R. K. Narayan was born in Madras. After studying at various schools he went to the Maharaja College of Mysore. He wrote his first book, Swami and Friends in 1930, which met with initial rejections from many publishers. It was ultimately published in 1935, when the famous writer Graham Greene recommended the book to his own publisher. Narayan has also worked for various periodicals such as The Justice, The Hindu and The Atlantic. He started his own publishing company called Indian Thought Publications, which is still active today. He has also translated The Ramayana and The Mahabharata into the English language. Narayan was the recipient of various awards such as Padma Vibhushan, and the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature. He was also a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. He died in 2001, at the age of 94.