Arundhati Roy Awarded PEN Pinter Prize Weeks After Prosecution Threat

Arundati Roy has been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, which celebrates writers whose work display an “unflinching, unswerving” look at the world. Roy, who was the first Indian writer to win the Booker Prize in 1997, said she was “delighted” to win the award, saying “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.”

This year’s judges included actor Khalid Abdalla, writer Roger Robinson, and English PEN chair Ruth Borthwick. Abdalla described Roy’s writing as “a lodestar through the many crises and the darkness our world has faced.”

But, just two weeks before winning the award, Indian authorities approved the prosecution of the author over comments she had made about the Kashmir region 14 years ago. The June 14th decision, which comes as part of a controversially strict set of anti-terror laws, has been contested since its announcement. More than 200 Indian activists, journalists, and academics have signed an open letter calling for the decision to be withdrawn.

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