I’ve been trying to compile this list of Best Indian Authors in the English Language for a long time now. Every time I start, I get stuck up at zeroing in on the names. There are so many great writers and novelists from India and of Indian origin, in the English language, that it is difficult to keep the list short. Though I’m not a great fan of literary fictions and tend to incline towards mysteries and thrillers, I have tried my best to be unbiased and impartial.
While creating such lists, it is unavoidable to incline towards one’s preferences and tastes. If you are a fan of romance, you’d prefer Durjoy Dutta over Amish Tripathi; if you are a fan of humour, you’d prefer Sidin Vadukut over Ravinder Singh, and vice versa. So, I decided to break down the list into different genres.
THE ALL-TIME GREATS OF INDIAN ENGLISH WRITING
Unarguably the best and foremost Indian writer in English, R.K. Narayan’s novels, and short stories are the reasons why common middle-class Indians developed an interest in English stories. Best known for the fictional town of Malgudi, Narayan has written many fiction books including Swami and Friends, The Guide, A Tiger for Malgud”, The English Teacher, etc. His most famous and most sold book is his collection of short stories – Malgudi Days. His is a name which you will find on any list of “Best Indian Authors”.
|MULK RAJ ANAND|
One of the pioneers of Anglo-Indian fiction, Mulk Raj Anand’s works are remarkable for their depiction of poorer castes in a conventional Indian society. He is one of the first Indian writers in English to have gained international readership with his first novel Untouchable, published in 1935. His other notable works include The Village, Coolie, and The Private Life of an Indian Prince. Mulk Raj is one Indian author whose every book is highly recommended.
Khushwant Singh is one of the greatest Indian writers and journalists of all times. A versatile genius, he has been a lawyer, an information officer, a journalist, an editor and an MP. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974, which he returned in 1984 to protest against Operation Bluestar. His foremost books include Train to Pakistan, Delhi: A Novel, Why I Supported the Emergency, There is No God and The Sunset Club, amongst others.
Renowned for his role in promoting children's literature in India, Ruskin Bond is an Indian of British descent. He was born in Kasauli and grew up in Shimla and Dehradun. His life in the different hill stations of Himalayas has greatly influenced his stories and writing style. With a career spanning over 50 years, he has experimented with many different genres - children's fiction, short stories, novella, non-fiction, romance, etc. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014. His greatest works include The Room on the Roof, A Flight of Pigeons, Delhi is Not Far, The Night Train at Deoli and The Blue Umbrella.
A contemporary of R.K. Narayan and Mulk Raj Anand, Manohar Malgonkar is largely ignored in spite of his stellar contribution to Indian writing in English. At a time when mysteries and thrillers were not very well read in India, Manohar pioneered the genre and contributed immensely to it with books like Spy in Amber, A Bend in the Ganges, Bandicoot Run, Cactus Country, etc. If he were writing today, he would surely be an international name in the mystery and thriller genres, writing and competing with the likes of Jeffrey Archer, Clive Cussler, and James Patterson.
|NIRAD C. CHAUDHURI|
He writes with equal flair in English and Bengali. His books are the foremost authority on the histories and cultures of India during British colonialism. While working as an accountant in the Indian Army, he began writing for popular magazines and newspapers. In 1951, his masterpiece The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian was published which put him on the list of greatest Indian writers. The same book, due to its controversial acknowledgement, ruined his life - he was terminated from Government service, deprived of his pension and blacklisted as an author. His other notable works include The Continent of Circe, The Intellectual in India, Hinduism: A Religion to Live By, Thy Hand, Great Anarch! and Culture in the Vanity Bag.
TOP INDIAN LITERARY FICTION WRITERS
She rose to international prominence after winning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1998 for her novel The God of Small Things. Roy began her career writing screenplays for television and movies and went on become one of the most recognised names in Indian writing in English.
The Algebra of Infinite Justice
Listening to Grasshoppers
Aravind Adiga's debut novel The White Tiger won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 when he was just 33 years old. He was born in Madras and grew up in Mangalore. He began his career as a financial journalist at Financial Times. He currently lives in Mumbai.
The White Tiger
Between the Assassinations
Last Man in Tower
Her critically acclaimed first novel Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard was published in 1998. Her second book The Inheritance of Loss won the 2006 Man Booker Prize. In 2015, she was listed as one of 20 most influential global Indian women.
