Famous Indian Novelists

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India’s contribution to the field of literature has been appreciated since time immemorial. From the classics of Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray, to the children stories of Ruskin Bond, the works of these eminent novelists have changed the perception of the world towards India. Unlike the age old adage of India being the ‘land of snake charmers’, these famous novelists have painted the real picture of the country, for the outside world to admire and acknowledge through their works. These novelists have created works on different literary genres and the modern day writers like Amish Tripathy, Devdutt Pattanaik, Kiran Desai and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar are not willing to be confined to the conventional themes of the past. These writers are raring to have a go at the unexplored literary genres and their efforts are duly recognized by the audiences globally. These Indian novelists have created a niche for themselves among the elite writers around the world. Here we have made an effort to present a collection of biographies on some of the famous Indian novelists. Explore through the collection to find all about their life stories, timelines and gear yourselves with some interesting trivia and facts related to them.

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Rabindranath Tagore
10
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 2 
Chetan Bhagat
6
Birthdate: April 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Delhi, India
Indian investment banker-turned-writer Chetan Bhagat is known for his bestselling novels such as Five Point Someone and One Night @ the Call Center. Many Bollywood movies, such as Kai Po Che! and 3 Idiots, have been adapted from his novels, with the former winning him a Filmfare Award.
 3 
Arundhati Roy
(Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist)
Arundhati Roy
15
Birthdate: November 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Assam

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.

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 4 
R. K. Narayan
7
Birthdate: October 10, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: May 13, 2001

Remembered as one of the greatest authors of Indian literature in English, R. K. Narayan created the iconic character Swami and related his experiences set in the fictional town of Malgudi. The Sahitya Akademi and Padma Vibhushan winner was also the brother of cartoonist R.K. Laxman.

 5 
Munshi Premchand
(Novelist and Author)
Munshi Premchand
6
Birthdate: July 31, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lamhi, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: October 8, 1936
Indian author Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, better known by his pseudonym, Munshi Premchand, was one of the most celebrated Hindi-language writers of the 20th century. He initially wrote as Nawab Rai. Some of his greatest works include the novels Godaan, Idgah, and Karmabhoomi. He also wrote short stories and plays. 
 6 
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
6
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

 7 
Shashi Tharoor
(Writer, Politician, Diplomat)
Shashi Tharoor
4
Birthdate: March 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London

Born in London, to an Indian couple, Shashi Tharoor is known for his award-winning books such as the The Great Indian Novel and his over-the-top English vocabulary. Tharoor is also a Congress MP. He made headlines when his wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel.

 8 
Khushwant Singh
(Novelist, Lawyer, Journalist & Politician)
Khushwant Singh
5
Birthdate: February 2, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hadali, British India (now in Khushab District, Punjab, Pakistan)
Died: March 20, 1999

Known for his bestselling book Train to Pakistan, Khushwant Singh was a reputed lawyer, politician, and journalist. He was also known for his widely popular column With Malice towards One and All, which was featured in many Indian newspapers. His post-colonial writings mirrored his wit and sarcasm.

 9 
Amrita Pritam
(Indian Author Who Wrote in Punjabi and Hindi and is Considered One of History's Foremost Female Punjabi Writers)
Amrita Pritam
5
Birthdate: August 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gujranwala, Pakistan
Died: October 31, 2005

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.

 10 
Sudha Murty
(Author)
Sudha Murty
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Shiggaon, Haveri, Karnataka, India

Known for her humility and simplicity, Indian philanthropist and author Sudha Murty had humble beginnings as a TELCO engineer. She is married to Infosys co-founder Narayan Murty and heads the Infosys Foundation. The Padma Shri winner has penned over 200 titles, such as Dollar Bahu, in both Kannada and English.

 11 
Vikram Seth
(Writer)
Vikram Seth
4
Birthdate: June 20, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kolkata

Vikram Seth is an Indian poet and novelist. He is credited with increasing the readership of the English language in India. A revered and celebrated writer, Vikram Seth has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Sahitya Academy Award, WH Smith Literary Award, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, Crossword Book Award, Padma Shri, Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Mulk Raj Anand
3
Birthdate: December 12, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Peshawar, Pakistan
Died: September 28, 2004

Mulk Raj Anand was an Indian writer best remembered for his depiction of the people belonging to the backward class in traditional Indian society. Anand, who wrote in English, was one of the first Indian writers to achieve an International readership. In 1968, Mulk Raj Anand was honored with India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.

 13 
Kuvempu
(Novelist)
Kuvempu
3
Birthdate: December 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chikkamagaluru district
Died: November 11, 1994

One of the greatest Kannada literary figures to have ever lived, Jnanpith Award- and Padma Vibhushan-winning author Kuvempu had written the state anthem of Karnataka, Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate. He was also an academic who had served as the Mysore University vice-chancellor and often voiced his concerns on social issues.

