Literature is basically a cultural product and needs to be studied in relation to the socio-cultural milieu.
•To act as an academic centre where all literatures and arts converge.
•To facilitate research and studies in interdisciplinary areas of language, literature, fine arts and humanities.
•To impart a theoretical framework to literary and cultural studies.
•To provide leadership, orientation and input to literature studies in institutions affiliated to the University.
•Through translations and publications, bring Malayalam to the attention of the literary world.
School of Letters, established in 1988 with Prof. G. Sankara Pillai, the doyen of drama and theatre in Kerala as its first director, is the interdisciplinary Department of Literature and Fine arts of Mahatma Gandhi University. In its formative years, the School was intellectually and academically guided by some of the best literary minds including Prof. K. Ayyappa Paniker, poet and academic, Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, noted Malayalam poet and Prof. U. R. Anantha Murthy, Jnanapith Awardee and the second Vice Chancellor of the University.
In the initial years, School of Letters was housed in Hassan Manzil, a rented building. In 1998, School of Letters moved to its own building on the campus in Priyadarsini Hills. This is a piece of marvellous architecture, blending the tradition of Kerala and modern taste.
The tenure of Prof. G. Sankara Pillai, the first Director was abruptly cut short by his demise on 1 January 1989. Every year, the day is observed as Founder’s Day, marked by a memorial lecture and a play performed in his memory. Prof. Narendra Prasad, renowned critic, playwright, director and actor succeeded him as the Director in 1989 and continued in the position until untimely death took him away. A memorial lecture has been instituted in his honour. Both these events have brought a large number of luminaries of national and international reputation to School of Letters. This includes Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Prof. G. Kumara Pillai, Abu Abraham, Ponkunnam Varkey Sarah Joseph, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Actor Murali and Prof. B. N. Patnaik.
The M.A. Programmes in English & Malayalam, and M.Phil. programmes in English, Malayalam and Theatre Arts are carried out in the true spirit of interdisciplinary studies and comparative cultural studies, without being organized under separate ‘Departments’. Students of these various programmes undergo literary and theatre studies with common core and elective courses, initiating dialogues among languages, cultures and practices, which is a unique system rarely found elsewhere. The Ph.D programmes of the School cover a variety of areas and fields in Human Sciences including, but not limited to, literature, cultural studies, fine arts, film studies, media studies, dalit and subaltern studies, and women and gender studies.