Indian Women Novelists

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Throughout history, there have been many Indian women novelists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great Indian female novelists such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Amrita Pritam, Mahasweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, Sagarika Ghose.
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 1 
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.

 2 
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.

 3 
Amrita Pritam
(Indian Author Who Wrote in Punjabi and Hindi and is Considered One of History's Foremost Female Punjabi Writers)
Amrita Pritam
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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.

 4 
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.

 5 
Kamala Suraiyya
(Indian Poet Who Wrote Openly About Female Sexual Desire and the Experience of Being an Indian Woman)
Kamala Suraiyya
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Birthdate: March 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Punnayurkulam, Thrissur district, 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.

 6 
Sheela
(Actress)
Sheela
4
Birthdate: March 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thrissur, India
 7 
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.

 8 
Anita Desai
(Novelist)
Anita Desai
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mussoorie, India
 9 
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
 10 
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. 
 11 
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.

 12 
Shashi Deshpande
(writer, novelist, journalist, short story writer, children's writer)
Shashi Deshpande
3
Birthdate: 1938 AD
Birthplace: Dharwad
 13 
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.

 14 
Anita Nair
(Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist, Children's writer)
Anita Nair
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shoranur

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.

 15 
Bharati Mukherjee
(Indian American-Canadian Writer and Professor )
Bharati Mukherjee
2
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, 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.

 16 
Qurratulain Hyder
(Indian Urdu Novelist and Short Story Writer Best Known for Her Magnum Opus, 'Aag Ka Darya')
Qurratulain Hyder
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aligarh, India
Died: August 21, 2007

Known for her iconic works such as Aag Ka Darya, Qurratulain Hyder revolutionized Urdu literature. Born to writer parents in British India, she later moved to Pakistan and then to England, where she was employed with BBC. She later moved back to India and won numerous awards such as the Jnanpith Award.

 17 
Kamala Markandaya
(One of the Most Important Indian Novelists Who Wrote in English)
Kamala Markandaya
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mysuru, India
Died: May 16, 2004

Kamala Markandaya, also known as Kamala Taylor after her marriage, was one of the most significant Indian writers of English. Known for novels such as Nectar in a Sieve and A Silence of Desire, she was known to portray Western ideals as materialistic. She moved to England after India’s independence.

 18 
Meena Alexander
(Indian Novelist, Poet and Educator)
Meena Alexander
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Prayagraj, Allahabad, India
Died: November 21, 2018

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.

 19 
Santha Rama Rau
1
Birthdate: January 24, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chennai, India
Died: April 21, 2009