Narayan was born in in 1906 in Madras, South India. He is best-known for his vivid fictional recreation of urban India in the Malgudi series of novels. His 1958 novel The Guide won him the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, his country's highest literary honour. In 1980 he was awarded the A.C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature and in 1981 he was made an Honourary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He died in 2001.