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Arundhati Roy Wins PEN Pinter Prize 2024

by | Jul 1, 2024 | News

The Indian writer Arundhati Roy, who won the Booker Prize in 1997 with The God of Small Things, has been awarded the Pen Pinter Prize 2024 for her “unparalleled contribution to literature”.  She will receive the award in at a ceremony at the British Library in London in October.  The announcement comes weeks after officials in India approved action against Roy under anti-terror laws for comments she made about Kashmir 14 years ago.

 

Ruth Borwick, Chair of English PEN which administers the award, said: “Roy tells urgent stories of injustice with wit and beauty. While India remains an important focus, she is truly an internationalist thinker, and her powerful voice is not to be silenced.” 

 

Her fellow judges were actor and activist Khalid Abdalla and writer and musician Roger Robinson.  Abdalla said: “Arundhati Roy is a luminous voice of freedom and justice whose words have come with fierce clarity and determination for almost thirty years now. Her books, her writings, the spirit with which her life is lived, have been a lodestar through the many crises and the darkness our world has faced since her first book, The God of Small Things. This year, as the world faces the deep histories that have created this moment in Gaza, our need for writers who are “unflinching and unswerving” has been immense. In honouring Arundhati Roy this year, we are celebrating both the dignity of her body of work and the timeliness of her words, that arrive with the depth of her craft exactly when we need them most.”

 

Roy said: “I am delighted to accept the PEN Pinter prize. I wish Harold Pinter were with us today to write about the almost incomprehensible turn the world is taking. Since he isn’t, some of us must do our utmost to try to fill his shoes.”

 

The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by the charity English PEN, which defends freedom of expression and celebrates literature, in memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright Harold Pinter. The prize is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize in Literature speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.

 

 

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