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Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa (born 26 July 1934) is a Kannada novelist whose works are not only popular within his home state of Karnataka, but also all over India and in the USA. Bhyrappa is widely regarded as one of modern India’s foremost novelists. His novels are unique in terms of theme, structure, and characterization. He has been among the top selling authors of Kannada language. Books written by him and translated to Hindi and Marathi have also been top sellers in the past. He has been awarded with the 20th Saraswati Samman for 2010.

Bhyrappa’s works do not fit into any specific genre of contemporary Kannada literature such as Navodaya, Navya, Bandaya, or Dalita, partly because of the range of topics he writes about. His major works have been the center of several heated public debates and controversies. In March 2015, Bhyrappa was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship. The Government of India awarded him the civilian honour of the Padma Shri in 2016.

S L Bhyrappa was born at Santeshivara, a village in the Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district, about 162 km from Bangalore. He lost his mother and brothers to Bubonic plague early in childhood and took on odd jobs and even to begging to pay for his education. His childhood influences include the writer Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar. Bhyrappa briefly participated in the Indian freedom struggle when he was thirteen.

Bhyrappa completed his primary education in Channarayapatna taluk before moving to Mysore where he completed the rest of his education. His autobiography, Bhitti (Wall) records a break in his high school education. Bhyrappa impulsively quit school, following his cousin’s advice and wandered for a year with him. His sojourn led him to Mumbai, where he worked as a railway porter. In Mumbai he met a group of sadhus and joined them to seek spiritual solace. He wandered with them for a few months before returning to Mysore to resume his education.

S L Bhyrappa was a Lecturer of Philosophy at Sri Kadasiddheshwar College, Hubli; Sardar Patel University in Gujarat; NCERT, Delhi; and the Regional College of Education, Mysore from which he retired in 1991. Bhyrappa has two sons, and lives with his wife in Mysore.

Bhyrappa is widely read in English, Kannada and Sanskrit, and educated in Indian and western philosophy. He can quote authors ranging from William James to V.S. Naipaul. His truth seeking philosophical novel structure influenced a vast number of readers, also the writers like Karanam Pavan Prasad and other scholars.

Starting with Bheemakaya, first published in 1958, Bhyrappa has authored twenty four novels in a career spanning more than five decades. Vamshavruksha, Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Matadana and Nayi Neralu were made into films that received critical acclaim. Vamshavruksha has received the Kannada Sahitya Academy Award in 1966 and Daatu (Crossing Over) received both the Kannada and the Kendra Sahitya Academy awards in 1975. Parva, the most critically acclaimed of all his novels narrates the social structure, values and mortality in the epic of Mahabharata very effectively. Bhyrappa reconstructs the Mahabharatha from sociological and anthropological angle, through metaphors in this novel.

Many of Bhyrappa’s novels have been translated into other Indian languages and English. Bhyrappa has been one of the best selling authors in Kannada for past twenty five years, and translations of his books have been best sellers for the past eight years in the Marathi and in the past five years in Hindi.

Most of his novels have been reprinted several times. His recently printed novel Aavarana was sold out even before its release. The novel went on to create a record in Indian literary circles with ten reprints within five months of its release. His latest novel Yaana (“journey”), was released on August 2014. All his novels are published by Saahitya Bhandaara in Hubli, Karnataka.