For nearly 20 years, fans of Indian writer Arundhati Roy have been wondering if she'll ever write a second novel.
Today, they received their answer.
Her publisher, Hamish Hamilton, has announced the Delhi-based author's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness will be published next year.
Roy's first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. It told the tale of fraternal twins from the southern Indian state of Kerala who were reunited in adulthood.
Since then, Roy has written many essays and other nonfiction works to raise the alarm about corporate oligarchs, including the book Capitalism: A Ghost Story. It was inspired by an article about India's billionaires that appeared in Outlook magazine in 2012.
Two years later, Roy told the Straight that corporations were backing right-wing politician Narendra Modi because the prime minister at that time, Manmohan Singh, "hasn't shown the nerve" to send the army in to crush desperately poor rebels in states like Chhattisgarh and Orissa. Modi became prime minister two months later.
"From being this openly sort of communal hatred-spewing saccharine person, he then put on the suit of a corporate man, and, you know, is now trying to play the role of the statesmen, which he's not managing to do really," Roy said.
Roy made the remarks shortly before speaking to a capacity crowd at St. Andrew's–Wesley United Church in Vancouver. The event was organized by the Indian Summer Arts Society in advance of the 2014 Indian Summer Festival.
In her interview with the Straight, Roy maintained that India cannot be considered a democratic country just because it holds regular elections.
"There isn't a single institution anymore which an ordinary person can approach for justice: not the judiciary, not the local political representative," Roy declared. "All the institutions have been hollowed out and just the shell has been put back. So democracy and these festivals of elections is when everyone can let off steam and feel that they have some say over their lives."