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R. Shanmugasundaram (1918-77) belonged to the Manikkodi group of writers who ushered in the modern era in Tamil fiction. Shanmugasundaram distinguished himself as a novelist. His first novel Nagammal (1941) is regarded as the first realistic novel in Tamil. The novel was also the harbinger of the so-called Vattara Ilakkiam (Regional Literature) genre in the Tamil novel. The novel deals with the poor, farming classes and possesses a distinct flavour of the soil.