Indian poet and novelist, born in Kerala, south India, into a literary household where both her mother and her grandparents were prominent Malayali poets. Prominent for her intimate and outspoken exploration of sexuality and domestic oppression, she created a stir with her autobiography, My Story (1976). Her volumes of poems include The Sirens (1964), Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (1975), Only the Soul Knows How to Sing (1996), and yaa Allah (2001). Among her works of fiction are Alphabet of Lust (1977, a novel) and Padmavati the Harlot and Other Stories (1992). In 1985 she was awarded the Asian World Prize for Literature. She converted to Islam in 1999.