Thai literature evolved from a longstanding oral tradition of myths and legends, handed down through the generations. Themes were based on the Ramakien (a Thai version of the Indian myth of the Ramayana) and on the Jataka tales, stories of the former lives of the Buddha. Sunthorn Phu was a classical poet of the early 19th century Thai court who wrote renowned romantic epic poems.
In the late 19th century the first modern Thai poetry, short stories, and novels appeared. These works addressed everyday social issues of common Thai people. Notable 20th-century authors include Phya Anuman Rajadhon (pseudonym Sathira Koses) and Kukrit Pramoj, a former prime minister who wrote acclaimed short stories and novels.