In this two-part series, Professor of Literature Shahidha Bari asks if we should stop reading controversial writer VS Naipaul.
In this two-part series, Professor of Literature Shahidha Bari asks if we should stop reading controversial writer VS Naipaul. His best-known works are the novels A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River and In a Free State.
Is his legacy compromised by his confessions of violence towards women and his controversial views on race? VS Naipaul, who died in 2018, is arguably one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Part of a vanguard of postcolonial authors who wrote about the new world being created in the wake of the British Empire, Naipaul's work was applauded across the globe. In 2001 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his body of work, including his non-fiction publications documenting his various travels through Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Bari meets those who claim Naipaul's views, today, are difficult to accept - steeped in a colonial mindset that has little resonance in the 21st century. And she talks to others who feel that Naipaul's outspoken views are an essential part of the package and that he still belongs in the canon of great literature. In Trinidad, Bari learns of the abuse Naipaul suffered as a child and how it affected his relationship with the country of his birth and his work. Naipaul was the author of more than 40 books and wrote fiction and non-fiction with equal success.
You are at the last episode