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V.S. Naipaul Dies: Nobel Prize Winning Author was 85

13 August 2018

Critics accused him of holding people of the developing world in contempt even as his diamantine prose won him a series of awards including the Booker prize in 1971, a knighthood in 1989 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.

Naipaul's death was mourned by many including Geordie Greig, editor of the Mail on Sunday and a close friend, said his loss leaves a "gaping hole in Britain's literary heritage" but there is "no doubt" that his "books live on".

His first published novel, “"The Mystic Masseur", written in 1955, was poorly received at first but the following year won the first of his literary awards, the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize for young authors.

A House for Mr Biswas, published in 1961, is regarded as one of Mr Naipaul's most influential works.

Born in Trinidad, the son of an Indian civil servant, he studied English literature at Oxford University before basing his life in England.

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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". His most famous works include A House for Mr. Biswas, An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization, and A Bend in the River.

The outspoken writer was known for his many harsh criticisms, including that of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair - who he described as a "pirate" - as well as literary stalwarts such as Charles Dickens and EM Forster. He was a scourge of anyone who used a clich頯r an un-thought out sentence. After her death in 1996, he married divorced Pakistani journalist Nadira Khannum Alvi.

In a Twitter post, Mr Rushdie conceded that the pair had "disagreed all our lives, about politics, about literature", but added that he feels "as sad as if I just lost a beloved older brother".

He also won won numerous other major writing prizes, including the Booker in 1971 and the David Cohen British literature prize in 1993.

V.S. Naipaul Dies: Nobel Prize Winning Author was 85