“What I am reflecting on is that I have to forgive people, events, time, the world, the country and probably also myself in order to be able to write. Your Clarice Lispector was trying this, I assume, and somehow apparently she managed. Or maybe I should say this: I am writing in order to forgive.”
— Ece Temelkuran (Turkey), Letter to Annelies Beck, 15 August 2016
Twenty years after her hugely successful debut The God of Small Things, the Indian writer Arundhati Roy is releasing her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. In the intervening years, Roy mostly wrote non-fiction, with among others incisive essays on the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, economic inequality and nuclear tests in India. As with her debut novel, which won the Booker Prize and was translated into more than 40 languages, Arundhati Roy reaches a global audience with her essays and speeches as an activist. Roy has won many awards for her literary services as well as for her political engagement, among others the Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Prize in 2002 and the Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing in 2011. In her new, sensory novel, Roy takes the reader on an intimate journey through India, via the gripping stories of her characters which she subtly interweaves.
Arundhati Roy talks about her work and her latest novel with Flemish journalist and writer Annelies Beck.
"I want to think about detail now and not about the full picture. After I finished The God of Small Things there was nothing I wanted to understand more than the way the big wheels are working. Now that I do, I want to deploy that knowledge in minute observation." Arundhati Roy on returning to fiction after 20 years of writing non-fiction.