Anuradha Roy’s 2018 novel All the Lives We Never Lived has just won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2022. The Sahitya Akademi Awards 2022 were announced for 23 languages include seven poetry collections, six novels, two story collections, two literary criticisms, three plays and one autobiography.
Roy is the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, The Folded Earth and Sleeping on Jupiter, which won the DSC Prize for Fiction 2016 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015. It also won the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award 2018 and was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Hindu Literary Award, and the JCB Award for Literature 2019. Her latest novel, The Earthspinner was published to great acclaim in 2021 and has won the Sushila Devi Book Award 2022.
Anuradha Roy Gets Sahitya Akademi Award
War, nationalism, and trees shape lives in unforeseeable ways in this novel about a family and a country struggling with enormous transformations. The story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, who is driven to rebel against tradition and follow her artist’s instinct for freedom. Freedom of a different kind is in the air across India. The fight against British rule is reaching a critical turn. The Nazis have come to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, two strangers arrive in Gayatri’s town, opening up to her the vision of other possible lives. What took Myshkin’s mother from India to Dutch-held Bali in the 1930s, ripping a knife through his comfortingly familiar universe? Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, Myshkin comes to understand the connections between the anguish at home and a war-torn universe overtaken by patriotism.
Roy in a previous interview with SheThePeople spoke about All The Lives We Never Lived and said, “This character had been with me for a few years, and everything else, even the era in which the book is set, came from this point. When I thought about which paintings the boy would be immersed in, I came upon Walter Spies a German artist who lived in Bali when he escaped the increasingly right wing Germany of the 1920s. From this came the parallels between past and present and the novel grew into an exploration of the themes of nationalism and freedom.” You can read the interview here.
She now lives in Ranikhet, India. Roy’s childhood was spent in small and scenic places as her geologist father would take to many campsites where they lived in tents. Roy told SheThePeople in an interview, “My first three years as a child were spent in the outdoors. We lived in Sikkim, Orissa, Bihar and the wilderness of other such places. My brother and I used to go climbing. That is the landscape I want in my head when I write. I also find it useful way to situate huge human dramas. A background that is not very distracting. Just like you put a painting on a bare wall, open space with room to grow. ”