The Hush Post: Nobel laureate V S Naipaul is no more. He died on Saturday at his home in London. He was 85. His family confirmed the death in a statement, The Associated Press reported.
The world-renowned author, most famous for his 1961 novel A House for Mr Biswas, died peacefully on Friday, his wife Lady Naipaul announced. “He was a giant in all that he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour,” she said in a statement.
Born as Vidiadhar Surajprasad “Vidia” Naipaul, he was born in Trinidad, with his father having an Indian ancestory. His grandparents had migrated to Trinidad in the 1880s as indentured labourers. Naipaul’s father went on to become an English-language journalist there. Naipaul went to Oxford University on a scholarship and lived the rest of his life in England.
In awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001, the Swedish Academy described him as “a literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice.”
Other honours awarded to him included the Booker Prize in 1971, the David Cohen Literature Prize in 1993 and a knighthood in 1990.
Inspired partly by his own father’s life, his most famous work, A House for Mr Biswas gained worldwide acclaim, telling the story of the titular character striving for success in a wide variety of careers but often failing.
Naipaul published more than 30 works spanning both fiction and non-fiction in a career spanning 50 years. His other major literary works include In a free state, A bend in the river and The enigma of arrival. He was also a travel writer and an essayist.
In 1962, Naipaul and his first wife Pat had come to India where Naipaul wrote ‘An area of darkness’ and later also wrote ‘Mr Stone and the Knight’s Companion’ in India.
Naipaul married Patricia Hale, whom he had met at Oxford in 1955.
She died in 1996 and he went on to marry Lady Nadira, who was some 20 years his junior, shortly afterwards.
American travel writer Paul Theroux, who had a bitter 15-year feud with Sir Vidia before reconciling, said “he will go down as one of the greatest writers of our time”, a BBC news report read.
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