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R. K. Narayan was born in Madras, South India, in 1906. His novel The Guide (1958) won him the National Prize of the Indian Literary Academy, India's highest literary honour. In 1980 he was awarded the A. C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature and in 1982 he was made Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Most of his work focused on the fictional south-Indian town of Malgudi. He died in 2001.