Jayakanthan (born on April 24, 1934) is a Tamil writer, essayist, journalist, pamphleteer, film-maker and critic. He is an iconoclast who ridicules social anomalies and is known for his bold and revolutionary ideas.
He grew up under the aegis of his uncle from whom he imbibed communist ideologies and was also introduced to the works of Subramania Bharathi. At this stage, his mother took him to Chennai and requested a friend/family member associated with Communist Party of India (CPI) to put some sense into him for she was frustrated that he was a school dropout. He then learnt proper Tamil from a pandit.
Though Jayakanthan was one of the most brilliant and honest Tamil writers of his time, he himself has admitted that he had no patience to do systematic research. It was this want of a scholarly approach to his work that led to more short stories than fiction writing. It was only later that he matured enough to write fiction.
He called himself 'the first Tamil writer to earn a living by writing'. He went on to become one of the most prolific and powerful Tamil writers of the twentieth century. He also had a stint in Tamil Cinema and tried his hand at making films. He made a film based on his novel, Unnaippol Oruvan, which became the first Tamil film to get an award at the national level in India. It was awarded the President's award (third prize) in 'The Best Regional Film' category.
He was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi translation prize in 1972 for his work on Tamil novel Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal. In 1996, he was declared a Fellow of Sahitya Akademi. In 2002, the Jnanpith Award was announced for D Jayakanthan. His works were described as one that delicately unveiled every depth of human emotion and equations.