English novels written by Indian authors have more readers since the last decade. A massive number of young literate population exists in India and they are quick to build a liking for English fiction books written by Indian authors. For a long time, Indian readers had only books by western authors but not anymore. Highly successful people are known to read regularly. Bill Gates reads about 50 books in a year. Social media influencers/entrepreneurs like Ankur Warikoo and Ranveer Allahbadia often talk about books and interview authors.
In the 1980s, book shops existed only near educational institutes and railway stations. Long-distance travel by train meant buying books at A.H.Wheeler shops on the railway platform. The advent of attractive and branded bookshop made buying books trendy and easier. This led to an increase in bookish curiosity and browsing of books.
The result was more book sales than before. In the past decade, the possibility of shopping for books online led to a spurt in the number of book fans in India. Additionally, the availability of electronic books and online platforms like Audible have made it possible for busy people to read or listen to books on the move.
While reading nonfiction self-improvement books have their benefits, reading fiction is relaxing and therapeutic. Readers have no pressure to “learn” or journal important takeaways from the book. So read till the end to find which are the bestselling English fiction books by popular Indian authors.
Bestselling novels by new age Indian authors in the English language
Reading fiction stories builds empathy, communication, and gives a safe outlet to escape the grind. They also help us get insight and new perspectives on our lives and the people around us. This lets us bounce back to our life with renewed outlook and freshness. Three Indian authors listed in this article are
- Aravind Adiga
- Amish Tripathi
- Chetan Bhagat
There are several Indian authors that I have not covered in this blog piece, because this post would then be too lengthy. In India, western authors of English fiction novels have been popular for decades. Slowly new Indian authors rose on the horizon. They have now taken over significant space in India’s growing market for English fiction novels.
Aravind Adiga Indian authors bestselling books in English
Born in 1974 and hailing from Mangalore in Southern India, Aravind Adiga migrated to Australia after completing basic schooling in his hometown. In Australia, he completed high school. Later he went on to study English literature from New York and Oxford. He worked as a financial journalist at Financial times and once wrote a review of a Booker Prize-winning book for an online literary journal. This review caught eyeballs and fetched him a job at The Times as a journalist.
Subsequently, he gave up his full-time job and became a freelancer. This way he began his writing career and wrote his Booker Prize-winning The White Tiger. He now lives in Mumbai.
White Tiger: Bestselling and award-winning English novel
This book won The Booker Prize in 2008. The story is about Balram Halwai from the interiors of Indian state Bihar’s countryside. Balram’s father is a poor rickshaw driver in the village. Balram works at a tea stall among other odd jobs and drops out of school. But he gets a big opportunity when offered a chauffeur’s job in Delhi. Balram drives the son of a rich man around Delhi. His life soon changes over time due to his decisive actions.
The story unfolds through the narration in Balram’s letters to the Chinese Premier in his visit to Bangalore. The book is a satire on India’s poverty and class divide amidst globalization. This book created a buzz in the market for English novels by Indian authors.
Last Man in Tower by author Aravind Adiga
This realistic fiction book is the second novel by Aravind Adiga. The story is about a teacher’s grit in holding on to his home in face of demolition by a builder.Masterji or respected teacher Yogesh Murthy lives in an ancient housing society in Vakola, Mumbai. The society building is taken over by a builder for building a swanky new skyscraper. All the residents vacate their homes but masterji is the last resident who stays back, refusing to sell his home to the builder.
The story shows the ambitious urbanisation in face of economically modest citizens of the city. Co-existence of grandeur with the principled, honest working class and refusal to gravitate towards opulence. Masterjis refusal shows emotional and sentimental attachment to the better times lived in the now dilapidated home. Read this book to know more.
The sports fiction book by Aravind Adiga is about the struggles and cricketing ambitions of two boys, Manju and Radha and their father Mohan Kumar. They live in Mumbai and have the guidance of a coach named Tommy Sir. The coach recognises talent and arranges meeting with sponsors for deserving players. In return for sponsorship, they have to pay a certain part of their earnings from professional cricket play if they succeed. The story develops around the personal ambitions of the two boys and their father. Several obstacles encountered by the young boys and their father make this story take twists and turns. What is their journey like? Read the book to know more.
