Arundhati Roy at Sharjah Book Fair

Fifteen years after she wrote the award winning God of Small Things Arundhati Roy continues to enchant book lovers. The hall, chock-a-block with her fans waiting to hear her talk at the Sharjah Book Fair, on November 9 was a huge evidence of her popularity. She did not disappoint. From Ayemenem to Obama Arundhati talked about many issues close to her heart.

About her book she said, “My grandmom actually had a pickle factory in Ayemenen and my first job was at the factory. I would wear a blue apron and stick labels of curry powder on bottles.” It was to describe the scenic Meenachil river in Ayemenem that Arundhati first started writing God of Small Things.

Vellutha, the untouchable who falls in love with the higher caste Ammu paid a heavy price for his passion in God of Small Things. Arundhati said the issue of caste system that she wrote about in her book still exists in India. In 1998, a year after her book was published the Bharatiya Janta Party came to power in India and conducted nuclear tests. Arundhati’s advocacy of political issues really began with this. “I had just won the Booker. I was a fairy queen. But I felt if I do not raise my voice now I will never be able to write honestly.” She has since then been vocal about an independent Kashmir, the Sardar Sarovar Project, foreign policies of the US and the Indian government’s actions against Naxalites.

Since her first book she has written several essays on contemporary issues but never another work of fiction. But that’s going to change very soon because she is currently in the process of writing her second novel. “It took me four and a half years to write God of Small Things. I felt I was in a jail, possessed with writing the book.”

She admitted that she is not ambitious and never intended to write to win any prizes. “Do things that make you happy, those that really engage you,” was her parting note.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

    Nov 10, 2012 @ 21:14:43

    I was there too and feeling blessed to have heard her read!


  2. Tessy
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 07:48:13

    It was a happy moment for all her fans


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