Her Life: A Literary Genius
- Year 1961 – Born in Shillong.
- Year 1984 – Played a role in movie Messey Sahib.
- Year 1989 – Won the National Film Award for the Best Screenplay in the movie In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones.
- Year 1997 – Received Booker Prize for her novel The God of Small Things.
- Year 2011 – Won Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing.
“Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.”
Arundhati Roy is one of the most celebrated authors in India. She was awarded the Booker Prize for her novel The God of Small Things in 1997. She is also a social activist and somewhat a controversial figure in India for her outspoken views on various issues.
Suzanna Arundhati Roy was born on November 24, 1961 in Shillong, Meghalaya. Her father, Rajib Roy was a Bengali Hindu tea planter from Calcutta and mother, Mary Roy is a Malayali Syrian Christian women’s rights activist from Kerala who changed the inheritance laws by effectively suing for the right of Christian women to receive an equivalent share of their father’s estates. She has a brother named Lalit Kumar Christopher Roy.
When she was two years old, her parents got divorced and she went to Kerala with her mother and her brother. At first, they lived in her maternal grandfather’s house in Ooty and when she was five, her family moved to Kerala as her mother started a school.
Roy went to study in Corpus Christi in Kottayam and then at the Lawrence School in Lovedale in Nilgiris. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi and got a position with the National Institute of Urban Affairs.
In Delhi, she met architect Gerad da Cunha and they lived together for some time but got separated later. In 1984, she met Pradip Krishen, an independent filmmaker who offered her a role in Massey Sahib (1985). They got married soon. Later, they worked together on a television series on the India’s independence movement and on two other films, In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989) and Electric Moon (1992). After some years they got separated.
After a series of odd jobs, including artist and aerobics instructor, she wrote and co-starred in the film In Which Annie Gives It to Those Ones in 1989. She wrote scripts for the film Electric Moon in 1992 and numerous other television dramas. In 1995, she wrote two newspaper articles claiming that Shekhar Kapur’s film Bandit Queen oppressed Phoolan Devi, who was one of India’s most wanted criminals in the 1980s and a heroine of the troubled. She criticized the movie by calling it “The Great Indian Rape Trick” in her film reviews.
She wrote The God of Small Things in 1997 and it became a great success. The semi-autobiographical work departed from the conventional plots and light prose that had been characteristic among best sellers. Written in a lyrical language about South Asian themes and characters in a story that wandered through time, Roy’s novel became the biggest selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author and won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997.
Then she began working as a screenplay writer again and wrote for many television serials such as The Banyan Tree and also the documentary DAM/AGE: A Film with Arundhati Roy in 2002. Roy capably uses her celebrity position and her gift of writing and wrote essays like The Greater Common Good on the dams and The End of Imagination on India’s nuclear tests.
Awards and Recognition
She won Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award in 2002 for the work “about the civil societies that are adversely affected by the world’s most powerful governments and corporations”. Also, she was awarded a special recognition as a Woman of Peace at the Global Human Rights Awards in San Francisco in the year 2003. Roy got the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004 for her social campaigns and for endorsing tolerance and non-violence.
She received the Sahitya Akademi Award, a national award from the India’s Academy of Letters for her collection of essays on the modern issues. In November 2011, she got the Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing.