A remarkable companion piece to The Writer and the World, Naipaul's previous volume of highly acclaimed essays, Literary Occasions is a stirring contribution to the fading art of the critic, and a revelation of a life in letters.
In these eleven extended pieces V. S. Naipaul charts more than half a century of personal enquiry into the mysteries of the written word and of fiction in particular. Here are his boyhood experiences of reading books and his first youthful efforts at writing them; the evolution of his ideas about the extent to which individual cultures shape identities and influence literary forms; observations on Conrad, his literary forebear; the moving preface he wrote to the only book his father ever published; and his reflections on his career, ending with his celebrated Nobel lecture, `Two Worlds'.
`He is an exceptionally good and perceptive critic - a few passages on Dickens are worth whole books by others - and when he addresses the art of fiction he not only writes beautifully (as always) but with complete humility' New Statesman
V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He came to England on a scholarship in 1950. He spent four years at University College, Oxford, and began to write, in London, in 1954. He pursued no other profession. His novels include A House for Mr Biswas, The Mimic Men, Guerrillas, A Bend in the River, and The Enigma of Arrival. In 1971 he was awarded the Booker Prize for In a Free State. His works of nonfiction, equally acclaimed, include Among the Believers, Beyond Belief, The Masque of Africa, and a trio of books about India: An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization and India: A Million Mutinies Now. In 1990, V.S. Naipaul received a knighthood for services to literature; in 1993, he was the first recipient of the David Cohen British Literature Prize. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He lived with his wife Nadira and cat Augustus in Wiltshire, and died in 2018.