Amnesty (by Author Aravind Adiga)
This thrilling mystery story by Aravind Adiga is about an illegal Srilankan immigrant (Danny) in Australia trying to live a normal life with some dignity. He works as a cleaner in a grocery store and visits people’s homes to clean. Matters become messy when one of his clients is murdered. Danny seems to know something critical. But he is scared to report the matter to the police because of his illegal immigrant status. A thrilling chase to solve the case goes on while Danny attempts to hide. The story reflects the illegal immigrant issues among others. Between the Assassinations is yet another thought provoking book by the author.
Between the Assassinations
This intense and intriguing story by Aravind Adiga has socio-political elements. The story is about a Muslim boy who lives in Kittur, somewhere between Goa and Calicut. The boy works at a train station and is illiterate.
The young impressionable boy is influenced by an Islamic terrorist. There are several characters in this story who belong to this quaint fictitious small town in rural south India. If you have read Malgudi Days by R.K.Narayan, you might remember the feel of a small town.
The author sketches the lives of people in this town across class, religion and livelihood. The time span of the story events is from that period between the assassination of two prominent mother-son Prime Ministers of the country. Read this thought-provoking book to know more.
Amish Tripathi, Indian authors immensely popular English Novels
Born in 1974, new age author Amish Tripathi’s books are devoured ever since his first book hit the market. In a land that is known to love its mythology, Amish Tripathi books are inspired by the mystic epics and the rich Indian culture. He studied at Cathedral and John Cannon School, St. Xavier’s college in Mumbai and IIM, Kolkata. Later he joined the banking sector and after about a decade of service, he quit his job to devote time to his passion for writing. Those who have an interest in mythology and reading will certainly enjoy reading these bestseller novels by Amish Tripathi. In 2020, the author announced that he will produce a movie based on his novel ‘Legend of Suheldev‘.
The Shiva Trilogy By Amish Tripathi
The series falls in the genre of mythological/fantasy fiction. Books in this series are popular among English novels written by Indian authors.
The Immortals of Meluha by Indian Author Amish Tripathi
Book published in 2010. This is the first book in his Shiva Trilogy series. The story Immortals of Meluha takes readers way back to 1900 B.C. in the land of Meluha, near the drying legendary river Saraswati. The Suryavanshi and Chandravanshis clash with each other. The Chandravanshis get support of the mysterious Nagas, well versed in martial skills. When evil threatens to take over, the powers come to help. Will Shiva, who descended from the snowy high mountains, come to their rescue?
The Secret of the Nagas
Book published in 2012. This is the second intriguing book by Amish Tripathi in the series. In The Secret of the Nagas, the scary and mysterious Naga warrior kills Brahaspati. Then he begins to chase Sati. Shiva is enraged and looks for the Nagas. The evil disturbance in the kingdom kills the Prince. The Vasudevs also take sides with the evil forces. Who is behind all of this sinister game? Shiva’s anger is at its peak and the search leads to intense battles.
The Oath of Vayuputras
Book published in 2013. In the third book of this engaging series by Amish Tripathi, Shiva the saviour reaches Panchavati, prepared for war. He has to fight evil with all his might. He takes the help of the Vayuputras for the war. Sadly, Sati is sacrificed. Shiva in his fury destroys Meluha. Millions of copies of the Shiva Trilogy series are sold out since their launch.
Ram Chandra Series by Author Amish Tripathi
The three-part series has a unique combination of mystery and religious philosophy. All the universal emotional triggers like love, greed, hunger for power, sacrifice, acceptance, ambition, arrogance, and such others are present in these stories. These books cover unusual aspects around the epics which were unknown. This series is in the genre of mythological fiction.
