has been writing for 46 years. In that time, the Trinidad-born author
of Indian ancestry has written 8 travel books, 10 works of fiction,
and 6 books that defy categorization. His work possesses that rare
combination of literary excellence and social significance. A
House for Mr. Biswas (1961) is a Dickensian masterpiece, a poignant
tragi-comedy that illuminates the imperial subject's homelessness
and rootlessness. The Enigma of Arrival (1987) is an intricate
and introspective search for an identity amidst the detritus of
that rootlessness; it is a story of literary self-creation. India:
A Million Mutinies Now (1990) is a sensitive exploration of
a nation reimagining itself half a century after the end of colonialism.
No other living author has illuminated the post-colonial condition
with such sensitivity and acuity. Like a latter-day Herodotus, Naipaul
has traveled the globe, preserving for posterity the insecurities
and longings that have defined an era.
year, rumors circle that Naipaul is on the short-list for the Nobel
Prize in Literature. Nearly every year, too, rumors abound that
he will be denied because the prize has already been awarded to
an author from the West Indies (Derek Walcott). We believe that
the greatest prize for literature should be dictated not by geographical
or ethnic considerations, but on grounds of literary merit and social
importance. Naipaul's credentials are unassailable. We urge the
Royal Swedish Academy to award him the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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