R. K. Narayan

(1906—2001) Indian novelist and short-story writer

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Indian novelist. He won the Padma Bushan award for services to literature.

Narayan was born in Madras, the son of a headmaster, and educated at the Maharaja's College, Mysore. On leaving college (1934) he was appointed teacher in a small village school, an environment that he found so constricting that he turned to writing. The result was his first novel, Swami and Friends (1935), about a group of schoolboys. Writing with elegance and humour in his adopted language, English, he built up in his subsequent novels an affectionate if ironical picture of life in a small southern Indian town, a place that he named Malgudi. Among his successful novels are The English Teacher (1945), The Financial Expert (1952), The Guide (1958), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961), The Sweet Vendor (1967), The Painter of Signs (1977), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983), The Talkative Man (1989), and The World of Nagaraj (1990). He also published a large number of short stories, notably Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories (1985) and The Grandmother's Tale and Other Stories (1993), collections of essays, such as The Reluctant Guru (1974), and the autobiography My Days (1975). He edited an abbreviated modern prose version of the Hindu epic the Ramayana (1973) and followed this with an edition of the Mahabharata (1978).

Subjects: Literature.

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