Vannadhasan is the pen name used by the renowned Tamil writer Siva Kalyana Sundaram. He also uses the pseudonym Kalyanji while writing poems. He was born in 1946 in Tirunelveli to the famous Tamil writer Thi. Ka. Sivasankaran. His father was the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2000 for his literary criticism Vimarsanangal Mathippuraikal Pettikal. He started his career as a writer in 1962 for the Tamil Magazine “
Deepam.” He published his first book in 1976 called Kalaikka Mudiyaatha Oppanaigal (Irreplaceable Make-Up). In 1978, his book Thottathukku Veliyilum Sila Pookkal (Some Flowers outside the garden), a collection of eleven short stories, was published by Sandhya Publication. In 1983, he published the book Samaveli (The Plains) highlighting the importance of the thirst for minor experiences, and in 1985 Peyar Theriyamal Oru Paravai (A Bird without the Name Unknown) was published under Sandhya Publications.
Five years later, his book Manusha Manusha became the best-seller in Tamil literary circles. In 1992, he published Kanivu (Kindness or Warmth), and his 1996 publication Nadugai (Planting) received brilliant reviews. In 1998, he wrote Uyara Parathal (High Altitude) published by Vikatan Publishing House. In 2000, he wrote Krishnan Vaitha Veedu (Krishnan’s House). In 2010, his book Oliyile Therivadhu (Visible in Light) was published for which he received the Sujatha Award in 2011. In 2013, his collection of short stories Oru Siru Isai was published for which he received the Sahitya Akademi Award Tamil in 2016, following his father’s legacy.
He also won the Vishnupuram Literary Award in the same year. He has won various other awards for his work like Kalaimamani State Award, Illakiya Sinthanai Award, Pavalar Award, and Sirpi Award. Some of the translations of his poems into English can be found in Jayanthasri Balakrishnan’s blog. He has a unique and natural sense of writing and his style of writing is greatly appreciated by the critics. The Director of the National Folklore Support Centre M. D Muthukumarswamy aptly says that he gives tremendous attention to details even when writing about minor incidents and ordinary people.
He tries to give every one of his characters something unique and yet keeping these characters deeply connected to the ground reality. The underlying themes of nostalgia in his stories as well as poems led people to discount him as someone who dwells in the past. However, his ability to completely take away the negative from any story soon won him a dedicated and loving fan base. The aesthetic of his writings is mainly derived from the way he distances himself and observes and analyzes the psyche of his characters.