 14 
Mahasweta Devi
(Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer)
Mahasweta Devi
4
Birthdate: January 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dhaka
Died: July 28, 2016

Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian author Mahasweta Devi is regarded as a gem of the Bengali literary world. She had also been a left-wing social activist, and her works such as Hajar Churashir Maa and Rudali have either tribals or people from the marginalized communities as their protagonists.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1838
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Naihati, Kolkata
Died: April 8, 1894

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was an Indian poet, novelist, and journalist. He is credited with composing India's national song, Vande Mataram, which personifies India as a mother goddess. The song played a major role in inspiring revolutionaries during India's struggle for independence. Dubbed Emperor of Literature, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote 14 novels alongside several poems.

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Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
(Indian Novelist and Short Story Writer of the Early 20th Century)
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Debanandapur, Bandel, India
Died: January 16, 1938

Iconic Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is best known for his works such as Devdas, Srikanta, and Parineeta, many of which have been made into films. Born into a poverty-stricken family, he found solace in literature and began writing in his teens. He was a prominent figure of the Bengali Renaissance.

 17 
William Makepeace Thackeray
(Author & Novelist)
William Makepeace Thackeray
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 24, 1863
 18 
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
(Novelist, Screenwriter, Essayist, Writer, Diarist, Songwriter)
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
3
Birthdate: January 21, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thalayolaparambu
Died: July 5, 1994

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.

 19 
Kamala Suraiyya
5
Birthdate: March 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thrssur, Kerala, India
Died: May 31, 2009

Kamala Suraiyya, also known by her pen-name Madhavikutty and by her married name Kamala Das, was a Malayali poet who is remembered for her liberal treatment of female sexuality in her works. Her writings, such as Summer in Calcutta, form an integral part of Indian literature written in English.

 20 
Amish Tripathi
4
Birthdate: October 18, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Educated at IIM Calcutta, Amish Tripathi was initially a banker. He soared to fame with his debut book The Immortals of Meluha, which not just set the tone for his equally successful later books of the Shiva Trilogy but also won him several awards. He later also led London’s Nehru Centre.

 21 
Sheela
(Actress)
Sheela
4
Birthdate: March 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thrissur, India
 22 
Sagarika Ghose
(Author, Journalist)
Sagarika Ghose
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Delhi

Renowned journalist Sagarika Ghose was an Oxford Rhodes scholar before she joined media giants such as The Times of India and CNN-IBN. Apart from being the daughter of Indian civil servant and theater personality Bhaskar Ghose, she is also the wife of popular journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.

 23 
Amitav Ghosh
(Writer, best known for his English language historical fiction)
Amitav Ghosh
4
Birthdate: July 11, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Jnanpith- and Padma Shri-winning author Amitav Ghosh is best known for his iconic bestselling books such as The Calcutta Chromosome and The Hungry Tide. Initially employed with the Indian Express, he later also wrote for publications such as The New Yorker. He is also a regular at international film festivals.

 24 
Aravind Adiga
(Indian Writer and Journalist Best Known for His Novel 'The White Tiger')
Aravind Adiga
3
Birthdate: October 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Best known for his Man Booker Prize-winning debut novel The White Tiger, Indian author Aravind Adiga was born in Chennai but later moved to Sydney. Educated at Columbia University and Oxford, he has also worked for Financial Times and as a South Asia correspondent for Time.

 25 
Anita Desai
(Novelist)
Anita Desai
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mussoorie, India
 26 
Kiran Desai
(Her novel The Inheritance of Loss won the 2006 Man Booker Prize)
Kiran Desai
5
Birthdate: September 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Delhi, India
 27 
Ravinder Singh
(Novelist)
Ravinder Singh
3
Birthdate: February 4, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India
 28 
Sujatha Rangarajan
(Writer, Screenwriter)
Sujatha Rangarajan
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1935
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Srirangam
Died: February 27, 2008
 29 
Raja Rao
(Author, Writer)
Raja Rao
8
Birthdate: November 8, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Karnataka
Died: July 8, 2006
 30 
Kalki Krishnamurthy
(Former Writer who founded a magazine, which was also named Kalki)
Kalki Krishnamurthy
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manalmedu, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: December 5, 1954

Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy, better known by his pseudonym Kalki, is remembered for his immense contribution to Tamil literature, which included his short stories, novels, and novellas. His social novel Alai Osai won him a Sahitya Akademi award. He also used the pseudonym Karnatakam to write as a film and music critic.