Ram – Scion of Ikshvaku
It is the first book in the Ram Chandra series and based on the epic Ramayan. All the elements, gods and goddesses from the Ramayana are present in this series. 3400 B.C. in India on the grounds of Ayodhya, raged a war that devastated everyone present. The Sapt Sindhus are impoverished, hungry and sad with defeat, troubled by Lord Ravana. Ram is a Prince from the same land, troubled by lord Ravana and his people. Will Ram rise above all the setbacks? Will he complete the destiny of Vishnu?
Sita Warrior of Mithila
The book is based on Ramayana and the second book in the Ram Chandra Series. The time of the story dates back to 3400 B.C.E. There was poverty and resentment in the kingdom. People were dissatisfied with their rulers. King Raavan from Lanka was troubling the people in the Sapt Sindhu region. The people and the rulers have had enough and they want peace and prosperity. So they look for a leader who can save them. A baby protected by unlikely wild wolves and vultures is found in the forest. The king of Mithila adopts her and she grows up to be the Prime Minister of the kingdom. Read this book to know more about Sita, the warrior of Mithila.
This third book in the Ram Chandra series is intriguing. People in Raavan’s Lanka are unhappy with poverty, confusion and disorder. Raavan, a young teenager, has unshakable grit and courage. His cruel resolve, arrogance and strength are a fearsome combination. He is scholarly yet ambitious to be the greatest of all men. Raavan destroys without remorse because he is blessed by the Gods. Ravana’s father is one of the greatest sages, Maharishi Vishrava. Read this book to find more about Raavan.
Legend of Suheldev by the bestselling author Amish Tripathi
The story is an Indic chronicle set in 1025 A.D. in India. It’s the story of the brave king who saved India. The story is a historical fictional tale based on true events. Mahmud of Ghazni and his troops attack and ravage the northern regions of India. They are cruel, ruthless and trouble the locals in all possible ways. On the mission of destruction, Mahmud of Ghazni reaches the beautiful Shiva temple of Somnath and breaks the idol of Shiva.
King Sulheldev of a small kingdom, gets the news of the religious violations . Deciding to fight against the mighty Mahmud of Ghazni, he needs support of other kingdoms. He is supported by brave King Rajendra Chola at a critical juncture. Read this thrilling and engaging novel that brings a story from the times we know little about.
Other books by author Amish Tripathi
Both these books have references to the author’s other books. If you are interested in knowing Indian culture then you will enjoy reading ‘Immortal India’ and ‘Dharma’ by Amish Tripathi.
Immortal India, a nonfiction book by Indian author Amish Tripathi
The book Immortal India has the author’s articles, speeches and debates on topics he is passionate about. Readers who are deeply interested in India’s rich culture must read this nonfiction book by Amish Tripathi. India’s religion and mythology, social issues, and history are discussed in this interesting book along with the author’s musings. He explains in the book ‘Immortal India’ what it is that makes India special.
Topics like karma, dharma vs swadharma, envy, humility and many others are discussed in the book Dharma. It is co-authored by the author’s sister Bhavana Roy. The narrative is conversational and in a historical format. Essentially the narrative is philosophical while simplifying the epics for better understanding. The authors present the essence of the great epics for the readers to live a meaningful life.
Chetan Bhagat, a contemporary Indian authors immensely popular novels in English
Talking about English fiction novels in India would be incomplete without talking about Indian author Chetan Bhagat. His novels have been bestsellers and have created a buzz among readers for a long time now. After completing his education through India’s prestigious IIT and IIM, he became an investment banker. Later he quit his job, seeking his true calling to become a writer.
His voice resonates with the young people of India because of his modern outlook. He has written nine fiction novels and three nonfiction books as well. His stories have been adapted for popular movies like Hello, Three Idiots, Kai Po Che, 2 States and Half Girlfriend.
He continues to inspire his young followers through social media channels, writes columns for leading newspapers, visits institutions as a motivational speaker and voices his views on his YouTube channel. Occasionally, he writes the screenplay for movies. The genre of his books ranges from romantic fiction and realistic fiction to nonfiction.
