Malayattoor Ramakrishnan was born on 30 May 1927 as K. V. Ramakrishna Iyer in Kalpathi in Palakkad (Palghat) in a family of Kerala Iyers.
After earning the B.L. degree he started his career as an Advocate.Later he started his work as a sub-editor in The Free Press Journal in Mumbai. He was a contributing cartoonist to Shankar's Weekly. He is also credited with the first Malayalam translation of Bram Stoker's Dracula apart from translating Sherlock Holmes novels into Malayalam.
In 1957, he entered the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).The memoirs of his long career as a bureaucrat are narrated in his work Service Story – Ente IAS Dinangal.
alayattoor wrote his best known work - Verukal (Roots) in 1965. It is a semi-autobiographical work which tells the story of a family of Tamil speaking Iyers who settled in Kerala. This won him the Kerala Sahithya Academy Award. In 1981, he resigned from the Indian Administrative Service in order to devote his time to writing. It was during the period 1981 to 1997 that his most famous works emerged from his pen. Among his other famous novels are Yakshi, Yanthram, Nettoor Mathom and Amritham Thedi. For Yanthram, he was awarded the Vayalar Award.