Man Booker Prize-winning author and political activist Arundhati Roy was born on November 24, 1961, in Shillong, Meghalaya. Her father, Ranjit Roy, was a tea planter, and mother, Mary, a women’s rights activist from Kerala. Roy spent her childhood in Kerala’s Aymanam village, a place which she would revisit in her acclaimed debut novel, The God of Small Things.
Speaking about the ways in which her mother (who had divorced her husband) influenced her, Roy said in an interview to The Progressive magazine in April 2001: “I sometimes think I was perhaps the only girl in India whose mother said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t get married.’… She [Mary] is like someone who strayed off the set of a Fellini film. She’s completely nuts. But to have seen a woman who never needed a man, it’s such a wonderful thing, to know that that’s a possibility, not to suffer.”