Biography of R.K.Narayan - Novelist and Short Story Writer
R.K.Narayan (Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami ) a novelist and short story writer, was born on October 10th 1906 in Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.
R.K.Narayan was a well-known author famous for his stories set in the fictional town of Malgudi. His stories were based on day to day happenings and were filled with interesting narratives. His novels and stories are read across the world even today.
Early Life of R.K.Narayan
R.K.Narayan's father was a Headmaster, and he studied in his school for the first few years. Due to his father’s frequent transfers, he lived with his maternal grandmother, Parvathi. His grandmother took great interest in teaching him about Indian mythology, classical Indian music and the language of Sanskrit. She also taught him arithmetic.
R.K.Narayan loved to read books. He read books written by Dickens, Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Hardy. When his father was transferred to Mysore, he went to live with his family. His father became the headmaster of Maharaja’s Collegiate High School. R.K.Narayan enjoyed visiting the school library and spent many hours reading in the library.
He studied at Maharaja College of Mysore where he completed his Master’s degree. He first worked as a teacher for a short period. Later on, he realized that the only thing that interested him was writing.
R.K.Narayan loved Indian Classical music. He attended many concerts and made it a point not to miss a single one.
- R.K.Narayan was called "Kunjappa" at home.
- He loved to go for walks.
- Relished eating curd rice.
- Enjoyed drinking South Indian style coffee.
- He started his career as a school teacher.
- In 2001, he was awarded the second highest civilian award "Padma Vibhushan" by the Indian Government.
Publications of R.K.Narayanan
The very first work that he published was a review of the book “Development of Maritime Laws of the 17th Century England. He also wrote for the local newspapers and magazines.
In 1933, R.K.Narayan married Rajam from Coimbatore. After his marriage, he joined “The Justice”, newspaper. During this period, his friend at Oxford (the county town of Oxfordshire, England) showed the manuscript of “Swami and Friends” to Graham Greene. Graham Greene recommended the book to his publisher, and it was published in the year 1935.
Following this R.K.Narayan published “Bachelor of Arts” in 1937 and “The Dark Room” in 1938. Both these books dealt with social issues. After publishing his third novel, he joined the Government of Mysore due to financial constraints.
In 1939, his wife Rajam was affected with typhoid that lead to her death. R.K.Narayan was devastated and went into deep depression. He was worried about his daughter Hema who was only three years old at that time. After his wife’s demise, he wrote the book “The English Teacher” based on his life's experiences.
R.K.Narayan started his publishing company “Indian Thought Publications”. By this time, he had fans around the world reading his books. During this period, he published the novels “Mr. Sampath”, “The Financial Expert” and “Waiting for Mahatma”.
In 1953, his writings were published in the United States for the very first time by "Michigan State University Press”. He went to the United States on the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1956. During this period, he wrote the award-winning book “The Guide”. This book was awarded the “Sahitya Akedemi Award” (a literary honor in India) in 1958.
More of his publications
My Dateless Diary
Dodu and Other Stories
Cyclone and Other Stories
The Man-Eater of Malgudi
Gods, Demons, and Others
Vendor of Sweets
A Horse and Two Goats
Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories
World of Nagaraj
The Painter of Signs
Accolades Awarded to R.K.Narayan
In the year 1967 R.K.Narayan was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Leeds. He was chosen as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and also won the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, UK.
In 1980, R.K.Narayan was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in the Indian Parliament for his contributions to English Literature. In 1990, he published the book “The World of Nagaraj”. Soon after the publication of this book Narayan fell ill. His last and final book was the “Grandmother’s Tale”.
On 13th May 2001 R.K.Narayan died in Chennai at the age of 94, leaving behind his legacy of books for everyone to read and enjoy.