verum Njan (I’m mere I) received much praise as the best story of 1986 and the Vice-chancellor is an award winning story. Veedum Kozhikoovunnu (Again the Cock Crows) was the chosen story of 1984, and Aviswasi (The Unbeliever), Gandhi Sishayan (Gandhi’s Disciple) are noted for their ironical and sarcastic narration. Style and vision:T. V. Varkey’s literary creations are in-depth analysis of his characters, which reflect different shades of his views. His style of writing is personal and sardonic. Most of his writings are serious comedies, although their tone and fictional strategies may "muffle" things.


* Gold medal (University of Kerala for Debate – 1962
* Vipula National Short Story Award – 1988
* Sachethana Award for novel — 1989Films:
* Sooriyante Maranam. Directed by award winning director Rajeev Nath, and won a state award.
* Njan Sivan Pillai (under the title Keli), directed by Bharathan, an artistic, experimental film maker. The film was commercially too successful.



Novels : Vazhiyum Niazhalum (The Road and The shadow), Vilakku (The Lamp), Sooriyante Maranam (The Death of the Sun), Nam Chithalukal (We’re Termites) , Mulmaram (The Thorny Tree) , Njan Sivan Pillai (I am Sivan Pillai) , Chhaya (The Shadow), Manjupokunna Thalamurakal (The Vanishing Generations), Thrikalam (The Three Seasons)

Short stories : Aviswasi (The Unbeliever), The Vice-Chancellor, Veedum Kozhikoovunnu (Again the Cock Crows), Gandhi Sishayan (Gandhi’s Disciple), Njan Verum Njan (I’m mere I)

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