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Biography of R.K.Narayan - Novelist and Short Story Writer

Updated on January 29, 2016
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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.

Fascinating facts

  • 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

Next Sunday

My Dateless Diary

Dodu and Other Stories

Cyclone and Other Stories

Malgudi Days

Talkative Man

The Man-Eater of Malgudi

Gods, Demons, and Others

Vendor of Sweets

A Horse and Two Goats

Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories

Writer's Nightmare

World of Nagaraj

The Ramayana

Mahabharata

The Painter of Signs

Grandmother's Tale


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.


References

Biography.com

preservearticles.com

historybooklet.com

hindu.com

Comments

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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and informative on the Indian author, R.K.Narayan definitely a well written biography.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      An interesting hub on an interesting author. Thank you for the introduction.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the information my friend. Good review.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Thank you for introducing us to this author and from what I read I do desire to read him, especially anything biographic. Well done. ^

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      DDE thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

      tillsontitan thank you for reading and for the many votes.

      billybuc thank you for your visit, much appreciated.

      Jackie Lynnley thank you, his books are amazing to read.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A very interesting introduction to a writer who was known internationally.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      How sad that his wife died leaving him with a three year old daughter. I was not surprised to learn that he went into a deep depression after her death. This was very interesting. Thank you for sharing...

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      BlossomSB thank you, am glad you got to know about this author.

      always exploring thank you for reading and for sharing your views.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      I was not familiar with this author. Your hub was very interesting and I think I would like to read some of his writings. Great review.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Pamela99 thank you and am happy that you would like to read his books.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      I have read RK. He is a wonderful writer. In fact, his stories were a part of English literature when I was in school.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Vinaya, yes he is a wonderful writer and his stories are really interesting to read. Thank you.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing this interesting hub. Never heard of this writer will take a look at some of his work. Passing this on.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Gypsy Rose Lee thank you, you will enjoy reading his works. Thanks for passing this on.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Such a great read Vellur. Voted up and wishing you a great day.

      Eddy.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Eiddwen thank you, have a great day! Thanks for the vote up.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

      I used to watch Malgudy days serial in T.V. without a miss during my childhood. R.K. Narayan is a brilliant writer whose works would remain as jewels among pearls and beads. Nice post.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      radhikasree thank you for stopping by. I watched Malgudi days too!! He is a brilliant writer indeed. Thank you for your votes too.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      I am great fan of KRN. I still remember that nostalgic serial titled 'Malgudi Days' in Doordarshan. I have read some of his popular books too with great enthusiasm. Thank you for this wonderful post. Keep on writing. Shared and voted up. All the best.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      I have read Rk Narayan and always was impressed by his writings. Nice presentation about him

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      sunilkunnoth2012 thank you and yes I have seen the serial on DD. Thanks for the vote and share too.

      enge thank you, his stories are great and a joy to read.

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