Ambai is the pseudonym of Dr C.S. Lakshmi, one of the foremost writers of Tamil fiction. Her stories have been translated in three volumes entitled A Purple Sea; In a Forest, a Deer and Fish in a Dwindling Lake. The second book shared the Hutch-Crossword award for translated fiction in 2007. Ambai has also won the Pudumaipiththan Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to literature from the US Tamil cultural organization Vilakku in 2005 and the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award of Tamil Literary Garden, University of Toronto, Canada, for 2008. In 2011, Ambai was awarded the Kalaignyar Mu. Karunanidhi Porkizi award for fiction by the Booksellers and Publishers’ Association of South India. The University of Madras awarded her for excellence in literature in the centenary celebrations of International Women’s Day in March 2011.
She has been an independent researcher in Women’s Studies for the last thirty-five years. She is currently the Director of SPARROW (Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women).