Tamil writer and academic C.S. Lakshmi wrote her first fiction under the nom de plume Ambai while she was still a teenager. Although she is frequently categorized as a feminist writer—and considers herself “a feminist who has lived without compromise”—Ambai has argued against a belief that literature leads directly to social change. “It is wrong, I think, to think of writers as architects of society,” she told The Hindu in 2016. “They are as vulnerable or egotistic as anyone else.”

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