Arundhati Roy

Basics:

Born as : Suzanna Arundhati Roy

Born: Nov. 24, 1960

Birthplace: Shillong, Meghalaya, India

Best known as: The author of the novel The God of Small Things

Background:

Arundhati Roy was born to Ranjit Roy, a Bengali Hindu tea planter and Mary Roy, a Malayali Christian ,women's rights activist.


The marriage was unsuccessful due to their mix backgrounds.


Roy spent her childhood years in Aymanam ,Kerala with her mother.


Living with her mom has greatly influenced her on her writing.

Education

She spent her childhood in Aymanam Kerala, and went to school at Corpus Christi in Kottayam, followed by the Lawrence School, in Tamil Nadu.



Roy's mother, was a social activist:


She founded founded an independent school and taught her daughter informally.


This freedom from intellectual constraint allowed Roy to write; the ability to follow her inner voice, rather than having a set of restrictive rules ingrained in her.

"When I write, I never re-write a sentence because for me my thought and my writing are one thing. It's like breathing, I don't re-breathe a breath... Everything I have - my intellect, my experience, my feelings have been used. If someone doesn't like it, it is like saying they don't like my gall bladder. I can't do anything about it.”

In addition to the style of her writing, the subject matter also reflects the cultural texture of her childhood.






Of Kerala she says that "it was the only place in the world where religions coincide, there's Christianity, Hinduism, Marxism and Islam and they all live together and rub each other down...I was aware of the different cultures when I was growing up and I'm still aware of them now. When you see all the competing beliefs against the same background you realise how they all wear each other down.”

Education Contd.

At age 16 Roy left home, and enrolled at the Delhi School of Architecture.


Roy soon left after a few years to work on projects for the screen, writing for television shows, which failed due to lack of funding, and then two screenplays, neither of which brought her great success.


During her time as a screen writer, she met her first husband, architect Gerard da Cunha.

Writing

Roy began writing her first novel, The God of Small Things in 1992, completing it in 1996.


The God of Small Things was published in April 1997.


The book is semi-autobiography and a major part captures her childhood experiences in Kerala


The publication of The God of Small Things allowed Roy to get international fame.


About six months later it was awarded the Booker Prize; Roy is the first Indian woman ever to achieve this honor.

Roy says that her use of the English language is a choice imposed on her because "There are more people in India that speak English than there are in England. And the only common language that we have throughout India is English. And it's odd that English is a language that, for somebody like me, is a choice that is made for me before I'm old enough to choose. It is the only language that you can speak if you want to get a good job or you want to go to a university. All the big newspapers are in English. And then every one of us will speak at least two or three - I speak three - languages. And when we communicate - let's say I'm with a group of friends - our conversation is completely anarchic because it's in any language that you choose.”

Now

Roy has been involved in protesting against the Narmada Dam Project, has supported the Kashmiri Separation,The Muthanga incident in Kerala, The Mumbai Attacks etc.



In January 2000 she was arrested during a protest, and released two days later.



Roy met her second husband, filmmaker Pradip Krishen, until she was financially secure by the success of her novel The God of Small Things.