Apart from her bestselling books such as The God of Small Things, Man Booker Prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is also known for her left-wing political activism. Born to a Syrian Christian mother and an Indian Hindu father, Roy had initially studied architecture and worked as a script writer.
Amrita Pritam was an Indian poet, essayist, and novelist who wrote in Hindi and Punjabi languages. She is widely regarded as the first major female Punjabi poet and the leading Punjabi-language poet of the 20th century. In 1956, she was honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award, becoming the first woman to receive the prestigious award.
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was an Indian independence activist, writer, novelist, and humanist. He is best remembered for his simple style of writing that impressed the critics and the common man alike. One of the most celebrated and renowned writers from India, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was honored with prestigious awards, such as the Sahitya Academy Fellowship.
Apart from his 28 full-length plays, renowned dramatist Vijay Tendulkar had also penned many short stories and a novel. Apart from winning the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, he also won a National Award for penning the screenplay of the Shyām Benegal film Manthan.
Vaidyanath Mishra, better known by his pen name, Nagarjun, was an Indian poet who wrote in Hindi and Maithili. Besides poetry, he also penned numerous short stories, novels, and biographies. Widely regarded as the most prominent protagonist of modernity in Maithili, he was known as Janakavi, the people's poet. He was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1969.
Known by his pseudonym, Nirala, Suryakant Tripathi was a pioneer of the Neo-Romantic movement Chhayavaad. After losing his family to a flu epidemic, he became a proof-reader and gradually began to write. Apart from novels and prose works such as Kullibhat and Nirupama, he also penned countless poems, especially in free verse.
Krishna Sobti was an Indian novelist and essayist. She is best remembered for her novel Zindaginama which earned her the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1980. In 1996, she received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for her contribution. Her contribution was also honored with the Jnanpith Award in 2017. Sobti's novels have been translated into several languages including English, Russian, and Swedish.
Bharati Mukherjee was a writer who also taught at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor emerita in the English department. The author of several short story collections and novels, Bharati Mukherjee was honored with many prestigious awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988.
Hindi author Harishankar Parsai was known for his own brand of satire. Equipped with an MA degree in Hindi, he had initially taken up a job, which he later quit to launch a magazine named Vasudha and become a full-fledged author. The Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer remains a pioneer of Hindi satire.
One of the most significant leaders of the Neo-romantic movement of Hindi literature, known as Chhayavaad, Makhanlal Chaturvedi created history by becoming the first Sahitya Akademi winner in Hindi literature. The Padma Bhushan winner is best known for his work Him Taringini. He also edited nationalist journals as Karmaveer.
Critically acclaimed novelist and children’s author Anita Nair initially worked for an ad agency in Bangalore. Her novel Lessons in Forgetting was later made into a National Award-winning film. A UNHCR supporter, she has won several awards, such as the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award and the JFW Award.
Hindi author Hazari Prasad Dwivedi was the son of Sanskrit scholar Pandit Anamol Dwivedi. Well-versed in astrology and Sanskrit, he later taught Sanskrit and Hindi at Visva Bharati. He also served BHU as the Reader of its Hindi department. He also won a Padma Bhushan and a Sahitya Akademi Award.
Hindi author Kamleshwar began his career as a proof-reader and editor. He remains best known for his iconic novel Kitne Pakistan, or Partitions, which won him a Sahitya Akademi Award. He also won a Padma Bhushan for his works and penned scripts of several hit Hindi films, such as Aandhi.
Indian-born poet Meena Alexander spent most of her childhood in Sudan, owing to her father’s job. She then acquired a PhD in English from the U.K. and moved to the U.S., where she wrote and taught. Known for works such as Illiterate Heart, Meena experimented with themes such as migration.
Hindi author Vishnu Prabhakar created history when he became the first from his state Haryana to win a Sahitya Akademi award, a coveted literary award in India. Primarily known for his novels and stories, he had also penned poems. Awara Masiha and Ardhanarishwar remain two of his best-known works.