Top Five Indian Writers in English To Look Out For

These five Indian writers have created a niche of their own in English with their marvelous works of literary excellence.

Indian writing has traversed a long drawn path of restorative progress and has today come of age. The renaissance in Indian writing was initiated in the 1980’s and the fore-runner of this movement, the hallmark of Indian writing of this era was Salman Rushdie.

Salman Rushdie

An Indian-British novelist and essayist, he shot to fame with his second book Midnights Children(1981).The Indian subcontinent has always been an integral subject of his works and his predominant theme of “magical realism” has always been juxtaposed with the flavors of this Land. Rushdie’s other critically acclaimed stories like “Shalimar the Clown”, “The moors last sigh” and “fury” have left an indelible mark largely due to their strongly resonating multi-cultural concerns.

“The Satanic Verses”(1988) his rather stirring fourth novel dotted with internecine threads aroused the wrath of Muslims around the world leading Iran’s Ayotollah Khomeini to release a fatwa in 1989 against the author. Rushdie sought asylum in the UK , writing with renewed vigor, his name still on the “wanted list”.

Arundhati Roy


Booker Prize winner Indian novelist and activist , Arundhati Roy won laurels for her first book “God of Small Things”(2002) which is to a large extent an autobiographical account of her childhood experiences in Ayenemen. The book also ranked fourth on the New York Bestseller list of Independent fiction and rights to the book were sold to 21 countries.

Arundhati Roy since then has conspicuously lent her voice to bring to the forefront numerous social issues in India. A vehement opposer of Globalisation and Neo-Imperialism she has successfully represented the interest of the masses in a number of socially significant issues. This marked the beginning of a second era where commercial success radically changed perceptions on Indian writers.

Vikram Seth:


Born in the city of Kolkatta, Vikram Seth is a man of many languages and an astute businessman. His 1471 page second novel “A Suitable Boy”(1993) brimming with the lives of the Indian diaspora received mixed reviews from critics worldover.

His third Novel” An Equal Music”(1999) based on the lives of classical musicians in Europe was a somber ode to the musicians and their music that transports to the surreal world. His writings have ascertained the tenacious grip of Indian authors and he continues to inspire young writers looking to spin a new world.

V.S Naipaul


One of the most enduring figures in English Literature, Noble Laureate VS Naipaul has produced a motley of soul- stirring novels like “A house for Mr Biswas” and “India:A wounded Civilisation. He became the first writer of Indian origin to win the Booker prize for his work “In a Free State” and has since then been praised for his self-constructive narrative. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 that successfully established his authoritative regime in the world of literature.

Naipaul has also stirred controversy with his strong views on rapidly developing nations like India and issues like Muslim fundamentalism. Undaunted he continues to be the epicenter of literary development even today.

Rohinton Mistry

Born in the Indian city of Mumbai, Rohinton Mistry moved to settle in Canada where he wrote is first novel “One Sunday”(1983) which won the annual contributors award from the Canadian fiction magazine. One of his early novels “Such a Long Journey” won the commonwealth writers prize while “A Fine balance” was shortlisted for the Bookers Prize.

Mistry’s works are a reservoir of human emotions that rise above circumstance or condition . His characters are profound extensions of simplistic love and he dwells in the ordinary only to transform into the extra-ordinary.

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  1. Shikha
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 11:13 am

    hey sriju,
    a good write up..
    but how could miss out Chetan Bhagat??????
    he’s the most widely read english author today….
    and its also been said, that the best author in India
    is measured not by his works but how many of his novels do brisk
    business on ther streets…
    n in that case Chetan rocks!!!!!

  2. ashu
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 11:14 am

    hi sriju,
    gr8 job..
    u missed out “The Golden Gate”
    by Vikram Seth which won him the Sahitya Akademi Award…

  3. Swetha
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 3:23 am

    Hey Sriju,

    a good write up…
    am not a book worm but will keep your tips in mind so I end up reading something good…

  4. amod
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 5:01 am

    wonderful write up Sri.

  5. Ankita
    Posted July 10, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Hey Sriju,
    This is a good writeup..
    I’m having a presentation on ‘Indian English Authors and their contributions’ as one of my goals. As I browsed, I found an interesting website They call it IndiaPlaza Golden Quill Award and it is to recognize and encourage Indian writing. It actually gave me an idea about the number of writers and their amazing work.

  6. Ankita
    Posted July 25, 2008 at 5:01 am

    Hey Sirju This is a good writeup..
    I’m having a presentation on ‘Indian English Authors and their contributions’ as one of my goals. Your information has helped me a lot. As I browsed, I also found an interesting website It is called the IndiaPlaza Golden Quill Award and it is to recognize and encourage Indian writing. I too read books and i think you have missed out my favorite authors name Ravi Subramanian. I read his book ‘If God was a Banker’. Its truly amazing.

  7. sriju
    Posted July 30, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Hi Ankita…..thanks a lot for your comments.Will defenitely include your author the next time around.Hope your presentation was real good…

  8. sushumna
    Posted August 10, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Hey! nice..But I’d also like to include Usha K R. She recently won the Vodafone Crossword Award for best Indian fiction and she’s been shortlisted for The Indiaplaza Golden Quill Award ( ), they have some more good work listed by Indian authors.

