Narayan (Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami) was born in 1906 and died in 2001 at the age of 94 — and thus he witnessed most of the tumultuous 20th century in India. You can read about his life and career in this detailed Wikipedia article. He is best known as a novelist and a writer of short stories, turning to these epic projects only in the 1970s, very late in his career. Narayan's version of the Ramayana is remarkable because it is based, not on Valmiki, but instead on Kamban's Tamil version of the Ramayana, which is in turn based on Valmiki but which also has a personality all its own.
This brief video gives you an overview of his life: