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V.S. Naipaul Wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2001

STOCKHOLM, 11 October 2001 - This year's Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to the Briton V.S. Naipaul.

Of Indian descent, Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932 and has been living in Britain since 1950. The Swedish Academy in Stockholm honours the writer "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories".

The Oxford-educated Naipaul examined post-colonial society. His literary domain has extended far beyond the West Indian island of Trinidad, his first subject, and now encompasses India, Africa, America from south to north, the Islamic countries of Asia and, not least, England. "Naipaul is Conrad’s heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in his memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished," the Swedish Academy said. "In his masterpiece The Enigma of Arrival Naipaul visits the reality of England like an anthropologist studying some hitherto unexplored native tribe deep in the jungle. With apparently short-sighted and random observations he creates an unrelenting image of the placid collapse of the old colonial ruling culture and the demise of European neighbourhoods."

Naipaul's critical remarks and assessments of Muslim fundamentalism, Paul Theroux, James Joyce's Ulysses, and the homosexuality of E.M. Foster and John Maynard Keynes among other topics have been a source of controversy.

V.S. Naipaul most important works include A House for Mr Biswas (1961), A Bend in the River (1979), A Way in the World (1994) and An Area of Darkness (1964).

This year's Nobel Prize is worth the equivalent of 1 million EURO and will be presented on 10 December in Stockholm.

The prize for literature was awarded last year to Gao Zingjian, the Chinese writer living in exile in France. In 1999, Günter Grass received the prize.

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