Trinidadian novelist Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, popularly known as Sir VS Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, has died at his home in London aged 85, his family have said.
Sir Vidia, who was born in rural Trinidad in 1932, was known for works including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas.
He won the Booker Prize in 1971 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001.
His wife Lady Naipaul called him a “giant in all that he achieved”.
She said he died “surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour”.
Sir Vidia, who was born in Chaguanas in Central Trinidad on August 17, 1932, was known for works including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas. He wrote more than 30 books, won the Booker Prize in 1971 and the Nobel Prize in literature in 2001, following the late St. Lucian Derek Walcott who won the award in 1992.
The Nobel Prize in literature committee awarded Sir Vidia for “having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.
“Naipaul is a modern philosopher. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony,” it added.
Sir Vidia, who as a child was read Shakespeare and Dickens by his father, was raised a Hindu and attended Queen’s Royal College in Trinidad. He moved to Britain and enrolled at Oxford University in 1950 after winning a government scholarship.
His first book, The Mystic Masseur, was published in 1951 and a decade later he published his most celebrated novel, A House for Mr Biswas, which took over three years to write.
The editor of the Mail on Sunday, Geordie Greig, a close friend of Sir Vidia, said his death leaves a “gaping hole in Britain’s literary heritage” but there is “no doubt” that his “books live on”.
His first wife, Patricia Hale, died in 1996 and he went on to marry Pakistani journalist, Nadira.
As a student, he struggled with depression and attempted suicide.
He Was an Icon: Prime Minister Rowley
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley has extended condolences to the family of Sir Vidiadhar.
“This proud son of Trinidad and Tobago established himself as an icon in the literary arts on the global stage and his world renowned achievements caused his birthplace to shine in a positive light,” the Prime Minister said, in a statement issued shortly after news of Naipaul’s death. Rowley said the Nobel Laureate was “unwavering in his resolve to tell his stories as he saw fit. Moreover, his strength of character was responsible in no small part for his renowned success.”
“His literary works will always remain a testimony of his strength and amazing talent as well as ensure that he will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace,” Rowley said.