There are hundreds of talented and popular Indian authors who publish books in English. The Indian publishing industry is really booming, with a huge variety of fiction and non-fiction titles coming off the printing presses in India each year. The genres explored range from historical drama, to romance, popular science, self-help, crime thrillers and sci-fi. The writing styles and narratives of these books are as varied as the authors themselves.
Indian authors are able to draw upon the rich cultural heritage of India and the recent history of their country to provide some of the most varied and interesting backdrops in modern fiction. You certainly don’t have to be Indian to enjoy Indian books and novels. Indeed, many of the most successful Indian authors are as likely to be read in America or the UK as they are ‘at home’.
These are five of our favourite contemporary and popular Indian authors. Three are writers of fiction, while two are known for their non-fiction books. All are popular in India and have published English-language books for the international market.
1. Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat is a novelist, columnist and screenwriter living and working in India. Many of his devoted readers see Bhagat as the definitive voice of the young, educated, urban Indian middle class. He is a regular columnist in English for The Times of India and in Hindi for the Dainik Bhaskar newspaper. His first three novels; Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Centre and The Three Mistakes of My Life were runaway successes, offering an antidote to much of the bland, middle-class drama being published by some Western authors at the time. In 2008, Bhagat was feted by the New York Times as the bestselling Indian English-language novelist in history; high praise indeed for a man who was only 34 at the time. Bhagat’s latest novel, Making India Awesome, was released in 2015. He is working on another title which is expected to be published next year.
2. Durjoy Datta
Durjoy Datta has successfully bridged the worlds of successful novelist and on-screen personality, to become one of the most widely recognised and respected Indian authors of the rising generation. At only 29, Datta is already the author of 13 novels and two short stories, as well as being the screenwriter for four popular Indian television shows. The common thread throughout his work is the romantic and personal angst of the teens and tweens generation. He is therefore very popular with a young readership, although he writes with a maturity and humour that appeals to a lot of older readers too. Datta’s latest novel, called Our Impossible Love, was published in 2016 and is available now.
3. Rujuta Diwekar
Rujuta Diwekar may not be very well known in the West, yet – but in 2012 she was voted one of the most powerful people in India in a poll conducted by People Magazine. Diwekar is an engaging, self-help and nutritional advice guru with a string of celebrity clients and a series of popular books such as Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight and Don’t Lose Out, Work Out! Her first two books sold more than 400,000 copies and have so far been published into four languages. Alongside her health writings, Diwekar is an advocate for trekking, marathon running and conservation in the Himalayas.
4. Amish Tripathi
Amish Tripathi is a writer of gritty fantasy novels that appeal to fans of A Game of Thrones and JRR Tolkien. His bestselling Shiva Trilogy, comprising The Immortals of Meluha, The Secrets of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayaputras, is jam packed with heroic deeds, treachery, sex, violence and broken promises, with a roll call of flawed and engaging characters. For inspiration, Tripathi turns to the rich mythology and epic poetry of his native India. His genius is to transform these bizarre, bloodthirsty and often surreal traditional folk tales into hard-hitting fantasy fiction for the CGI generation. The Shiva Trilogy has so far sold more than 2 ½ million copies around the world. Tripathi’s latest novel, The Scion of Ikshvaku, published in 2015, is a prequel to the Shiva Trilogy, based loosely on the Ramayana.
5. Abdul Kalam
APJ Abdul Kalam is a household name in India, having been president of the Republic between 2002 and 2007. He was an extremely popular and well-loved president, and before he entered politics had enjoyed a successful career as an influential scientist. His extensive non-fiction bibliography sets out a positive vision of India as a scientific and knowledge-based superpower. Although proud of India and its place in the world, Kalam was no narrow minded nationalist. His vision of a free, pro-science, secular and tolerant society is an inspiration to people anywhere in the world. Kalam was a practising Muslim but had a deep love for India’s other spiritual traditions, making him a unifying and conciliatory figure. His final book, published just a week before his death in June 2015, was a spiritual autobiography called Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji.
Interested in stocking Indian books?
If you are an independent bookseller and are interested in finding out more about stocking Indian books, please download our free ‘Independent Booksellers Guide to Books From India’ from our website by clicking here.
For a complete list of the available titles from each author, please contact Barbara@motilalbooks.com