Monday, May 30, 2011

Literary Festival Meet-Up Ends Long-Standing Feud

A meeting partially engineered by Booker-winning author Ian McEwen (Saturday, On Chesil Beach) at the Hay Festival at Hay-on-Wye in Wales has ended VS Naipaul and Paul Theroux’s 15-year-old feud. From The Telegraph:
Mr Naipaul and Mr Theroux, the travel writer, first met in Uganda in 1966. Their friendship spanned three decades but came to an abrupt end after Mr Theroux discovered that one of his books, which he had inscribed and given as a present to Mr Naipaul, had been put on sale for $1,500. Mr Naipaul had apparently been angered by an exchange between Mr Theroux and his wife Nadira and broke off all relations with his former friend.

Deeply hurt, Mr Theroux wrote a memoir of their friendship, Sir Vidia’s Shadow, which portrayed the older writer as a brutal, unforgiving man who referred to Arabs as “Mr Woggy” and Africans as “bow-and-arrow men”.

Mr Naipaul claimed not to have read the book but took to damning Mr Theroux in interviews, saying they had barely known each other. He also dismissed his work as “tourist books for the lower classes”.
January Magazine’s 1999 review of Sir Vidia’s Shadow is here.


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