Looking for a good read? Top Indian Authors & their Bestsellers

Indian English Literature has come a long way from a few estimated English books a year to millions of new releases every day. In 2020, it had been observed that the Indian book market was valued at Rs 739 billion.

Can you believe it? Do we really have so many book lovers?

Guess we do, and only a few authors marked their essence over the industry in less than a month with their incredible stories and writing. They proved their mettle and left a great impact that they gradually inculcated an interest among people for an alternative to television entertainment.

Here’s an attempt to compress the list down to ten Indian authors that must be acknowledged and deserve a mention in Top authors of India’s list.

1. Chetan Bhagat

Best Authors in India - Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat is a great obsession in our country. Ever since his debut, he has emerged as a literary force to reckon with. Having constantly whipped up bestseller after bestseller, he has proved his mettle as a popular storyteller.

Chetan Bhagat is a well known author, columnist, Bollywood screenwriter, social media influencer. He was included in Time’s magazine list of World’s 100 most influential people in 2010.

He was born on April 22, 1974, and being an army kid, he studied in Army Public School and graduated from IIT Delhi with a degree in B.Tech specialising in mechanical Engineering.

The bug for writing bit him when he was in 5th standard and he was told to write a piece for the school magazine, prolonging to that interest he continued with his graduation and post-graduation from IIM Ahmedabad.

Career of Chetan Bhagat

Banking Career

He bagged his first job through campus placements at Peregrine Investment Holdings in Hong Kong but lost it after six months. He joined Goldman Sachs further as an investment banker, his share of interests towards writing started to show when while at his job he got his first novel published called ‘Five Point Someone” that later got declared as ‘bestseller’.

Still not making it a huge thing he continued with a job profile and joined Deutsche Bank when while working through that he published another two novels that also got declared as ‘bestseller’.

Looking at his rising potential and career at being an author, he decided to quit and pursued writing full time.

Writing Career

He describes his writing career as philosophical and appreciates the flexibility of it. He had accomplished to enter Bollywood with his captivating and effervescent stories. After selling 4 best selling novels, he decided to write dialogues and screenplays for Bollywood films based on his novels.

Five of his novels have been adapted into movies including:

  • ‘Hello’ released in 2008 based on One Night & the Call Centre.
  • 3 Idiots’ was claimed to have been based on his book ‘Five Point Someone’ by him whereas the makers of the film denied that accusation and the controversy were put to sleep.
  • ‘Kai Po Che’ released in 2013 based on The 3 Mistakes of my Life.
  • ‘2 States’ released in 2014 based on his real-life loves storybook ‘2 States’ published in 2009.
  • ‘Half Girlfriend’ released in 2019 based on ‘Half Girlfriend’ published in 2014.


Non- Fiction

  • What Young India Wants (2012)
  • Making Indian Awesome (2015)
  • India Positive (2019)

Awards and Recognitions of Chetan Bhagat

  • Featured on Time Magazine list of World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2010 in the Artist’s Category.
  • Listed ‘47’ among the “100 Most Creative People of 2010” in the Artists category.
  • Won the “CNN-IBN Indian of the Year” Award in the Entertainment Category.
  • Ranked No. 82 on the 2017 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List.

2. Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore - Top India Authors

Rabindranath Tagore, also known as Bhanu Singha Thakur was a Bengali poet, writer, music composer, and painter.

He was the first Non-European to have won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. His mercurial and spiritual thoughts had won millions of hearts. His elegant prose and magical poetry were unknown to the world outside Bengal.

He was born on 7th May 1861 in Calcutta, he was the youngest of thirteen children. Being a nomad, he didn’t prefer to gain knowledge from books but rather wander around to explore the world. He loathed formal education. Being extremely inspired by the beauty of The Golden Temple, he wrote 6 poems on Sikhism and a number of articles in Bengali child magazine about Sikhism.

In the late 1870’s he came back to  India and published several books of poetry in the 1880s and completed several other books that got published and gained huge appreciation.

Career of Rabindranath Tagore

Mostly known for his poetry, Tagore wrote novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas, and thousands of songs. His short stories are mostly regarded. They are mostly borrowed from the lives of common people.