 31 
Nayantara Sahgal
(Journalist, Writer)
Nayantara Sahgal
3
Birthdate: May 10, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Allahabad
Sahitya Akademi Award-winning author Nayantara Sahgal is the granddaughter of Motilal Nehru and the niece of Jawaharlal Nehru. Her works include 9 novels, including the award-winning Rich Like Us, and 10 non-fiction books. She has also received the Doon Ratna from Dehradun, where she has lived for decades. 
 32 
M. T. Vasudevan Nair
(Author, Screenplay Writer & Film Director)
M. T. Vasudevan Nair
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kudallur, Palakkad district, Kerala, India

Known as MT to his fans, M. T. Vasudevan Nair is a legendary figure of Malayali literature. He gained popularity with works such as Naalukettu and Asuravithu, which mostly reflected the social and cultural aspects of his home state, Kerala. He is also a National Award-winning screenplay writer.

 33 
Kusumagraj
3
Birthdate: February 27, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pune
Died: March 10, 1999

Kusumagraj was an Indian poet, novelist, playwright, and short-story writer. He played an important role during the Indian independence movement, writing about freedom and justice and inspiring several people to take part in the freedom movement. Over the course of his career, Kusumagraj won many prestigious awards, including the Jnanapith Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, and Padma Bhushan.

 34 
Nabaneeta Dev Sen
3
Birthdate: January 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kolkata, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: November 7, 2019

Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi Award-winning Indian author Nabaneeta Dev Sen is revered as one of the greatest figures of Bengali literature. Born to a poet couple, Nabaneeta was christened by Rabindrananth Tagore. She was also an academic and was married to economist Amartya Sen for almost 2 decades.

Bharatendu Harishchandra
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1850
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Varanasi, India
Died: January 6, 1885

Bharatendu Harishchandra was a 19th-century Hindi writer and poet who is regarded as the father of Hindi literature as well as Hindi theater. He authored numerous dramas, travel accounts, and life sketches. He mainly wrote about the issues faced by Indians, such as poverty, exploitation, and class struggles. A nationalist, he urged Indians to prioritize Indian-made products. 

 36 
Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
3
Birthdate: September 12, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Bengal
Died: November 1, 1950

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay was a Bengali writer born in British India. His autobiographical novel, Pather Panchali (The Song of the Road), is considered his magnum opus. As a young man, he worked in many odd jobs before becoming a writer. Many of his novels were adapted into films. In 1951, he was posthumously awarded the Rabindra Puraskar. 

 37 
Pankaj Mishra
(author, journalist, literary critic, writer)
Pankaj Mishra
3
Birthdate: 1969 AD
Birthplace: Jhansi
 38 
Nirad C. Chaudhuri
(Indian writer)
Nirad C. Chaudhuri
4
Birthdate: November 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died: August 1, 1999
 39 
Chandrashekhara Kambara
(Film director, Poet, Writer)
Chandrashekhara Kambara
3
Birthdate: January 2, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gokak

Chandrashekhara Kambara is an Indian poet, folklorist, playwright, and film director. Although he is best known for his works in the Kannada language, Kambara's contribution as a playwright has benefitted the Indian theatre in general. Over the years, he has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, Pampa Award, and Padma Bhushan.

 40 
Ashfaq Ahmed
(Philosopher, Literary critic)
Ashfaq Ahmed
2
Birthdate: August 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Firozpur
Died: September 7, 2004
 41 
Shashi Deshpande
(writer, novelist, journalist, short story writer, children's writer)
Shashi Deshpande
3
Birthdate: 1938 AD
Birthplace: Dharwad
 42 
Balakumaran
(Former author of over 200 novels, 100 short stories, and dialogue/screenplay writer for 23 films)
Balakumaran
2
Birthdate: July 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tamil Nadu, India
Died: May 15, 2018
 43 
Yandamuri Veerendranath
(Novelist, Writer)
Yandamuri Veerendranath
3
Birthdate: November 14, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Razole
 44 
Poornachandra Tejaswi
(Author, Lyricist, Songwriter)
Poornachandra Tejaswi
2
Birthdate: September 8, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kuppalli
Died: April 5, 2007
 45 
Suryakant Tripathi
0
Birthdate: February 21, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Midnapore, West Bengal, India
Died: October 15, 1961

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.

 46 
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas
(Film director, Screenwriter)
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas
0
Birthdate: March 22, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Panipat, Haryana, Punjab British India
Died: June 1, 1987
 47 
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
(Indian Novelist and Short Story Writer of Malayalam Literature)
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thakazhi, Alleppey, Kerala, India
Died: April 10, 1999

Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, better known by his first name, Thakazhi, was a legendary Malayali author known for his iconic short stories and novels such as Kayar. The Jnanpith-winning author mostly focused on the backward classes of society and brought in strong realist elements in his works.

 48 
Ashwin Sanghi
0
Birthdate: January 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
 49 
S. K. Pottekkatt
(Writer, Politician)
S. K. Pottekkatt
4
Birthdate: March 13, 1913
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calicut, Kerala, India
Died: August 6, 1982
 50 
Krishna Sobti
(Writer, Essayist)
Krishna Sobti
0
Birthdate: February 18, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gujrat, Punjab Province, British India
Died: January 25, 2019

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.