His 1349 page novel, A Suitable Boy, published in 1993 propelled him into the public limelight. He has been conferred with many awards like Padma Shri, Sahitya Academy Award, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and WH Smith Literary Award.
A Suitable Boy
The Golden Gate
An Equal Music
He was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This influenced his books, most of which are set around the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. He shone to limelight with his book The Circle of Reason which won the Prix Médicis Etranger, France's top literary award. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007.
Sea of Poppies
The Glass Palace
The Calcutta Chromosome
River of Smoke
His first novel Narcopolis, set in the Bombay of 70s and 80s, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and was also shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. His collection of poems These Errors are Correct was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award.
These Errors are Correct
A career United Nations official, he is currently a Lok Sabha MP. His monthly column India Reawakening is published in 80 newspapers around the world. He began writing at the age of 6 and getting published at the age of 10. His books are an authority on British atrocities in India.
The Great Indian Novel
The Five Dollar Smile and Other Stories
BEST HISTORIANS AND WRITERS OF HISTORY BOOKS FROM INDIA
He was the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India from 1968 to 1972. He is an authority on ancient archaeological excavations and has written extensively on the subject.
The Earliest Civilization of South Asia
The Sarasvatī Flows On
Has the Indus Script Been Deciphered?
Having spent his childhood in poverty, he completed his education with the help of scholarships. He started his career as a lecturer, then became the professor of history at the University of Calcutta and later the Principal of the College of Indology, BHU. He has researched extensively on Vedic and ancient Indian history.
An Advanced History of India
History of the Freedom Movement in India
Corporate Life in Ancient India
Sekhar Bandyopadhyay is Senior Lecturer and Head of the History Programme, School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His research interests include the social and political history of modern India, with special reference to Bengal.
From Plassey to Partition
Nationalist Movement in India
An expert on the economic and political history of modern India, Bipan Chandra's book India’s Struggle for Independence, is a must-read book on India's freedom movement. He started his career as a lecturer at Hindu College, Delhi and went to become the Chairman of National Book Trust India.
India’s Struggle for Independence
Nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India
The Epic Struggle
In the Name of Democracy
Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, specialising in contemporary and historical aspects of India’s foreign and security policies.
India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia
1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh
War and Peace in Modern India
Regarded as one of Asia's leading economists, he is currently the Principal Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India. In 2010, he was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India's Geography
The Indian Renaissance
The Ocean of Churn
He is the foremost authority on the life of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He has published several books refuting the air crash theory which promulgates that Netaji died in an air crash in Taiwan.
India's Biggest Cover-up
Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery
CIA's Eye on South Asia
BEST INDIAN AUTHORS OF RELIGIOUS/MYTHOLOGY BOOKS
He is most famously known for his speech at the Parliament of Religions, Chicago in 1893. He vastly contributed to the rise of nationalism in colonial India. Since his childhood, he was inclined towards spirituality and was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. His books introduced the concepts of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world.
Lectures from Colombo to Almora
The East and the West
Rajaji was the last Governor-General of India. He also served as the Governor of West Bengal, Minister of Home Affairs and Chief Minister of Madras state. Besides his political accomplishments, he was a gifted writer. His English translations of Ramayana and Mahabharata are still considered the best. He often regarded his writings as his best service to the people.
A professor by profession and a writer by choice, Pratibha Ray undoubtedly is a household name in Odisha and in most parts of India through her translated works.
Yajnaseni: The Story of Draupadi
|ASHOK K. BANKER|
The author of several bestsellers, Ashok K. Banker's books span many genres - crime thrillers, literary, mythology. His Epic India Library aims to retell all the myths, legends and itihasa of the Indian sub-continent with over 70 volumes.
Ramayana (8-Book Series)
Mahabharata (18-Book Series)
An Indian mythologist, he is famous for his work on ancient Indian scriptures.
Myth = Mithya
My Hanuman Chalisa
Vishnu: An Introduction
The Pregnant King
Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana
Shikhandi: And Other Tales They Don't Tell You
BEST INDIAN AUTHORS OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS
Ashwin's first book, The Rozabal Line, was rejected by 47 literary agents and publishers which he then self-published under the pseudonym Shawn Haigins, an anagram of his name. It was later picked up by Westland and since then he has been publishing one bestseller after another. His book Chanakya's Chant was on AC Nielsen's Top-10 for over two years.