His several works that got published during his writing career include:


  • Valmiki Pratibha (1881)
  • Kal Mrigya (1882)
  • Mayar Khela (1888)
  • Visarjan (1890)
  • Chitrangada (1892)
  • Raja (1910)
  • Dak Ghar (1912)
  • Achalayatan (1912)
  • Muktadhara (1922)
  • Raktakarabi (1926)
  • Chandalika (1933)

Short Stories

  • Bhikarini (1877)
  • Galpaguchchha (1914-1917) (Three Volume)
  • Kabuliwala (1892)
  • Kshudita Pashan (1895)
  • Atithi (1895)

Check out Selected Stories of Rabindranath Tagore!


  • The Cabulliwalah (1892)
  • The Kingdom of Cards (1910)
  • Gora (1910)


  • Songs of Bhanushima Thakur (1884)
  • Manasi (The Ideal One) (1890)
  • Sonar Teri (The Golden Beat ) (1894)
  • Gitanjali (Song Offerings) (1910)
  • Gitimalya (Wreath of Songs) (1914)
  • Balaka (1916)

Awards and recognitions of Rabindranath Tagore

  • He was crowned with Knight Title in 1915.
  • In 1930, his paintings were exhibited in Paris and London
  • In 1930, he wrote oxford during his stay at Birmingham
  • He is the co-founder of Dartington Hall School in Japan.
  • A stamp was released in his name in 1961

Buy Collected Poems and Plays of Rabindranath Tagore!

3. Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor - top author in india

Dr Shashi Tharoor is the bestselling author of fifteen books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is a noted critic and columnist, a former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India.

Shashi Tharoor was born on March 9, 1956, in London, England. He was born to an Indian expatriate family living in London which returned to Indian after his birth. He graduated from Delhi University in 1978. He was the youngest PhD achiever at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Career of Shashi Tharoor

He is a recognised authority on India, especially regarding its recent economic transformations and future prospects, globalisation, freedom of the press, human rights, literacy, etc.

He is the author of hundreds of articles, op-eds, and book reviews in a wide range of publications including The New York Times, The Times of India, Newsweek, etc.

His writing career includes several published books as follows:



  • Reasons of State (1985)
  • India: From Midnight to the Millenium (1997)
  • Nehru: The Invention of India (2003)
  • Bookless in Baghdad (2005)
  • The Elephant, The Tiger, and the Cell Phone: Reflections of India- The Emerging 21st Century Power (2007)
  • Shadows Across the Playing Field: Sixty Years of India-Pakistan Cricket (2009)
  • Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st century (2012)
  • India: The Future is Now (2013)
  • India Shashtra: Reflections on the Nation in our Time (2015)
  • An Era of Darkness (The British Empire in India) (2016)
  • Why Am I a Hindu (2018)
  • The Paradoxical Prime Minister (2018)
  • The Hindu Way (2019)
  • The New World Disorder and The Indian Imperative (2020)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Rajika Kripalani Young Journalist Award for Best Indian Journalist under 30. (1976)
  • Federation of Indian Publishers Hindustan Times Literary Award for The Great Indian Novel (1990)
  • Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best Book of The Year for The Great Indian Novel (1991)
  • Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (2004)
  • Zakir Hussain Memorial “Pride of India” Award (2009)
  • The inspiration of the Year Award at GQ’s Man of the Year Award (2009)
  • “New Age Politician of the Year” Award at NDTV Indians of the Year Awards
  • Digital Person of the Year (2010)
  • PETA’s Person of the Year (2013)
  • Sahitya Akademi Award for his book “An Era of Darkness: The British Empire of India’.

4. Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh - top author in India

Khushwant Singh, one of the best-known writers of all times was born in 1915 in Hadali (now in Pakistan). He graduated from the Government College Lahore and at King’s College, Cambridge University and the Inner Temple in London. He practised law at the Lahore High Court for several years and later joined the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in 1947.

The Department of Mass Communication of UNESCO in Paris and as a journalist in the All Radio in 1951 inclined him to pursue writing as a career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism, humour, sarcasm, and his love for poetry.

Career of Khushwant Singh

From 1956 after working at UNESCO, he turned to editorial services. He founded and edited Yojana, an Indian governmental journal in 1951-1953, The Illustrated Weekly of India, a newsweekly. He was also appointed as editor of Hindustan Times on Indira Gandhi’s personal recommendation.

