VS Naipaul: A literary giant in the field of fiction
Vidiadhur Surajprasad Naipaul’s narratives of arrival in En land return repeatedly to his father Seepersad’s nurturin of his artistic ambition in Trinidad, and his early prescience that the ‘idea of the writin vocation’ iven him by a colonial acculturation could be realised and practised in En land. In makin himself a writer, he has abjured bein cate orised as West Indian, most famously in withdrawin the manuscript of uerillas (1975) from publisher Secker and Warbur after bein described in a catalo ue as ‘the West Indian novelist’. His career as a determinedly ‘extrare ional’ writer of fiction, travel books and memoir4 has been both stellar and controversial. In 1990 he was awarded Trinidad’s Trinity Cross and kni hted by British monarch Elizabeth II. The bio raphical note in his latest novel Half a Life (2001) rather acerbically states that ‘[h]e has won every major literary award bar the Nobel’. Cited by the Swedish Academy as a ‘British writer, born in Trinidad’, he finally did win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 ‘for havin united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories. Naipaul is Conrad’s heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human bein s.