Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy (Malayalam: അരുന്ധതി റോയ്, Devanagari: अरुंधती राय) (born November 24, 1961) is an Indian novelist and activist. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her first novel The God of Small Things.

Roy was born in Shillong, Meghalaya to a Keralite Syrian Christian mother and a Bengali Hindu father, a tea planter by profession. She spent her childhood in Aymanam, in Kerala, schooling in Corpus Christi. She left Kerala for Delhi at age 16, and embarked on a bohemian lifestyle, staying in a small hut with a tin roof within the walls of Delhi's Feroz shah Kotla and making a living selling empty bottles. She then proceeded to study architecture at the Delhi School of Architecture, where she met her first husband, the architect Gerard Da Cunha.

Arundhati met her second husband, filmmaker Pradeep Kishen, in 1984, and moved into films under his influence. She acted in the role of a village girl in the award-winning movie Massey Sahib, and wrote the screenplays for In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones and Electric Moon. She also wrote the screenplay for The 'Banyan Tree', a television serial.

Roy began writing The God of Small Things in 1992 and finished it in 1996. She received half-a-million pounds in advances, and rights to the book were sold in twenty-one countries. The book is semi-autobiographical and a major part captures her childhood experiences in Aymanam. Contrary to some assumptions, Roy is not a twin. This misinformation arose from the fact that the character of Rahel is based on herself. We see this in the physical description of the character in her adulthood and also by some of this character's interactions with her mother, Ammu.

In response to India's testing of nuclear weapons in Pokhran, Rajasthan, Roy wrote The End of Imagination, a critique of the Indian government's nuclear policies. It was published in her collection The Cost of Living, in which she also crusaded against India's massive hydroelectric dam projects in the central and western states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. She has since devoted herself solely to non-fiction and politics, publishing two more collections of essays as well as working for social causes.

In 2002, Roy was convicted of contempt of court by the Supreme Court in New Delhi for accusing the court of attempting to silence protests against the Narmada Dam Project, but she received only a symbolic sentence of one day in prison.

Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in May, 2004, for her work in social campaigns and advocacy of non-violence.

In early 2005, New Republic commentator Tom Frank sparked controversy with the comment, "Maybe sometimes you just want to be on the side of whoever is more likely to take a bunker buster to Arundhati Roy." [1]

In June 2005 she took part in the World Tribunal on Iraq.


  • Roy, Arundhati; (2004). An Ordinary Person's Guide To Empire, Consortium Book Sales and Dist, September 15, 2004, hardcover, ISBN 089608728X; trade paperback, Consortium, September 15, 2004, ISBN 0896087271
  • Roy, Arundhati; (2004). Public Power in the Age of Empire, Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1583226826.
  • Roy, Arundhati; (2004). The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy, South End Press. ISBN 0896087107.
  • Roy, Arundhati; (2003). War Talk, South End Press. ISBN 0896087247.
  • Roy, Arundhati; (2002). Power Politics, South End Press. ISBN 0896086682.
  • Roy, Arundhati; (2002). The Algebra of Infinite Justice, Flamingo. ISBN 0-00-714949-2. (a collection of essays: the end of imagination, the greater common good, power politics [also a book], the ladies have feelings, so..., the algebra of inifinite justice, war is peace, democracy, war talk [also a book] and come september.)
  • Roy, Arundhati; (1997). The God of Small Things, Flamingo. ISBN 0-00-655068-1.


  • Foreword to For Reasons of State (2003) ISBN 1565847946 by Noam Chomsky
  • The Cost of Living (1999), which contains the essays 'The greater common good' and 'The end of imagination', which are now included in the book 'The Algebra of Infinite Justice'

See also

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da:Arundhati Roy de:Arundhati Roy eo:Arundhati ROY fr:Arundhati Roy hi:अरुंधती राय sv:Arundhati Roy es:Arundhati Roy tr:Arundhati Roy