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20 Incredible Tamil Novel Writers

Tamil literature is known for its elegance, diversity and purity. We are here to introduce you to the most influential Tamil Novel Writers of all time who revolutionized the literary landscape of Tamil Nadu. Their writings are reflections of the cultural, social, and political milieu of the country. Their prestigious work has shaped the ancient literature of the Tamil Nadu. It has reshaped the way we think.

It has out-turned the unique literary tradition that is both historic and modern. The true gems of India showcased the potential of pen to the world.

Here, we brought a list of Tamil novel writers who will make you wonder and allow you to explore the world of literature.

Kalki Krishnamurthy

Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy is well-known by his pen name Kalki. He was an Indian journalist, writer, poet, and critic who wrote in Tamil. His writings include over 10 novellas, 120 short stories, 5 novels, 3 historical romances, political and editorial writings and various film and music reviews. Krishnamurthy started writing fiction stories in Navaskthi in 1923 where he engaged as a sub-editor. He worked under the tutelage of Thiru Vi Ka, and he published his first book in 1927. He worked with C Rajagopalachari in Thiruchengode in Gandhi Ashram. He joined Ananda Vikatan, a popular Tamil magazine, hand-in-hand with editor S S Vasan. He became very popular as a witty author, short story writer, and political commentator. He along with Sadasivam and started a weekly named Kalki.

Thi. Janakiraman

T. Janakiraman is a Tamil writer from Tamil Nadu, India. He is one of the major figures of 20th century Tamil fiction. He worked as a civil servant. His writing included accounts of his travels in Japan and the Crimea. His best-known novels are Mogamul, Sembaruthi, and Amma Vandhaal. His novels depicted feminine feelings. Though the stories spun around delicate feelings. His short stories such as “Langdadevi” and “Mulmudi” follow the same style. Thi Jaa wrote about one hundred short stories and a dozen novels. His other novels Amma Vandhaal and Marappasu were translated into English as “Sins of Appu’s Mother” and “Wooden Cow” respectively. He was noted for his short stories.  In 1979, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for Tamil for his short story collection Sakthi Vaidhiyam.

Bharathiyar

C. Subramania Bharathi was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, and social reformer. He was bestowed the title “Bharathi” for his excellence in poetry. He was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. He is popularly known by his title “Bharathi/ Bharathiyaar,” and also by the other title “Mahakavi Bharathi”. Bharathi is considered one of the pioneers of modern Tamil literature. Bharathi used simple words and rhythms, unlike his previous century works in Tamil, which had complex vocabulary. He also manoeuvred novel ideas and techniques in his poems.

Jayakanthan

D. Jayakanthan, also known as JK, was an Indian Tamil writer, journalist, filmmaker, activist and critic. He was born in Cuddalore. In his traverse career of six decades, he authored around 200 short stories 40 novels, and two autobiographies. Outside literature, he made two films. In addition, four of his other novels were adapted into films by others. He received literary honours such as Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi awards. He is also an honorary recipient of Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest Civilian honour. Jayakanthan wrote his first short story for a Tamil magazine titled Sowbakiyavathi, which got it published in 1953. He marked his glorious writing style also over the country with his remarkable words and unique pattern of story writing.

Sujatha Rangarajan

S. Rangarajan, better known by his initials Sujatha, was an Indian writer, novelist and screenwriter who wrote in Tamil. He authored over hundred novels, 250 short stories, ten books on science, ten stage plays, and a slim volume of poems. He was one of the most popular authors in Tamil literature, and a regular contributor to typical columns in Tamil periodicals such as Ananda VikatanKumudam and Kalki. He has written dialogues and screenplays for several Tamil films. His works stood out during a time when Tamil writing was dominated by social/family dramas and historical novels. His adopted the way of talking, mindset and slang, helped make him popular across multiple demographic segments. Widely read and knowledgeable, he presented his knowledge in simple Tamil.

Indira Parthasarathy

R. Parthasarathy, commonly known as Indira Parthasarathy, is an Indian author and playwright who writes in Tamil. He has published sixteen novels, ten plays, anthologies of short stories, and essays. He is best known for his plays, “Aurangzeb”, “Nandan Kathai” and “Ramanujar”. He has won several awards including the Sangeeth Natak Academy, Sahitya Academy and Saraswathi Samman Award. He has written several short stories, plays and novels in Tamil that have been translated into several Indian and world languages. He has carved a special niche for himself in Tamil literature – his characters, mostly urban intellectuals, speak very openly and inspect what others say. 

