Leela Nambudiripad

Leela Nambudiripad

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Category: Literature

Leela Nambudiripad Profile

  • Name:
  • Leela Nambudiripad
  • Born:
  • May 16, 1934
  • Father:
  • O. M. C. Narayanan Nambudiripad
  • Mother:
  • Uma Antharjanam
  • Spouse:
  • Desamangalam Ashtamurthy Nambudripad

Leela Nambudiripad Biography

Leela Nambudiripad, fondly called ‘Enid Blyton of Malayalam’ is a noted writer associated with Malayalam literature, known for writing stories and other works for children. She wrote under the pen name of ‘Sumangala’. A translation of Panchatantra to Malayalam is regarded as her best contribution to children’s literature. Mithayippoti, Neypaayasam, Manchaatikkuru, Kurinjiyum Koottukaarum, Ee Kattha Kettittundo, Nadodi Cholkathakal, Rahasyam and Kudamanikal are other major works. She also compiled a Malayalam dictionary titled, Pacha Malayala Nikhandu. She is the daughter of eminent Sanskrit scholar O. M. C. Narayanan Nambudiripad. Leela is associated with literary world for more than 4 decades.


Leela was born in Vellinezhi of Palakkad District, Kerala on 16 May 1934 into a Namboodiri family. Her father O. M. C. Narayanan Nambudiripad was an eminent scholar and writer. Uma Antharjanam was her mother. She married Desamangalam Ashtamurthy Nambudripad and has three children - Dr. Usha Nambudripad, D Narayanan and D Ashtamurthy. She worked in Public Relations Department of Kerala Kalamandalam for 22 years. Currently she is settled in Thrissur.


Leela’s entry to literary world was not predetermined. She started writing after she got married and also gave birth to her elder daughter Usha. As a young child Usha used to insist her mother to tell new stories every time. She referred library books at first and slowly started to narrate her own fictional stories. Leela transformed all the cats, dogs, squirrels and crows in the vicinity into endearing characters, and later she started publishing them. The books captivated children all across Kerala with their wisdom and humour, and made her a popular author of children’s literature.


She wrote her first story about a cat named ‘Kurinji’ and its one day of life. She used the pen name ‘Sumangala’ to publish stories – the name quite familiar to Malayalis. She published 37 books in total, of which 23 are dedicated to children. She is a recipient of Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for children’s literature in 1979.

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Updated: July 09, 2016


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