Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy emerges winner of European Essay Prize for Lifetime Achievement

Arundhati Roy has been awarded the European Essay Prize For Lifetime Achievement for the French translation of her compilation of essays titled Azadi (2021), the Charles Veillon Foundation has announced.

“The jury of the Prix Europeen de l’Essai wishes to highlight an enriching work in terms of reflection on the construction of the world and the relationship with language. Arundhati Roy uses the essay as a form of combat, analysing fascism and the way it is being structured. This is an issue that is increasingly occupying our lives. Her essays offer shelter to a multitude of people,” the Foundation said in a statement.

The jury also acknowledged Roy’s “commitment to political action”.

In Azadi, Roy has reflected on the meaning of freedom in a world of “growing authoritarianism”. The essays include meditations on language, public as well as private, and on the role of fiction and alternative imaginations in current times.

The Delhi-based author’s works, including Booker Prize winning The God of Small Things, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, and My Seditious Heart have garnered her national and international acclaim.

Roy will receive the award, along with the prize money of CHF 20,000 at a ceremony on September 12 in the Swiss city of Lausanne. 

Since its inception in 1975, the award by the Charles Veillon Foundation has honoured a book or the work of an author “who, through their writings, contributes to nourishing and spreading the evolution of thought”.

“It draws attention to authors whose work bear witness to and offer a fertile commentary on current societies, their practices, and ideologies,” the foundation said. 


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