R. Chudamani

Raghavan Chudamani was an Indian writer writing in Tamil. She also wrote short stories in English as Chudamani Raghavan. Her name also appears as Choodamani. She was born in Chennai and grew up there. Because of a physical disability, she was schooled at home. She published her first story “Kaveri” in 1957. In 1960, she published her first novel Manathukku Iniyaval. Her 1961 play Iruvar Kandanar, which has been performed many times, received the Ananda Vikatan award. Her stories have been translated into other Indian languages. She also translated stories from other Indian languages into Tamil. In 1966, she received the Tamil Nadu Government Award and the Kalagnar Mu Karunanidhi Award at the Chennai Book Fair in 2009.

Sandilyan

Bhashyam Iyengar, better known by the pen name of Sandilyan, was an Indian writer known for his historical fiction novels in Tamil. He is known for his historical romance and adventure novels, often set in the times of the Chola and Pandya empires. He started writing Tamil short stories in the Tamil Weekly Sudesamithran and also worked as a reporter in Sudesamithran from 1935 to 1942. Later he became a sub-editor at the English daily newspaper Hindustan Times. He got into the world of film after his interactions with B N Reddy of Vijaya Studios and V. Nagayya. He co-wrote the screenplays of films like Swarga Seema and En Veedu.

Sundar Ramaswamy

Sundara Ramaswamy, an Indian novelist, poet, translator, and literary critic, widely considered to be a preeminent figure in post-Independence literature. His eminent works include “J.J. Sila Kuripugal”,” “Kuzhanthaigal,” “Pengal,” and “Aangal.” The translations of his novels and short stories have brought him international acclaim. Sundara Ramaswamy has been appreciated for his versatility and his apt negotiation of various forms such as poetry, short fiction, and novel. His early short stories were published in progressive literary journals like Shanthi and Saraswati. He wrote over 80 short stories, 3 novels, a little over 100 poems, and many essays and reviews. The majority of his early short stories were published in the magazines Sarawathi and Santhi.

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Balakumaran

Balakumaran was an Indian Tamil writer, who wrote over 200 novels, 100 short stories, and dialogue or screenplay for 23 films. He also contributed to Tamil periodicals such as KalkiAnanda Vikatan and Kumudam. His notable works as a dialogue writer in Tamil Cinema include NayakanGunaBaashha and Pudhupettai. As a child, he was highly inspired by his mother, who was a Tamil scholar and a Siromani in Sanskrit, used verses of Sangam and other ancient literature to motivate him whenever he was emotionally down. In his stories, women were not merely gendered cardboard cutouts but fully sentient individuals, with bodies, dreams, desires, yearnings and frustrations.  

Rajam Krishnan

Rajam Krishnan, was a feminist Tamil writer from Tamil NaduIndia. She started publishing in her twenties. She is a top Tamil writer known for writing well researched social novels on the lives of people usually not depicted in modern Tamil literature – poor farmers, small-time criminals, jungle dacoits, under-trial prisoners and female labourers. She has written more than 80 books. Her works include forty novels, two biographies, twenty plays and several short stories. In addition to her own writing, she was a translator of literature from Malayalam to Tamil. In 1973, she was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Tamil for her novel Verukku Neer. She is also the recipient of New York Herald Tribune award for a short story in 1950.

C.S. Chellappa

Cinnamanur Subramaniam Chellappa was a Tamil writer, journalist and Indian independence movement activist. He belonged to the “Manikodi” literary movement along with PudhumaipithanN. Pichamoorthi and A. N. Sivaraman. He also founded Ezhuthu, a literary magazine. His novel Suthanthira Thagam won the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2001. Chellappa was influenced by Bhagat Singh but later he adopted Mahatma Gandhi‘s creed of non-violence. Chellappa participated in the Batlagundu satyagraha and was arrested on 10 January 1941. He spent six months in jail and on his return, established a paper manufacturing industry. Chellappa began writing in 1934 when he published his first story Margazhi Malar. His famous writings include Vaadivasal, Jeevanamsam, Muraipenn, etc.

Rajesh Kumar

Rajesh Kumar, a Tamil author of crime fiction. Kumar’s first published story was in 1968 or 1969, in the college magazine of Government Arts College, Coimbatore. In 1977, his work began appearing in Kumudam, starting with the short story “Idhu Nyayama”. Kumar has written over 1500 novels. He has also written over 2000 short stories, and scripts for over 250 television series, as well as the 2015 film Sandamarutham. In 1986, he endeavoured to become a full-time writer.

