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VS Naipaul to publish fourth book on India

With a confirmed voice that he has no plans to retire, the Indo-Trinidadian writer has announced publication of his fourth book on India.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2007 16:03 IST
Paras Ramoutar
Paras Ramoutar

With a confirmed voice that he has no plans to retire, VS Naipaul has announced publication of his fourth book on India.

He said that this book will be ready for the bookshelves by year's end.

Asked that if his harsh criticisms of India in his previous works, notably An Area of Darkness, India, a Million Mutinies, India, A Wounded Civilisation, have changed, Naipaul said that these works are relevant today as when they were published.

He did not reveal his thoughts on the fourth publication.

At a press conference and later luncheon at the Principal's Office of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Naipaul said that returning to the land of his birth after he retired from writing was in abeyance.

"When I retire the question might arise. I am still working. A writer's job is never completed."

In the same vein, Naipaul repeated his claim that he learnt nothing at Oxford University, but enjoyed the opportunity to write." I would do it all over again.I wouldn't change a thing. It was my vocation to do it."

On the question of neglecting to recognise Trinidad and Tobago as the land of his birth when he received word that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, his wife, Lady Nadira, intervened and took the blame for this anomaly.

Lady Naipaul said:"I made that mistake.I was taken aback. It was my negligence. It was nothing to do with my husband. The statement to the press was given by me. I am fault here.It had nothing to do with my husband who was fast asleep - he slept for eight hours."

Asked to define which of his books were his greatest work of art, Naipaul muttered that writing was a developmental process for the author and to select any one work would lose the idea of writing. "All of it matters."

And at Lakshmi Girls' Hindu College, on invitation by Satnarayan Maharaj, secretary general of the Santan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), Naipaul warned the high school students: "Everyone who wants to write has to find his own way and anyone who pretends to give you advice may get you into trouble."

He was caustic and at times seemed to be tempered as was evidenced in his responses to several questions from the students.

"I don't understand what you're saying. I believe I have answered many times before. Obviously you weren't paying attention. Go back and listen and learn something from it."

"From your question it's quite obvious you have not understood my works. Your questions would have more meaning to me if there was more knowledge in them," Naipaul added.

He also announced that he had no plans to write another novel about Trinidad, adding that,"you write novels out of great knowledge" as he was not familiar with this country as one cannot "pick up material" from a visit.

Naipaul's visit has charmed the people of this country to the extent that the Political Leader of the Congress of the People, Winston Dookeran has called on the government of Trinidad and Tobago to name the National Library after the Nobel Laureate.

First Published: Apr 23, 2007 15:40 IST