The birth date of RK Narayan is 10 October 1906.
RK Narayan full name is Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami.
He was born in Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, India into an Iyer Vadama Brahmin family.
RK Narayan’s mother's name was Gnanambal and his father's name was Rasipuram Venkatarama Krishnaswami Iyer.
RK Naryan had 7 siblings, 5 brothers, and 2 sisters. RK Naryan was a second child to his parents.
RK Narayan’s younger brother Ramachandran was an editor at Gemini Studios, and the youngest brother Laxman was a cartoonist.
Their father was a school Principal, and Narayan attended some of his father's classes.
Narayan spent part of his childhood with his maternal grandmother, Parvati, since his father's work required frequent transfers.
A peacock and a mischievous monkey were his best friends and playmates at the time.
RK Narayan’s nickname was Kunjappa given by his grandmother.
He learned arithmetic, mythology, classical Indian music, and Sanskrit from his grandmother.
His family was apolitical and considered all governments as wicked and untrustworthy.
Narayan attended a number of Madras schools while living with his grandmother, including the Lutheran Mission School in Purasawalkam, C.R.C. High School, and Christian College High School.
Narayan was an avid reader who grew up on Dickens, Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Thomas Hardy.
When his father was transferred to Maharaja's College High School, Narayan moved to Mysore to live with his family.
His reading habit was fuelled by the school's well-stocked library, as well as his father's, and he began writing as well.
After failing the university entrance exam after graduating from high school, Narayan spent a year at home reading and writing before passing the exam in 1926 and enrolling in Maharaja College of Mysore. Narayan received his bachelor's degree in four years.
He briefly worked as a school teacher but resigned in protest when the school's headmaster requested him to fill in for the physical training master.
The experience persuaded Narayan that writing was his only choice, and he decided to stay at home and write novels.
RK Narayan's first piece of writing was a book review for the book Development of Maritime Laws of 17th-Century England.
He began writing local interest articles for English newspapers and magazines, occasionally. Despite the low pay, he had a normal life and few needs, and his family and friends appreciated and embraced his unconventional career choice.
Swami and Friends, Narayan's first book, was mocked by his uncle and rejected by a number of publishers in 1930. The novel was based on several incidents from his own childhood and was semi-autobiographical.
With this book, Narayan developed Malgudi, a town that not only creatively replicated the social sphere of the country while ignoring the constraints imposed by colonial rule but also grew in response to the numerous socio-political changes that occurred in British and post-independence India.
Narayan worked as a reporter for The Justice, a Madras-based publication devoted to non-brahmins rights. He came into contact with a wide range of people and concerns as a result of his work.
Narayan had sent the manuscript of Swami and Friends to an Oxford acquaintance, who had shown it to Graham Greene around this time.
The book was eventually published in 1935 after Greene recommended it to his publisher. Greene also advised Narayan to shorten his name so that it would be more recognisable to an English-speaking audience.
RK Narayan's second book, The Bachelor of Arts, was influenced in part by his college experiences and dealt with the theme of a rebellious adolescent transitioning to a rather well-adjusted adult. It was published in 1937 by a different publisher on Greene's suggestion.
His third novel, The Dark Room, dealt with marital strife, portraying the man as the oppressor and the woman as the victim inside a marriage, and was published in 1938 by a different publisher.
RK Narayan's fourth novel was The English Teacher. This book is autobiographical which was almost entirely based on his own life, although with different names for the characters and a different setting in Malgudi.
Narayan tried his hand at publishing a journal, Indian Thought, in 1940. Narayan was able to get over a thousand subscribers in Madras city alone with the aid of his uncle. However, due to Narayan's inability to handle the company, it only lasted a year before ceasing publication.
Malgudi Days, his first book of short stories, was published in November 1942, and The English Teacher, in 1945.
Narayan founded his own publishing house, Indian Thought Publications, which was a success and is still in operation today, run by his granddaughter.
Narayan's books began to sell well, and in 1948 he began construction on his own home on the outskirts of Mysore, which he finished in 1953.
Around this time, Narayan wrote the screenplay for the Gemini Studios film Miss Malini (1947), which was the only storey he ever completed for the screen.
RK Narayan’s next novel Mr Sampath was a more imaginative and creative external style compared to the semi-autobiographical tone of the earlier novels.
In 1951, he published The Financial Expert, which is widely regarded as his masterpiece and one of the most original works of literature.
Waiting for the Mahatma, a novel loosely based on Mahatma Gandhi's fictional visit to Malgudi was published in 1955 and deals with the protagonist's romantic feelings for a woman while attending the visiting Mahatma's discourses.
Michigan State University Press published his works for the first time in the United States in 1953.
The Guide, his next book, was written while he was on a Rockefeller Fellowship in the United States in 1956.
Narayan met his friend and mentor Graham Greene for the first and only time during a visit to England around this time.
Narayan was known for writing essays, some of which were published in newspapers and journals, to share his ideas. Next Sunday was a compilation of these kinds of conversational essays, and it was his first book. My Dateless Diary, detailing his experiences during his 1956 visit to the United States, was published soon after.
The Man-Eater of Malgudi, Narayan's next book, was released in 1961. According to reviews, the book has a plot that is a classic comedy art form with delicate power.
Gods, Demons, and Others, a collection of revised and translated short stories from Hindu epics, was Narayan's first mythological book, published in 1964.
The Vendor of Sweets, a novel written by Narayan in 1967, was his next published work. It was influenced by his travels to the United States and contains extreme portrayals of both Indian and American stereotypes, showcasing the many cultural differences.
A Horse and Two Goats, a collection of short stories, was his next book, released in 1970.
He started translating the Kamba Ramayanam to English which was published in 1973, after five years of work.
In 1978, Narayan completed a condensed translation of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, which was published.
In 1977, he released another book, The Painter of Signs.
The Karnataka government-commissioned Narayan to write a book to encourage tourism in the state. In 1980, The Emerald Route was written.
In 1982, he released two collections of short stories: Malgudi Days, a revised version that included the original book and some additional stories, and Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories.
In 1987, he published A Writer's Nightmare, a collection of essays about the caste system, Nobel Prize winners, lust, and monkeys, among other topics. Since 1958, he had written essays for newspapers and magazines, which were included in the collection.
His next book, The World of Nagaraj, was released in 1990 and is also set in Malgudi.
Grandmother's Tale, Narayan's final novel, was published in 1992. This was an autobiographical novella about his great grandmother's quest for her husband, who had run away shortly after their marriage. When he was a child, his grandmother told him about the story.