Written Manipuri literature began around 10th century A.D. and early Manipuri literature mainly consisted of folk and religious poetry. Some of the earliest prose works in Manipuri are ‘Numit Kappa’ (10th century), ‘Naotinkhon Phambal Kaba’ (16-17th century), ‘Lethak Lekharol’ (17th century) and ‘Pantoibi Kangul’ (17th century). Govindram Nunganba is considered as one of the leading Manipuri scholar-poets of the 18th century whose ‘Takhel Ngamba’ is a pioneering historical ballad in Manipuri.
Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh (1895-1950), Lamabam Kamal Singh (1899-1935) and Hijam Anganghal Singh (1892-1943) were the three most important Manipuri poets of the 20th century. Hijam Anganghal Singh’s magnum opus ‘Khamba Thoibe Sheireng’ (1940), Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh’s historical novel ‘Lavangalata’ (1939) and Lamabam Kamal Singh’s ‘Madhavi’ (1930) are pioneering works in Manipuri literature. Arambam Dorendrajit Singh (1907-1944) and L. Samarendra Singh (b.1928) were one of the forerunners of modern Manipuri poetry.
H. Guno Singh (b.1927) is an acclaimed short-story writer in Manipuri. His important works include ‘Khudol’, ‘Langjim Manghrabi Kishi’, ‘Aroiba Paodam’ and ‘Aikhoigi Tada’. Pacha Meetei (1940-1990) set a new trend in Manipuri novel by tackling contemporary social issues in his novel ‘Na Tathiba Ahal Ama’.