O. N. V. Kurup (Ottaplavil Neelakandan Velu Kurup) is one of the most renowned Malayalam poets. Though he grew up in a village in Chavara, Kollam and went to a Government school, he made sure that he attained the best education. After completing his graduation in Economics, he did his Masters in Malayalam literature.
His high education and passion for the subject led him to be a lecturer at Maharajas College – Eranakulam, University College – Trivandrum, Arts and Science College – Kozhikode and Brennen College – Thalassery. He was a visiting professor at Calicut University as well. Towards the end of his teaching career he was the Head of the Malayalam Department at the Government Women’s College – Trivandrum. He finally retired from service in 1986. Even during his teaching days he was very interested in writing. He had published his first poem; ‘Munnottu’ (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly in 1946. He later published a book named Dahikunna Panapatram (The Thirsty Chalice) which contained a collection of his early poems during 1946-1956.
He is an ardent lover of music. He composes songs for Malayalam films and received the Kerala State Film Awards for best lyricist 13 times and a National Film award in 1989 for the movie Vaishali. He is also the proud winner of the prestigious Padma Shri in 1998, Vayalar Ramavarma Award in 1982, Kendra Sahitya Academy Award in 1971 and 1975 and the Ezhuthachan Award in 2008.
ONV’s poetry is still committed to a fruitful fusion of tradition and modernity His imaginative skills created poetic expressions often dealt with the land he belonged to and events, people and situations he experienced. He is a strong believer of the leftist leaning and was the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency for the Lok-Sabha elections in 1989.