In a career that spanned over five decades, the British Nobel Prize winner VS Naipaul has died at his London home aged 85. He was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1932, before being offered a scholarship at Oxford University’s College in 1948. He suffered a nervous breakdown during his time there, but it is also where he met his first wife, Patricia Hale, who died in 1996. He later went on to marry Lady Nadira, some twenty years younger than him.
Although he is known for being outspoken on a number of political and current issues, such as his works on Islamic Fundamentalism, he is perhaps best known for his 1961 seminal novel, A House for Mr Biswas. This was his most critically acclaimed work, inspired by his own father’s life – it tells the story of Mohun Biswas, whose every effort is met with complete calamity.
VS Naipaul received 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.” He also received the Booker Prize in 1971, and a knighthood in 1990.
Watch his speech from his 2001 Nobel Prize win, below: