Īḻattuppūtaṉtēvaṉār was one of the earliest known classical Tamil poets. His poems were included in the Tamil language anthologies of the Sangam literature compiled in Tamilakam before 250. He hailed from the ancient international port of Manthai in Eelam, the ruins of which are in present-day Mannar District, Sri Lanka.
A distinctly Sri Lankan Tamil literary tradition first developed in the 1940s with the works of the 'marumalarchi' or renaissance writers Mahakavi, A. Kandasamy, and Varadar. The poetry of Mahakavi, in particular, helped distinguish the literature of Sri Lankan Tamils from that of Tamils in southern India.
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