  9. Nishant
    Posted October 4, 2008 at 10:35 am

    What the hell in this world makes you feel Naipaul is an Indian? Ask him this question and he will break your neck.
    By NO means can he be rated below Seth and Roy. He is, in fact, two notches above Rushdie.
    The list, if my eyes don’t deceive me, reads, “writers to look out for”, which means promising writer, which ones expects to do good in future, thus refuting the presence of all the above names, as in none of the above cases does one expect the writer to doo good in future, as they all have already done so.
    My experience says that this list has been made by a person who knows nothing about writing, writers, or even books.
    I would like you all to pay attention to the pretentious remark of a person who in here says that Bhagat deserved to be on the list: people who don’t know a DAMN about writers, and have never gone beyond reading Rowling, Bhagat or Shobha De, have no right to say who the foremost Indian writer is. I can, without a hitch, say that I write better than Bhagat.
    Before replying to all this with frivolous comments, please think about it with a content mind.

  10. Sunny
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 4:22 am

    Have you heard of a writer called Rohan Gogoi

  11. Mohit.K.Misra
    Posted February 6, 2009 at 2:27 am

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  12. abcd
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 2:10 am

    How about Jhumpa Lahiri?

  13. Opinionated
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 8:57 am

    My 2 bits:

    I don’t think Chetan Bhagat deserves to be spoken of in a forum that seeks to separate the best from the rest. Please.

  14. Diana Ann Isaac
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai, Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee are some of the strong female writers which in my opinion you have missed out

  15. caro
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 8:35 am

    this is the second list i’ve read that has omitted the wonderful female writers..please include
    Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

  16. sandeep
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 2:33 am

    good one but I think you should also add Amitabh Ghosh, Arvind Aligha in your list because they are wonderful writer…..

  17. CINDY
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 1:36 am


  18. nilotpal
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Bhagat is a good story teller. But definitely not a writer. Yes I like his stories as a whole but his writing is bad really bad

  19. shagun
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 4:48 am

    all is write ,but I think a writer is one who is always able to make readers to understand that what he has written. so u cann\’t say that chetan bhagat is not a good writer at all. he deserves a round of blause .

  20. Nikita
    Posted January 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    nice description! Shashi deshpande is also good female writer who has works on women life in india.Eg The Binding Wine\”

  21. aashu
    Posted January 25, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Posted October 4, 2008 at 10:35 am

    I can, without a hitch, say that I write better than Bhagat.,,,,,

    u r over lapping urself, plz think never write 4 any of the shining star. plz

  22. Mridulendu
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    hey…………..i ll read ur book vikram……hope dat ll b good,,,,,,,,,

  23. Shilpa
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 8:41 am

    exactly how could u miss CHETHAN BHAGATH?

  24. kushal
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Include chetan bhagat too

  25. oorja
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 6:01 am

    this list should also include avishekh das….

  26. oorja
    Posted June 20, 2010 at 6:05 am

    this list should also include avishekh das for his skillful writing..

  27. khursheed AMU
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 6:14 am

    A writer like, Arvind Adiga could not be replaced from the top five novelists of india…..his theme and style show the indianess…….. thank u!!!!!

  28. Gloria
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks to all of you. I am fascinated with India but will probably never get a chance to go there, so I learn from Indian Writers. I’ve read some of the authors mentioned here and now I have a list of more to read. Thanks to all of you.

  29. Posted October 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm


    plz include shashi Deshpande, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai,

  30. swaswati
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:56 am

    it is a good write up but it does not include the names of promising and fantastic writers as swati kaushal and chetan bhagat..They definitely deserve mention as they have been writers of best-selling novels.And also writers like jhumpa lahiri, Amitav ghosh should not have missed out.

  31. rahila s m
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 3:27 am

    thanx sri good job ,but many prominent writers are missed out

  32. Vineet
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Chetan Bhagat is a must on the list.How the hell did you miss him ??

  33. Selvam, Sivagangai
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I am surprised some people here suggest Chetan Bhagat. I thinks he belongs to a different category that does not include names like Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth.

  34. S.Raja Prabha
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 3:33 am

    Hi… why not Sashi Tharoor? His The Great Indian Novel and Riot are innovative , artistic and of course interesting too…

    Posted March 25, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Anitha Desai was a popular novelist and a phenomenal novelist
    but why she was under the scroll of popular and renowned

  36. Posted May 13, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Have you read Manoj Das. He is considered as one of the finest Indo-Anglian writers.
    Do read “Chasing the Rainbow” , “Farewell to a ghost” , “A Tiger in Twilight and other stories”.

    He has many more. You can start with this.

  37. prethush
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    what about khushwant singh

  38. Asha
    Posted January 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Arundhathi Roy? Really? She has written ONE BOOK in her entire career and she isn’t getting younger.

    Posted June 7, 2012 at 7:41 am


  40. shivam chauhan (taps)
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    i like all top most 5 writers in english congratulation for your success

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