Madhavan was born in the port city of Kochi . After graduating in economics he moved to Thiruvananthapuram to study for his masters in University of Kerala. During this period , he began writing, and in 1970 won the top prize for his first published short story ‘Sisu’, in a contest organized by the Malayalam literary magazine Mathrubhumi. In 1975, Madhavan joined the Indian Administrative Service.In 1983, his friends paid a tribute to a ‘late’ author by publishing Choolaimedile Savangal (Corpses of Choolaimedu), a collection of Madhavan’s published stories.
N S Madhavan’s works of short fiction are:
After thirty-three years as a writer,N S Madhavan published his debut novels Lanthan Batheriyile Luthiniyakal (Litanies of the Dutch Battery) in 2003. It was well received by Malayalam readers and has been reprinted many times.Lanthan Batheriyile Luthiniyakal was selected for the Man Asian Literary Prize long list.In 2006, Madhavan published his first book of plays: Randu Natangangal.