The Krishna Key
The Rozabal Line
Indu Sundaresan was born and brought up in India, on Air Force bases around the country. She grew up on stories from Hindu mythology told by her father and grandfather. Her first novel, The Twentieth Wife, won the Washington State Book Award in 2003.
The Feast of Roses
Basically, an author of self-help books and a motivational speaker, Vineet has been featured by CNBC TV18 in their popular program ‘Young Turks’, where he was featured as being among the most successful young entrepreneurs of India. With Harappa: Curse of the Blood River, he has proved himself to be a historical fiction writer to look forward to.
BEST MYTHOlOGICAL FICTION WRITERS IN INDIA
India's literary pop star, Amish Tripathi is one of the most sold authors in India today. His books have collectively sold more than 4 million copies, with gross sales of Rs. 120 crores. Forbes India has ranked Amish among the top 100 celebrities in India.
The Immortals of Meluha
The Secret of the Nagas
The Oath of the Vayuputras
He carved out a totally new genre - the counter-telling of mythology. His debut mythological fictionAsura: Tale of the Vanquished broke into all the top seller charts within a week of its launch in 2012.
Asura: Tale of the Vanquished
Ajaya: Roll of the Dice
Ajaya: Rise of Kali
|CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI|
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her work has been published in over 50 magazines and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Several of her works have been made into films and plays.
The Palace of Illusions
The Mistress of Spices
Queen of Dreams
Govinda, Krishna’s bestselling debut novel and the first in the Aryavarta Chronicles series of mytho-historical novels, received critical acclaim.
Vamsee Juluri received his PhD in Communication from the University of Massachusetts in 1999. His research interest is in the globalization of media audiences with an emphasis on Indian television and cinema, mythology, religion, violence and Gandhian philosophy.
THE BEST WRITERS OF ROMANCE NOVELS IN INDIA
She has been consistently nominated for the Forbes List of the 100 most influential celebrities in India since 2013. India Today calls her 'the only woman in the highest-selling league'.
It's All in the Planets
The Secret Wish List
The One You Cannot Have
It Happens For A Reason
Ravinder Singh lost the love of his life in 2007, a few days before their engagement, which inspired him to take up writing. Today he is one of the foremost Romance writers in India.
I Too Had a Love Story
Can Love Happen Twice?
Like it Happened Yesterday
Your Dreams Are Mine Now
Durjoy Datta's first novel, Of Course I Love You! was released in 2008 while he was still in college. Today he’s the bestselling author of twelve blockbuster novels.
Of Course I Love You
Ohh Yes, I am Single
When Only Love Remains
He is the recipient of the 2013 Youth Achievers' Award for being one of the highest selling romance writers in India. His book 'She Swiped Right into My Heart' was on No. 1 in Nielsen bestselling charts for more than 10 consecutive weeks. He quit his management job in 2012 to devote his entire time to writing.
You're Trending in My Dreams
Our Story Needs No Filter
Sorry You're Not My Type
He needs no introduction. Most of his bestselling books are made into movies which themselves are blockbusters. A noted public figure, he regularly writes and speaks on youth, career development and current affairs.
One Indian Girl
The 3 Mistakes of My Life
BEST MYSTERY AND THRILLER AUTHORS IN INDIA
Not to be confused with the journalist with the same name, Vikram Chandra is the son of Kamna Chandra, writer of several Hindi films and plays. His debut novel Red Earth and Pouring Rain won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book.
Red Earth and Pouring Rain
A banker by profession and an author by choice, Ravi Subramanian has written popular thrillers on banking and bankers including The Banker Trilogy.
If God Was a Banker
The Incredible Banker
God is a Gamer
His speciality lies in romantic thrillers that he writes along with philosophy mixed with it. His first book “A Thing beyond forever” released in 2008 and won the national bestseller tag in just a few months of its release. Today, he is a full-time writer and scriptwriter.
Marry Me, Stranger
All Yours, Stranger
Forever is a Lie
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay has had a successful corporate career as a statistician and a management professional. Today he is a successful writer and translator.
Here Falls the Shadow
An alumnus of FTII, and a former journalist, Salil Desai is an Indian novelist who writes murder mysteries. He has also produced films, held creative writing workshops and written a number of short stories.
The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen
3 And A Half Murders
Murder on a Side Street
Madhumita Bhattacharyya wrote for The Telegraph in Calcutta for a decade, followed by a stint in the nonprofit sector.
Dead in a Mumbai Minute
The Masala Murder
She was working as a creative director when she wrote her first book, a collection of short stories called Satyr of the Subway. The book won her a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Cut Like Wound
Chain of Custody
The Lilac House
TOP-MOST WRITERS OF SCI-FI/FANTASY NOVELS IN INDIA
The pioneer in Indian sci-fi writing, Samit published his first sci-fi novel, The Simoqin Prophecies, when he was just 23. His novel Turbulence, published in 2012, introduced him to the West. Superheronovels.com called it a contender for best superhero novel of all time.
The Gameworld Trilogy
Indra has written about books, comics, TV and film for publications including Slant Magazine, VOGUE India, Elle India, Strange Horizons and Vancouver Weekly. Indra’s debut novel The Devourers was the winner of the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBQT SF/F/Horror.
Sukanya Venkatraghavan is an Indian writer, primarily writing fantasy novels. Her first brush with fantasy was as a film journalist in Mumbai, covering the glamorous yet daunting world of Bollywood with publications like Filmfare and Marie Claire. Her debut work Dark Things is a best-selling Fantasy novel. With just one book to her name, she is still a fantasy writer to look out for.
Taneja's journalism career began with the magazines Femina and Men's Health (where she was the Assistant Editor of the India edition). She continues to write for several print and online publications including Mint, Discover India, Swarajya, Scroll and The Huffington Post (India).
The Matsya Curse
Cult of Chaos
The Skull Rosary
Following his training at the New York Film Academy, New York, Vikram Balagopal has worked in India with various film-makers, and his screenplay was chosen for Mira Nair’s Maisha Screenwriter’s Lab. He is also a published poet, illustrator and cartoonist for several magazines.
Shobha Nihalani is the author of The Silent Monument. Her debut novel, Karmic Blues, was translated and published in Denmark. She has worked as a freelance journalist, copywriter, bookkeeper, English teacher and salesperson.
Nine: Curse of the Kalingan
Nine: Vengeance of the Warrior
Nine: The Rise of the Kalingan
A self-described cubicle dweller by day and writer by night, Mainak is the author of over a dozen books, some of which have been bestsellers in India and abroad. These books have been translated into Turkish, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, German and Portuguese.
Alice in Deadland
Chronicler of the Undead
BEST CHICK-LIT AUTHORS IN INDIA
She studied direction at the Film and Television Institute of India and has assisted Mansoor Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Her critically-acclaimed debut, Trust Me, is the biggest-selling Indian chick lit novel.
Kaushal was born and brought up in New Delhi and her stories are based on her personal experiences. An MBA from IIM Calcutta, she has worked with Nestle India Limited and Nokia Mobile Phones.
A Piece of Cake
A Girl Like Me
Famous for writing varied female characters in popular Bollywood movies, Advaita Kala is a hotelier by profession. Be it Vidya Bagchi from Kahaani or Kiara from Anjaana-Anjaani, she has a knack for creating strong, courageous and independent female characters.
|MEENAKSHI REDDY MADHAVAN|
Daughter of the famous Malayalam writer and former IAS officer N. S. Madhavan, Meenakshi is a blogger an a writer.
Before, And Then After
The Life & Times Of Layla The Ordinary
You Are Here
BEST AUTHORS OF SELF-HELP AUTHORS IN INDIA
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Who Will Cry When You Die?
The Leader Who Had No Title
The Saint, the Surfer, and the CEO
Megaliving!: 30 Days to a Perfect Life
You Can Win
You Can Sell
Freedom Is Not Free
Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy
Body the Greatest Gadget
Three Truths of Well-Being
Chanakya's 7 Secrets of Leadership
Chanakya in You
Corporate Chanakya on Leadership
The Habit of Winning
The Secret of Leadership
You Too Can
The Wellness Sense
If Truth Be Told
When All Is Not Well: Depression and Sadness
The Ancient Science of Mantras: Wisdom of the Sages