Indian-origin author VS Naipaul has dismissed women authors as "unequal" to him, saying they demonstrate a lack of ability.
"Women writers are different, they are quite different. I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think (it is) unequal to me," the 78-year-old Trinidad-born author told the Daily Telegraph.
It was due to women's "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world", the Booker Prize-winning author said. "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too."
"My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh," Naipaul said.
"I don't mean this in any unkind way."
On being asked if he considered any woman writer his equal, Naipaul replied: "I don't think so."
Naipaul's comments have been not well received by the literary circles. Alex Clark, a literary journalist, said: "It's absurd. I suspect VS Naipaul thinks that there isn't anyone who is his equal. Is he really saying that writers such as Hilary Mantel, AS Byatt, Iris Murdoch are sentimental or write feminine tosh?"
Helen Brown, literary critic for the Daily Telegraph, said: "It certainly would be difficult to find a woman writer whose ego was equal to that of Naipaul. I'm sure his arrogant, attention-seeking views make many male writers cringe too."