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R.K. Narayan was born in Madras in 1906 and educated there and at Maharaja College of Mysore. His first novel, Swami and Friends (1935), was set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi. Narayan?s other novels are The Bachelor of Arts (1937), The Dark Room (1938), The English Teacher (1945), Mr Sampath (1949), The Financial Expert (1952), Waiting for the Mahatma (1955), the Sahitya Akademi award-winning The Guide (1958), The Painter of Signs (1976), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983), Talkative Man (1986) and The World of Nagaraj (1990).
Besides six collections of short stories (A Horse and Two Goats, An Astrologer?s Day and Other Stories, Lawley Road, Malgudi Days, Grandmother?s Tale and Under the Banyan Tree), Narayan published two travel books (My Dateless Diary and The Emerald Route), five collections of essays (Next Sunday, Reluctant Guru, A Writer?s Nightmare, A Story-teller?s World and Salt and Sawdust), translations of Indian epics and myths (The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and Gods, Demons, and Others, published together as The Indian Epics Retold), and a memoir, My Days. A Town Called Malgudi, The World of Malgudi, The Magic of Malgudi and Memories of Malgudi, collections of Narayan?s fiction, and Malgudi Landscapes, a selection of his best writings, are available in Penguin Books. The Writerly Life, a volume of his selected non-fiction, is available in Viking.
In 1980 R.K. Narayan was awarded the A.C. Benson medal by the Royal Society of Literature and was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1989 he was made a member of the Rajya Sabha. In 2000 the Government of India conferred on him the Padma Vibhushan. R.K. Narayan died in May 2001.