From 1980 to 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha and was awarded the Padma Bhushan Award in 1974. Singh initially was a strong supporter of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

His bestsellers throughout his writing career include:

Awards and Recognitions of Khushwant Singh

  • Padma Bhushan, Government of India (1974)
  • Honest Man of the Year, Sulabh International (2000)
  • Punjab Rattan Award, the Government of Punjab (2006)
  • Padma Vibhushan, Government of India (2007)
  • Sahitya Akademi Fellowship by Sahitya Academy of India (2010)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award by TATA Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest in 2013

5. R.K Narayan

R.K Narayan - top authors in India

R.K Narayan originally known as Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayanswami was an Indian writer known for his fictional set based on a town in South India called Malgudi. He was a leading author of early generation Indian literature in English.

He was born on October 10, 1906, Madras, India. Narayan completed his education in 1930 and worked as a teacher, later after recognising his passion for writing he devoted himself to it. His first published work was a book review of Development of Maritime Laws of 17th century England.

In 1930, he wrote his first novel and has succeeded in this field where his passion lies till the day he died.

Career of R.K Narayan

His first novel was Swami and Friends (1935) is a narrative involving the nurturing and nuances of young schoolboys. In 1953, his works were published in the United States for the first time by Michigan State University Press, who later relinquished the rights to Viking Press.

He had several bestsellers including the one that still hasn’t lost his essence is Malgudi. There are 34 best-sellers novels that he wrote and the best ones include:

  • The English Teacher (1945)
  • Waitin for the Mahatma (1955)
  • The Guide (1958)
  • The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961)
  • The Vendor of Sweets (1967)
  • A Tiger for Malgudi (1983)

Short Stories

  • Lawley Road (1983)
  • A Horse and Two Goats and Other Stories (1970)
  • Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories (1985)
  • The Grandmother’s Tale (1993)
  • The Ramayana (1972)
  • The Mahabharata (1978)      

Awards and Recognitions of R.K Narayan

  • The Sahitya Akademi Award for The Guide in 1958
  • Filmfare Award for the Best Story for The Guide (Film)
  • The Padma Bhushan in 1964
  • AC Benson Medal by The Royal Society of Literature in 1980.
  • The Padma Vibhushan in 2001
  • Honorary Membership of American Academy of Awards and Literature in 2001

6. Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy - top indian authors

Arundhati Roy originally called as Suzanna Arundhati Roy is an Indian author, actress, and a political activist who is best known for the award-winning novel The God of Small Things (1997) and for her human rights activism. She is a renowned peace activist and has written a television serial called “The Banyan Tree” and the documentary DAMAGE: A film in 2002.

Recommended Story – Strategy & Books to read for UPSC Civil Services Examination – 2021

She was born in Shillong, Meghalaya to a Keralite Syrian Christian mother and a Bengali Hindu Father. She was raised in Aymanam in Kerela. She moved to Delhi when she was 16and embarked on a Bohemian lifestyle and studies Architecture.

Career of Arundhati Roy

Her works have left a great impact on the readers of India. She started by writing screenplays for several shows and even appeared in a few.

She attracted attention in 1994 when she criticized the movie ‘Bandit’s Queen’ by Shekhar Kapur’s that was based on the life of Phoolan Devi.

Roy began writing her first novel The God of Small Things in 1992 and completed in 1996. The book catapulted Roy to international fame. The book received 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of The New York Times Notable Books of the year. Her recognised publications include:



  • The End of Imagination (1998)
  • The Cost of Living (1999)
  • The Greater Common Good (1999)
  • The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2002)
  • Power Politics (2002)
  • War Talk (2003)
  • An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (2004)
  • Public Power in the Age of Empire (2004)
  • The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy (2004)
  • The Shape of the Beast: Conversations with Arundhati Roy (2008)
  • Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy (2010)
  • Broken Republic: Three Essays (2011)
  • Walking with the Comrades (2011)
  • Kashmir: The Case for Freedom (2011)
  • The Hanging of Afzal Guru and the Strange Case of the Attack on the Indian Parliament (2013)
  • Capitalism: A Ghost Story (2014)
  • Things that Can and Cannot Be Said: Essays and Conversations (2016)
  • The Doctor and the Saint: Caste, Race, and Annihilation of Caste, the Debate Between B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi (2017)
  • My Seditious Heart: Collected Non-Fiction (2019)

Awards and Recognitions

  • 1997 Booker Prize for ‘The God Small Things’
  • National Film Award for Best Screenplay for ‘In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones’ (1989)
  • Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award in 2002.
  • She was awarded ‘Special Recognition’ as a Woman of Peace at the Global Exchange Human Rights Awards
  • Sydney Peace Prize in May 2004
  • Sahitya Academy Award for ‘The Algebra of Infinite Justice’
  • The Norman Mailer Prize in 2011
  • Featured in 2014 list of Time 100, the Most 100 Influential People in the World.

7. Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond - top indian authors

Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent. He is widely recognised among Indian authors and a top novelist.

He has been writing for over sixty years and now has over 120 titles in print -novels, collection of stories, poetry, essays, anthologies, and books for children. In a writing career spanning over six decades, he has written over 500 short stories and novels.

He was born on May 19, 1934, to Edith Clarke and Aubrey Alexander Bond in Kasauli, Punjab. After graduating from Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, he moved to Channel Islands (U.K.) in 1951.

Career of Ruskin Bond

In London, he started writing his first novel when he was 17 ‘The Room on the Roof’, the semi-autobiographical story of the orphaned Anglo-Indian boy named Rusty. The Book won several awards. After getting the book published, he moved back to India and settled in Dehradun. He freelanced his way throughout Delhi and Dehradun.

Being a writer for 50 years, Bond wrote different kinds of genres including fiction and non-fiction, short stories and autobiographical.


  • With Love from the Hills
  • Once Upon a Monsoon Time
  • Tales of Fosterganj
  • The Room on the Roof
  • The Indian I Love
  • Maharani
  • Vagrants in the Valley
  • The Kashmiri Storyteller
  • Secrets
  • Scenes from a Writer’s Life
  • Delhi is not Far
  • Leopard on the Mountain
  • Rusty Runs Away
  • Grandfather’s Private Zoo
  • A Flight of Pigeons
  • Funny Side Up
  • The Blue Umbrella
  • Angry River
  • Too Much Trouble
  • The Sensualist
  • Roads to Mussorie
  • All Roads Lead to Ganga

Children’s Fiction

  • The Cherry Tree
  • Ranji’s Wonderful Bat


  • Bond, Ruskin (2015)


  • A Golf Story: Celebrating 125 years of the Bangalore Golf Club

Awards and Recognitions of Ruskin Bond

  • John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (1957) for ‘The Room on the Roof’
  • Sahitya Akademi Award (1992)
  • Padma Shri (1999)
  • Padma Bhushan (2014)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)

Check out the best works of Ruskin Bond!

 8. Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is a British-Indian novelist and essayist who focusses on Eastern and Western civilisations in his writing. His treatment of sensitive religious and political subjects made him a controversial figure.

He was born on June 19, 1947, in Bombay to a prosperous Muslim businessman in India. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1968. Throughout the 1970s  he worked in London as an advertising copywriter.

While Rushdie became a target of Muslim extremists, religion widely contributed towards his upbringing. His grandfather embraced religion and it wasn’t shrouded with intolerance, that’s how religion got shaped in Salman’s mind.

Career of Salman Rushdie

He published his first book in 1975 called ‘Grimus’ that received tepid reviews. His second novel that got published in ‘Midnight’s Children’ for which he received the Booker Prize. After Midnight Children, he wrote Shame (1983) where he depicts potential turmoil in Pakistan.

His several publications include:

Fiction Novels

  • Grimus (1975)
  • Midnight Children (1981)
  • Shame (1983)
  • The Satanic Verses (1988)
  • The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995)
  • The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999)
  • Fury (2001)
  • Shalimar the Crown (2005)
  • The Enchantress of Florence (2008)
  • Two Years Eight Months and the Twenty- Eight Nights (2015)
  • The Golden House (2017)
  • Quichotte (2019)

Children’s Books

  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990)
  • Luka and the Fire of Life (2010)

Essays and Non-Fiction

  • The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (1987)
  • “In Good Faith”, Granta (1990)
  • Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism (1992)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1992)
  • Mohandas Gandhi (1998)
  • Imagine There Is No Heaven (1999)
  • Step Across This Line: Collected Non-Fiction (2002)
  • The East is Blue (2004)
  • A Fine Pickle: The Guardian (2009)
  • In the South (2012)
  • Joseph Anton: A Memoir (2012)

Awards and Recognitions of Salman Rushdie

  • Golden PEN Award
  • Hans Christian Anderson Literature Award (2014)
  • Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Cultural Humanism (Harvard University)
  • PEN Pinter Prize
  • St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates
  • State Prize for Literature
  • Swiss Freethinkers Award (2019)
  • Knighted for services to literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (2007)

9. Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga is an Indo-Australian writer and journalist.

