Which Is The First Novel in Malayalam

  • December 7, 2020
  • 4 min read
Which Is The First Novel in Malayalam

Malayalam language has plenty of novels, short stories, poems, etc. Kundalatha/ kuntalata is the first novel in Malayalam. It is published in 1887 and written by old novelist Appu Nedungandi. A novel is a long work of fiction writers in the form of a book. There are several known novels in Malayalam, which are the gold leaf in the fictional world.

During the 19th century, the whole of India was under reformation. The impacts of British rule and the after-effects were present in between the people. So, Literature was used as a powerful tool to change. The writers including O. Chandu Menon were trying for a social revolution through literature. Menon was educated and also an employee of the British government.


Kundalatha (Malayalam Edition): Nedungadi, Appu: 9781979325806:  Books
first novel in Malayalam

There are two explanations exists about the origin of the word ‘Novel’.

  1. The word ‘Novel’ derives from the Italian word ‘ Novella’ which means ‘new’, ‘news’, or ‘short story of something new’.
  1. ‘Novel’ derives from the Latin word ‘Novella’, which is the singular noun form of the plural word ‘Novellus’. It means ‘new’.

INDULEKHA OR KUNDALATHA Indulekha (Oxford India Paperbacks) (9780195678772):  Chandumenon, O., Devasia, Anitha, Tharu, Susie: Books
first novel in Malayalam

Many of the people have confused about which is the first novel in Malayalam? It is because of that, earlier people considered the novel Indhulekha as the first novel. O. Chandu Menon is the author of this book. Indhulekha is published in 1889. So, it is clear that Kundalata, published 2 years ago is the first novel in Malayalam.

Original version of first Malayalam novel 'Indulekha' to be out again |  Books | Manorama
first novel in Malayalam

Indhulekha is a pioneering novel of the late 19th century. Also, many historical write-ups points out Indhulekha as the first novel in Malayalam. It is because, Indhulekha overlook Kundalatha, which consider as inferior work. The novel addresses issues of Nair women in traditional Kerala society. Indhulekha is a Nair woman who is educationally qualified under the western education system. She is a protagonist in this novel. So she wants to marry an educated Nair man, Madhavan. But her father didn’t allow for that. He decides to betroth her to an old aged wealthy Nair man Suri Namboodiri, who is poor educational qualification.


Appu Nedungadi - Wikipedia
first novel in Malayalam

Appu Nedungadi is the author of Kundalatha, the first novel published in Malayalam. He was the founder of literary publications Kerala Patrika, Kerala Sanchari, and also Vidhya Vinodhini. Appu Nedungadi also contributes much to the Malayalam literature field. His mother is Kunjukkutti Kovilamma in Thalakkodimadathil, Puthiyaparambil, Mankavu, Kozhikode, and his father is Manavikraman Thamburan from Samoothiri Kovilakam. Appu Nedungadi was also a well-known advocate. He was born on 11th October 1860. His father died when he was 13 years old. Also, he lost his mother the very next year itself. Appu Nedungadi is also the founder of,

  1. Nedungadi Bank, which is the first bank in South India
  2. Dairy industry in Malabar area
  3. Achuthan girl’s high school.

He died in 3rd November 1933.


Kundalatha @
first novel in Malayalam

Kunthalatha is a complete Malayalam novel. And it has published in October 1887 from Vidhyavilasam Press, Kozhikode. The writer also comments in the introductory part that ‘this novel is meant to be an entertaining novel for normal people’.

His writing style includes slogans and Sanskrit words in between the lines. In other words, the story is about the princess Kunthalatha. She is the daughter of King Kalinga Empire. Above all, the particular novel mentions the places Kalinga, and Kunthalam.  But it is not related to the old empires with similar names.

first audio novel in Malayalam

The first audio novel in Malayalam, “Ouija Board,” was a groundbreaking release in 2018, presented by KathaCafe, a mobile app specializing in audiobooks in various Indian languages. This horror thriller, authored by Akhil P Dharmajan and skillfully narrated by Reji Kalavoor, marked a pivotal moment in Malayalam literature.

With a duration of approximately five hours, “Ouija Board” is a gripping adaptation of Dharmajan’s novel. The story revolves around a group of friends who unwittingly delve into the world of the supernatural when they decide to experiment with an Ouija board. As the tale unfolds, they find themselves grappling with the consequences of opening a portal to another realm and must race against time to seal it shut before it’s too late.

This audio novel, “Ouija Board,” garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success, playing a pivotal role in popularizing the audiobook format within the Malayalam-speaking community. Subsequently, KathaCafe and other publishing entities released a plethora of Malayalam audiobooks, spanning classic and contemporary novels, short stories, and poetry.

The release of “Ouija Board” stands as a significant milestone in the history of the Malayalam publishing industry. It served as a testament to the growing demand for audiobooks in Malayalam and laid the foundation for the burgeoning audiobook market in the language.

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