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Arundhati Roy, 1959-


Image of  Arundhati Roy, 1959- (photo credit: Gaurav Sharma)

Select page numbers to listen or LCCN to display the bibliographic record.


  1. The god of small things.
    New Delhi : IndiaInk, 1997.
    (LCCN: 97902605)
    MP3 excerpt: pp. 215-224

Arundhati Roy, born in 1959 at Shillong, Meghalaya, is one of the best-known representatives of the contemporary generation of Indian writers who write in English.

Roy's maiden novel - The god of small things - was greeted in 1997 by unprecedented attention from critics, pundits and the media alike. The book, set among the Christian Syriac community of the southern state of Kerala, was a very personal account of a tragic love story cutting across the caste, religious and political divides of India, as told through the eyes of twin children. Daring in its theme and innovative in concept and language, the novel had many detractors in India, but won international acclaim and secured the author the prestigious Booker Prize for the best novel by a Commonwealth author. She was the first Indian writer to win that award. In an interview at the time, Roy said she didn't consider herself a writer: she just had to write The god of small things but didn't know whether she had another novel in her.

In the intervening years Roy has used her celebrity status in India to write instead in defense of causes she believes in, to become, "a writer for the victims of Modernity." Almost unique among intellectuals, Roy publicly excoriated the Government for its decision to launch nuclear tests in 1998 in a long and passionate essay - The end of imagination - published simultaneously in India and Pakistan. Among the general euphoria and nationalistic pride generated by the test, Roy dared to declare herself, in a sentence often quoted for its courage as well as its felicitous hyperbole, "an independent mobile republic of one."

In 1999, Roy pointed her sharp pen against the Narmada dam, under construction in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat in another highly critical essay entitled The greater common good.

Trained in architecture at the Delhi School of Architecture, she has worked at the National Institute of Urban Affairs, acted in a film, spent eight months in Italy studying restoration of monuments, and wrote the script for an award-winning film.

The Library of Congress has acquired all her works.

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January 11, 2016
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