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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months that overlap by one month, it is time to announce the March–April 2020 topic challenge.

Based on the number of votes, the third topic challenge of the year 2020 will be

R.K. Narayan


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main meta post. In short, during March–April 2020 we should all try to read one or more works by R. K. Narayan.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, but those who participate will be forever remembered in the annals of our history. And of course it goes without saying that questions on other works are more than welcome during March and April too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of one of the works of R. K. Narayan and asking good questions about these works. These questions should be tagged with . We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is the original presentation of this topic challenge, which contains several reading suggestions:

R. K. Narayan (1906 – 2001) was one of the leading authors on Indian literature in English. He wrote novels, short stories and non-fiction. His fiction focuses on conflicts and tragicomic events, usually in the fictional town Malgudi in south India. He was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature (possibly several times) but never won it.

His novels include the following:

  • The Financial Expert (1952)
  • The Guide (1958): a novel about a corrupt tour guide who is mistaken for a holy man and begins the play the part;
  • The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961)
  • The Painter of Signs (1976): the life of Raman the sign painter changes when he is hired to create signs for Daisy, who wishes to bring birth control to Malgudi;
  • The World of Nagaraj (1990)

Narayan also published several volumes of short stories, e.g.

Narayan also wrote a shortened prose version of the Ramayana (1972) and a shortened retelling of the Mahabharata (1978).

What's next?

  • Vote here for the next topic challenge (April–May), or propose your own!
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The highest-voted and most viewed of these is Is Narayan really quoting a traditional proverb, and from which Indian language/culture?, with a score of 9 and approximately 700 views at the end of April.

As well as having the most questions of any topic challenge so far (16 as opposed to the previous best 14), this was also a good topic challenge for answers, with 12 answers posted during the challenge period: 5 by Brahadeesh, 3 by muru, 2 by Journeyman Geek, 1 by Peter Shor, and 1 by Rand al'Thor.

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    It's been a pleasure to participate in this topic challenge. Kudos to the vibrant community here! I also look forward to reading more great content. :) – Brahadeesh May 1 at 12:28
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    @Brahadeesh I hope we'll see you come back :-) We have a few other suggestions for reading challenges from the Indian subcontinent and you can always add your own suggestions. – Tsundoku May 1 at 15:20

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