No more writing, have written enough: Naipaul
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Nobel laureate V S Naipaul was on Wednesday given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the third Tata Literature Live! Assisted by a group of men, the Trinidadian-British ambled to his seat at the Mumbai Litfest venue, the National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point, with wife Nadira looking over him.
Festival director Anil Dharker said, "Some writers are honoured by awards they receive but here is an award honoured by the writer."
After gifting Naipaul — who has a body of work of over 50 years behind him — a shawl, a silver plaque and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, he was asked to say a few words.
The octogenarian politely declined and asked his close friend and British writer-playwright Farrukh Dhondy to begin the moderated conversation. Praising Naipaul for breaking out of the traditional script of nationalistic denial, Dhondy said the writer, in his time, had brought in a fresh wave of Caribbean literature.
At the start of the interview, discussing the process of discovering material and crafting the characters in his books, Naipaul took a long pause and broke into tears as he tried to talk about A House For Mr Biswas. Taking command immediately, Nadira asked Dhondy to skip to the next question.
Discussing the mixed response his book An Area Of Darkness — his travelogue through India in the 60s — had received, Naipaul quipped, "I wrote that 50 years ago. It has a life and a figure of its own — it's there and you have to accept it. He explained that A Million Mutinies was an exploration of India's modernities in anti-clockwise chronological order."
The celebrated writer revealed the disappointment he had felt each year he was denied the literature Nobel. "The Nobel business had been going on for many years. People would say I would definitely get it and then when you don't get it after a point you give up and move on," said Naipaul.
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