Five Point Someone
The book has three main characters Alok, Hari and Ryan, who have few things in common. They are students in IIT, a premium educational institution yet not able to cope well academically. The story revolves around their struggles, dilemmas, love and friendship. This book went on to become a bestseller. Movie ‘3 Idiots’ is an immensely popular adaptation of this novel.
One Night @ the Call Center
A girl tells a story to a writer, one night on a train journey. She takes a promise from the writer that he will convert the story into a book. The story is about six colleagues working in a call centre. One night they receive a phone call from the almighty. It’s a thought-provoking story, witty with a gripping storyline.
The 3 Mistakes of My Life
The story is about three friends Govind, Ali and Ish. Govind has a dream of making it big as an entrepreneur. Together they open a shop for cricketing equipments and they play competitive cricket too. Yet, it’s not an easy journey for the boys as they face several challenges. They make some mistakes too. Movie ‘Kai Po Che’ is an adaptation of this emotional and exciting story. The book translations in Tamil, Gujarati, French and Sinhalese languages are available.
2 States (by New Age Indian Author Chetan Bhagat)
The story is about Krish and Ananya who belong to two families from different states, speak different languages and have different cultures. What they have in common is their love for each other. They want to spend the rest of their life together and seal their relationship with marriage. How will their families react? How will they deal with the differences in their backgrounds? The movie adaptation of this novel is an immensely popular movie by the same name.
This is a story from small-town India, of two boys Gopal and Raghav. Both have their goal yet in different directions. One of them aspires to create change, while the other wants material success. They both fall in love with the same girl, Aarti. The story develops there after to raise the readers curiosity levels.
One Indian Girl
This book has a girl’s point of view and a feminist edge to the story. The protagonist is a confused girl, Radhika Mehta, an investment banker who is trying to find exactly what she wants. She is not a girl who confirms expectations and does only what she wants.
The Girl in Room 10
The story is about a boy, Keshav, whose father is part of RSS and his mother is a devoted homemaker. His family is traditional, yet he falls in love with a Kashmiri Muslim girl named Zara. Zara loves Raghu, a classmate. They study at IIT and live in a hostel. One night, Keshav finds her mysteriously murdered in her hostel room. He informs the police and everyone else. A police investigation begins yet the case closes without proper closure. Keshav continues the investigation with many false leads and twists to the story.
One Arranged Murder
The story is about two friends Keshav and Saurabh who open an investigation agency. They are amateurs in the field yet they manage to solve a case of murder. The story has suspense and several other elements of a murder mystery novel.
Chetan Bhagat: Indian Authors English Nonfiction books
- What Young India Wants
- Making India Awesome
- India Positive
These nonfiction novels in English by bestselling Indian author Chetan Bhagat have a variety of essays and columns. Each of these books tackle different social issues. The author discusses the Indian economy, social reforms and how India should move towards being a progressive society. There are essays and columns about casteism, unemployment and many social issues in the Indian context.
The benefit of reading his nonfiction books is raising awareness on these issues and initiating the reader’s thinking process towards a positive change. The language is simple and the author gives his views and suggestions on these issues.
Together these authors have transformed the literary landscape for Indian readers. Earlier, few Indian authors wrote for Indian readers. But these days there are a variety of genres in bestselling English novels written by Indian authors. In the present times authors are vying for readers eyeballs.
While reading novels, we can understand the social background of the main characters. If there are any political undertones we sense them too. We can also feel the character’s economic situations and pressures. In his stories, Aravind Adiga gives his characters many dimensions. There are social, economic and political nuances that you can read between the lines.
In fantasy/mythological fiction, you visualize the characters in larger than life events. As you read, you mentally organize the various characters and what they represent. You co-relate the events of the story and make sense of what is happening in the story. Though the events are fantastical, the emotions portrayed are relatable.
Chetan Bhagat’s novels are stories about friendships, romance and aspirations. His novels have attracted several new readers to read books. They are relatable, have easy language and the pace of the narrative is catchy. Beginners and avid readers can read these books gladly as the language is simple. The pace of the narrative is great and will keep you engaged in the story.
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