Jeyamohan

Bahuleyan Jeyamohan  is an Indian Tamil and Malayalam language writer and literary critic from Tamil Nadu. His most critically acclaimed work is Vishnupuram, a fantasy set as a quest through various schools of Indian philosophy and mythology. He started his most ambitious work Venmurasu, a modern renarration of the epic Mahabharata in 2014, and created the world’s longest novel ever written. The major influences in his life have been the humanitarian thinkers Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi. Jeyamohan is able to re-examine and interpret the essence of India’s rich literary and classical traditions. He wrote nine novels, ten volumes of short-stories/plays, thirteen literary criticisms, five biographies of writers, six introductions to Indian and Western literature, three volumes on Hindu and Christian philosophy and numerous other translations and collections. He has also written scripts for Malayalam and Tamil movies.

K.R. Meera

K. R. Meera, an Indian author and journalist, who writes in Malayalam. She was born in SasthamkottaKollam district in Kerala. In Malayala Manorama, she worked as a journalist. She started writing fiction in 2001 and she began her first story writing with Ormayude Njarambu was published in 2002. Since then, she published five collections of short stories, two novellas, five novels and two children’s books. She won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009 for her short-story, Ave Maria. Her novel Aarachaar is considered one of the best literary works produced in Malayalam language. It received several awards including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi AwardVayalar Award, Odakkuzhal Award and Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award.

Ashokamitran

Ashokamitran, well-known by his pen name of Jagadisa Thyagarajan, an Indian writer regarded as one of the most influential figures in post-independent Tamil literature. He began his prolific literary career with the prize-winning play “Anbin Parisu” and went on to author more than two hundred short stories, and a dozen novellas and novels. A well-established essayist and critic, he was the editor of the literary journal “Kanaiyaazhi”. His major works have also been translated into English and other Indian languages, including Hindi, Malayalam, and Telugu. He has written over 200 short stories, nine novels, and some 15 novellas besides other prose writings.   

Lakshmi

Thiripurasundari Srinivasan, recognized by her pen name Lakshmi, was an Indian writer from Tamil Nadu. Thiripurasundari was a spectatular writer who has published hundreds of short stories and novels. Her novels Penn manam and Mithila Vilas were awarded the Tamil Valarchi Kazhagam price. In 1984, she was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Tamil for her novel Oru Kaveriyai pola. Most of her works were based on family issues. Her autobiographical books were published in two volumes titled Kadhaasiriyaiyin Kadhai

Kambar

Kambar or Kavichakravarthy Kamban was an Indian Tamil poet and the author of the Ramavataram, the Tamil version of the epic Ramayana. Kamban was a great scholar of both Tamil and Sanskrit—two of India’s oldest and richest languages in terms of literary works. Kambar authored many literary works in Tamil, such as Tirukkai Valakkam, ErelupatuSilai ElupatuKangai PuranamSadagopar Antati and Saraswati Antati. The Kamba Ramayana that he wrote, is not a verbal translation of the Sanskrit epic by Valmiki, but a retelling of the story of Rama. The Ramavataram or Kamba Ramayanam of Kamban is an epic of about 11,000 stanzas.

Pattukkottai Prabhakar

Pattukkottai Prabakar is an Indian Tamil writer. He is the ultimate King of Crime and Thriller novels, also a versatile writer. Apart from print media, He is also a screenwriter for movies as well as TV. More than 200 works has been published by several publishers as special edition books. A monthly magazine named A novel time was publishing only his novels. His famous works are Bharath Susila Detective series. His versatility has taken his works to other languages too. He has contributed towards the script and dialogues for up to 25 Tamil films.

Charu Nivedita

Charu Nivedita is a Tamil writer based in ChennaiIndia. His novel Zero Degree was longlisted for the 2013 edition of Jan Michalski Prize for Literature. Zero Degree was inducted into the prestigious ’50 Writers, 50 Books – The Best of Indian Fiction’, published by HarperCollins. Nivedita uses post-modern themes in his writing. He was selected as one among ‘Top Ten Indians of the Decade 2001 – 2010’ by The Economic Times. The latest addition to his literary endeavours, ‘Conversations with Aurangzeb,’ released in October 2023.  

These Tamil writers revolutionised the way we think and brought realism to the literature. If you are a pioneer of Tamil literature, here are the recommendations with whom you should start your reading journey, you should go forward with the works of Jeyamohan, Kalki Krishnamurthy, Sundara Ramaswamy and Lakshmi. These are the most widely-read Tamil writers in Tamil literature. There writing will make you look into the world with a new perspective.

3 COMMENTS

  1. its good to know about these great writers
    the writer seems to know the culture pretty well and have put it in good words
    would love to see the writers some other work too if she has published

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