Jayakanthan (24 April 1934 – 8 April 2015), popularly known as JK, was an Indian writer, journalist, orator, film-maker, critic and activist. Born in Cuddalore, he dropped out of school at an early age and went to Madras, where he joined the Communist Party of India. In a career spanning six decades, he authored around 40 novels, 200 short stories, APART from two autobiographies. Outside literature, he made two films. In addition, four of his other novels were adapted into films by others.
Jayakanthan's literary honours include Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi awards. He was also a recipient of Padma Bhushan (2009), India's third-highest civilian honour, the Soviet Land Nehru Award (1978), and the Russian government's Order of Friendship (2011)
Jayakanthan wrote his first short story for a Tamil magazine titled Sowbakiyavathi, which got it published in 1953. Following early success, Jayakanthan started writing for mainstream magazines such as Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam and Dinamani Kadir, who published a number of short-stories particularly in the 1960s. In 1964, Jayakanthan entered films by co-producing and directing a venture titled Unnaipol Oruvan, based on his novel. The film focussed on the plight of slum-dwellers. Although a commercial failure, it won the President's Certificate of Merit for the Third Best Feature Film in 1965. The following year he made another film based on his namesake novel Yaarukkaga Azhudhaan which had Nagesh playing the lead role. His novel Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal (1970) won him the Sahitya Akademi Award (for Tamil) in 1972. Later this was adapted into a film of the same name by A.Bhimsingh, which won a National Film Award. Promoted by the film's success, Bhimsingh made one more film tilted Oru Nadigai Naadagam Paarkiral, based on his namesake novel.
In 2008, Ravisubramaniyan made a documentary film on Jayakanthan, the second of its kind, and was produced by Ilaiyaraja.