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Arundhati Roy: Azadi

Part of Inside Out

Broadcast in conversation on her new book of essays, Azadi, the author and activist reflects on what it means to be free in a post-pandemic world.

‘Azadi’ is the Urdu word for ‘freedom’, and is the slogan chanted by Kashmiris against Indian occupation. Ironically, it also became the protest cry of millions demonstrating on the streets of India against Hindu nationalism.

As Arundhati Roy began to ask what lay between these two calls for freedom, all sides fell silent, when coronavirus brought the world to a halt.

Drawing on this timely series of essays, Roy reflects on the nature of freedom against a backdrop of growing authoritarianism.

In conversation with journalist Razia Iqbal, Roy explores topics that encompass the relationship between public and private language, and the role that fiction and imagination can play in these troubling times.

Despite the devastation wreaked by the pandemic, Roy also invites us to see it as an opportunity to imagine a better world.

Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 and has been translated into more than 40 languages, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

Roy has also published several works of non-fiction, including The Algebra of Infinite Justice, Listening to Grasshoppers and Broken Republic.

Razia Iqbal has been a journalist with BBC News for more than three decades. She currently presents two flagship international current affairs programmes on radio: Newshour on the BBC World Service and The World Tonight on Radio 4.

Presented in partnership with Penguin Live.

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
Arundhati Roy

Dates & times

22 Oct 2020 - 29 Oct 2020
Approximate run time: 60 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Online Event

need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

Tickets for this event are £5, or £11 for a book and ticket bundle including a copy of Arundhati Roy’s new book, Azadi (RRP £6). The books are sent out via post (postage is included in the price).

This event is streamed. Streaming is provided by TicketCo on behalf of the Southbank Centre.

Please ensure that you have access to a stable WiFi network in order to watch the event. More information on how to access the stream is available when you click through to the TicketCo website to purchase your ticket.

There is a purchase limit of one ticket per person for this event.

This talk is available to ticket holders for seven days after broadcast.