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Nobel-Winning Author Who Tackled Colonialism Dead at 85

VS Naipaul divided readers with his stories of Caribbean and African peoples
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 11, 2018 5:05 PM CDT
Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul attends an International Festival of Indian Literature in New Delhi, India, on Feb. 18, 2002.   (AP Photo/John McConnico)

(Newser) – The family of Trinidad-born British author VS Naipaul says the Nobel Literature laureate has died at the age of 85, the AP reports. The family said in a statement late Saturday that the novelist had died at his London home. The writer's wife, Nadira Naipaul, said he "died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavor." Born in Trinidad on Aug. 17, 1932, Naipaul studied at Oxford University and published his first novel, The Mystic Masseur, in 1957. He went on to write dozens of books, including A House for Mr Biswas and A Bend in the River, and won the 1971 Booker Prize for In a Free State, the Guardian reports.

Naipaul also divided audiences as he dealt with colonialism and its legacy, the Telegraph reports. While offering many Western readers a chance to read about Caribbean or African nations, he sparked anger among some people in the world he described: As public intellectual Edward Said explains, "in the postcolonial world he's a marked man as purveyor of stereotypes and disgust for the world that produced him—though that doesn't exclude people thinking he's a great writer." Naipul also admitted to inflicting mental cruelty on his wife, Patricia Naipaul, that he partly felt may have killed her. Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories."

(Read more obituary stories.)

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