ARUNDHATI ROY Biography - Writers


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Born in 1961 in Bengal, Arundhati Roy grew  up in Kerala. She trained as an  architect at the Delhi School of Architecture, but abandoned the field and  became better known for her complex, scathing film scripts. She wrote and starred in In Which Annie Gives  it Those Ones, and wrote the script for Pradip Kishen’s Electric Moon.


Media attention came when she spoke out in  support of Phoolan Devi, who she felt had been exploited by Shekhar Kapur’s  film Bandit Quen. The controversy  escalated into a court case, after which she retired to private life to work on  her first book, The God of Small Things, which was published in 1997. The half-million pound advance on this book,  more than Vikram Seth’s for A Suitable Boy, shot her to fame again. As the daughter of Mary Roy, the woman whose  court case chenged the inheritance lawa in favour of women, she was closely  acquainted with the Syrian Christian traditions which feature prominently in  the book.


She says, “a feminist is a woman who  negotiates herself into a position where she has choices..”


The God of Small Things, won Britain’s  premier book prize, the Booker McConnell, in 1997. Although Indian authors such as Salman Rushdie and Rohinton  Mistry have featured in the booker shortlist, and Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children  won the ‘Booler of Bookers’, Roy is the first6 non-expatriate Indian author and  the first Indian woman to have won this prize.  To top it all, this happened in 1997, India’s 50th anniversary of  indepeneence from Britain.


Much speculation ensued about her next  project: would it be a play, another novel, or poetry? Roy squelched the gossip by saying that she  might never write another novel and had no intentions of trying to rival the  success of her first. In keeping with  her longtime interest in social issues, she has immersed herself in causes such  as the anti-nuclear movement and the Nar5mada Bachao Andolan. Her two major essays, The End of Imagination  and The Greater Common Good are available online as well as in print. Her personal fame has drawn attention and  donations to these causes, and she has also made dignificant monetary  contributions herself. Her involvement  in these causes has also attracted controversy, with some criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.


In the recent past she was actively took  part in ‘Narmada Bachao Aandolan’ led by Medha Patkar.