Kozhikode: Renowned Malayalam writer Dr Punathil Kunjabdulla passed away at a private hospital in Kozhikode. He was 77. The writer's health was deteriorating and was hospitalised on Thursday. Popularly called "Kunjikka", Kunjabdulla was ailing for a year. He breathed his last at 7.45 a.m. at a private hospital here.

A modernist in Malayalam literature, Kunjabdulla won the Kendra Sahithya Academy Award for his novel Smarakasilakal (Memorial Stones) in 1980. Also he has won Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1978, 1980, and a fellowship in 2010, Muttath Varkey award in 1999 and Vishwavidyapeedam Award. In 2013, Punathil was honoured with Mathrubhumi Literary Award, the biggest literature award in Malayalam.

A strong willed personality, Kunjabdulla surprised many when he contested the 2001 assembly election from the Beypore assembly constituency on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket and finished third by getting over 10,000 votes.

His funeral will be held in the evening.

His major works include novels Smarakasilakal, Marunnu, Paralokam, Kanyavanangal, Agnikanavukal, Punathilinte Novellakal and Ammaye Kaanan; short stories Aligarh Kathakal, Kshethravilakkukal, Malamukalile Abdulla, Kure Sthreekal, Pranaya Kathakal, Kathi and Punathilinte 101 Kathakal; memoirs Atmaviswasam Valiya Marunnu and Puthiya Marunnum Pazhaya Manthravum; and travelogue Volgayil Manju Peyyumbol.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan conveyed his condolences on the writer's demise.

"Punathil was a writer who identified the pulse of the contemporary life. He communicated with his readers in the language of the common man. He perceived life through the eyes of a cartoonist. ‘Smarakasilakal’, considered his masterpiece, is an epic work depicting the religious harmony of Northern Malabar," Pinarayi said in his condolence message.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and Minister A K Balan also mourned the demise of the writer.

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Punathil Kunjabdullah receives Mathrubhumi Literary award from writer MT Vasudevan Nair at a function held at MM Press on 19-12-2013. (file photo) Photo:Archives