Famous Indian Novelists

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.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Munshi Premchand

Munshi Premchand
Famous As: Novelist and Author
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. 

 2 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore
Famous As: Poet
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.

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 3 R. K. Narayan

R. K. Narayan
Famous As: Writer
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.

 4 Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat
Famous As: Author
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.

 5 Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy
Famous As: Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist
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.

 6 Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh
Famous As: Novelist, Lawyer, Journalist & Politician
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.

 7 Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth
Famous As: Writer
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.

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 8 Amrita Pritam

Amrita Pritam
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gujranwala
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.

 9 Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
Famous As: Writer, Politician, Diplomat
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.

 10 Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Journalist
Birthdate: July 11, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata

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.

 11 Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi
Famous As: Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer
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.

 12 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Famous As: Independence Activist, Reformer
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.

 13 Mulk Raj Anand

Mulk Raj Anand
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.

 14 Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bandel
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.

 15 Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 27, 1838
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kanthalpara, Bengal
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.

 16 Anita Desai

Anita Desai
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 24, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mussoorie, India

 17 Amish Tripathi

Amish Tripathi
Famous As: Writer
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.

 18 Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty
Famous As: Author
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.

 19 Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Novelist, Film director
Birthdate: October 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai

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.

 20 M. T. Vasudevan Nair

M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Famous As: Author, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Palakkad, 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.

 21 Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai
Famous As: Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: September 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chandigarh

 22 Kuvempu

Famous As: Novelist
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.

 23 Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
Famous As: Poet, Writer
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. 

 24 Sheela

Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thrissur, India

 25 Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
Famous As: Novelist, Screenwriter, Essayist, Writer, Diarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 21, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thalayolaparambu
Died: July 5, 1994

 26 Mahadevi Varma

Mahadevi Varma
Famous As: Poet, Novelist
Birthdate: March 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farrukhabad, India
Died: September 11, 1987

A leading figure of the Chhayavad movement of Hindi literature, Indian author Mahadevi Varma was also a Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan winner. A champion of women’s rights, she contributed to the establishment of the Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth for educating girls. She also developed the soft Khadi boli.

 27 Sagarika Ghose

Sagarika Ghose
Famous As: Author, Journalist
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.

 28 Kamala Suraiyya

Kamala Suraiyya
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Punnayurkulam, 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.

 29 Bharatendu Harishchandra

Bharatendu Harishchandra
Famous As: Writer
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. 

 30 Na. Muthukumar

Na. Muthukumar
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: August 14, 2016

Na. Muthukumar was an Indian poet, author, and lyricist who predominantly worked in the Tamil film industry. He is credited with writing several popular film songs and is widely regarded as one of the most successful lyricists of his generation. During his illustrious career, Muthukumar won several prestigious awards, including two National Film Awards for Best Lyrics.

 31 Devdutt Pattanaik

Devdutt Pattanaik
Famous As: Mythographer
Birthdate: December 11, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, India

Indian mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik has redefined the genres of Indian folklore, legends and myths by retelling ancient tales through his books. A qualified physician, he later studied comparative mythology and penned bestsellers such as My Gita. His shows, such as Business Sutra and Devlok, have been hits, too.

 32 Nirad C. Chaudhuri

Nirad C. Chaudhuri
Famous As: Indian writer
Birthdate: November 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died: August 1, 1999

 33 Sujatha Rangarajan

Sujatha Rangarajan
Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 3, 1935
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Srirangam
Died: February 27, 2008

 34 Raja Rao

Raja Rao
Famous As: Author, Writer
Birthdate: November 8, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Karnataka
Died: July 8, 2006

 35 Kusumagraj

Famous As: Poet
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.

 36 Nayantara Sahgal

Nayantara Sahgal
Famous As: Journalist, Writer
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. 

 37 Nabaneeta Dev Sen

Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Famous As: Writer
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.

 38 Kalki Krishnamurthy

Kalki Krishnamurthy
Famous As: Screenwriter, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: September 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Thanjavur district
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.

 39 Dharamvir Bharati

Dharamvir Bharati
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 25, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: September 4, 1997

Padma Shree- and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Hindi poet and playwright Dharamvir Bharati had penned iconic novels such as Suraj ka Satwan Ghoda and Gunaho Ka Devta. A PhD in Hindi from Allahabad University, he had also been a lecturer and the chief editor of Dharmayug.

 40 Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra
Famous As: author, journalist, literary critic, writer
Birthdate: 1969 AD
Birthplace: Jhansi

 41 Chandrashekhara Kambara

Chandrashekhara Kambara
Famous As: Film director, Poet, Writer
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.

 42 Poornachandra Tejaswi

Poornachandra Tejaswi
Famous As: Author, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 8, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kuppalli
Died: April 5, 2007

 43 Balakumaran

Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Palamaneri

 44 Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai

Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 17, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thakazhi, 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.

 45 Ashfaq Ahmed

Ashfaq Ahmed
Famous As: Philosopher, Literary critic
Birthdate: August 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Firozpur
Died: September 7, 2004

 46 Shashi Deshpande

Shashi Deshpande
Famous As: writer, novelist, journalist, short story writer, children's writer
Birthdate: 1938 AD
Birthplace: Dharwad

 47 Yandamuri Veerendranath

Yandamuri Veerendranath
Famous As: Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: November 14, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Razole

 48 Dom Moraes

Dom Moraes
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bombay Presidency, India
Died: June 2, 2004

Sahitya Akademi Award-winning author Dom Moraes was one of the pioneers of Indian writing in English. Son of Goan journalist Frank Moraes, Dom had begun writing at 12 and had traveled widely with his father. The Oxford alumnus won the Hawthornden Prize for A Beginning. He later co-directed many documentaries.

 49 Anita Nair

Anita Nair
Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist, Children's writer
Birthdate: January 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shoranur

 50 Bharati Mukherjee

Bharati Mukherjee
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: January 28, 2017

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.