Nobel Prize-winning author V S Naipaul dies

Lady Naipaul confirmed that her husband had died peacefully aged 85.

“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 in Trinidad in 1932, Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul won a scholarship to read English at Oxford University and published his first novel, The Mystic Masseur, in 1957.

He went on to write dozens of more books, many dealing with colonialism and its legacy, and Islamic fundamentalism.

His 1961 novel, A House For Mr Biswas, is considered one of his most seminal works.

It was based on the life of his father Seepersad, who was a reporter for the Trinidad Guardian.

Naipaul won the 1971 Booker Prize for his novel In a Free State.

In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”.

Other honours awarded to him throughout his life included the Booker Prize in 1971, the David Cohen Literature Prize in 1993 and a knighthood from the Queen in 1990.

Throughout his career he was outspoken, notably criticising the famous novel of E M Forster, A Passage To India, and Tony Blair, who he likened to a pirate at the head of a socialist revolution.

He laughed off the 1989 fatwa by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini against British Indian author Salman Rushdie as “an extreme form of literary criticism.”

Rushdie paid tribute to Naipaul on Twitter, writing: “We disagreed all our lives, about politics, about literature, and I feel as sad as if I just lost a beloved older brother. RIP Vidia.”

He also notoriously fell out with author Paul Theroux, whom he had mentored, but the pair later reunited and resolved their differences.

He married Patricia Hale, whom he met at Oxford, in 1955. After she died in 1996, he went on to marry Lady Nadira.

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