He won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2008. Aravind was born on October 23, 1974, in Madras to Dr K Madhava Adiga and Usha Adiga, who hailed from Mangalore.

He was raised in Mangalore and graduated in 1990 and secured first place in his state. Later the whole family emigrated to Sydney, Australia at further he studied at James Ruse Agricultural High School and pursued English Literature at Columbia College of Columbia University in New York in 1997.

Career of Aravind Adiga

He commenced his writing journey as a financial journalist interning with Financial Times. His review of the previous booker prize winner Peter Cary’s book appeared in The Second Circle, an online literary review.

He was subsequently hired by the TIME where he served as South Asia correspondent for three years before going freelance. During his freelance period, he debuted with his writing career with his first novel The White Tiger. He is the fourth Indian-born author to win the Booker Prize after Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, and Kiran Desai.

His successful publications include:


  • The White Tiger: A Novel (2008)
  • Between the Assassinations (2008)
  • Last Man in Tower (2011)
  • Selection Day (2016)
  • Amnesty (2020)

Short Stories

  • The Sultan’s Battery (2008)
  • Smack (2008)
  • Last Christmas in Bandra (2008)
  • The Elephant (2009)

Awards and Recognitions of Aravind Adiga

  • Booker Prize in 2008 for ‘The White Tiger’
  • Fourth Indian author to win this prize after Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai.
  • He scored first in SSLC in the state after graduating from high school.

 10. Preeti Shenoy

Preeti Shenoy - top indian female authors

Preeti Shenoy is one of India’s bestselling Indian author widely known for her novel Life Is What You Make. The Book got selected in the Top Books of 2011 by Hindustan Times and was declared a bestseller.

Shenoy was born on December 21, 1971, she graduated from Kendriya Vidyalaya.  She graduated in portrait painting from United Kingdom University She has been constantly nominated for The Forbes List of 100 Most Influential People in India since 2013.

Career of Preeti Shenoy

India Today calls her “the only woman in the highest-selling league” implying at the popularity of her books. Daily News And Analysis described her as a “keenly observant mind” and The Times of India describes her as “Excellent Storytelling Skills”. Cosmopolitan has described her as “One of India most popular authors.

Her publications include:

  • 34 Bubblegums and Candies (2008)
  • Life is What You Make (2011)
  • Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake (2012)
  • The Secret Wish List (2012)
  • The One You Cannot Have (2013)
  • It Happens for a Reason (2014)
  • Love, Kisses, and All Things Warm (2015)
  • Why We Love The Way We Do (2015)
  • It’s All in the Planet’s (2016)
  • A Hundred Little Flames (2017)
  • Love a Little Stronger (2018)
  • Rule Breakers (2018)
  • Wake Up, Life is Calling (2019)

Awards and Recognitions of Preeti Shenoy

  • Her second book “Life is What You Make” was declared a best-seller.
  • Nominated for ‘The Forbes List of 100 Most Influential People’
  • Awarded ‘Indian of the Year’ by Brands Academy
  • Business Excellence Award by New Delhi Management Institute
  • Keynote Speaker at the Birmingham Literature Festival.

These were the top 10 Indian born authors who proved their mettle with the best of stories and opinionated work. They have landed as a perfect epitome for rising through the stars and inspire millions of people in the country. They portray the fact that anybody with skills should fringe themselves and follow their passion to the core. They have proved to be mercurial and helped change effective opinions of the people and changed the way people use to think. They helped break the turmoil of the Literature Industry of India and held it to places nobody imagined to reach.

Also Read – Top 10 Books you might like to read during Quarantine

Written by Bishakha Nihalani

Bishakha has a passion for writing about clean beauty and wellness. She believes in the Indian Science of Ayurveda and including it in our daily lives through food and skincare.


Leave a Reply
  1. You must add this listing..

    The best Indian Authors & Novelist 2021

    Chetan Bhagat.
    Sanjeev Kumar Solanki
    Rabindranath Tagore. …
    Shashi Tharoor. …
    Khushwant Singh. …
    R.K Narayan. …
    Arundhati Roy. …
    Ruskin Bond. …
    Salman Rushdie.

  2. I would also add the following authors, this list is in no particular order:
    Jhumpa Lahiri
    Amrita Pritam
    Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    Raja Rao
    Rohinton Mistry
    V. S. Naipaul

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