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Release:Oct. 26, 2001

2001 Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul reads at UI Nov. 4

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sir V.S. Naipaul, recently announced as the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for literature, will read at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 in Macbride Hall Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910. Following the Nobel announcement, the reading was moved from Buchanan Auditorium to the larger space in Macbride Hall.

A British writer of Indian descent born in Trinidad, Naipaul has been described by critic Kim Gamel as "a writer of aching humor and grim reality." He is the author of more than 30 books, the newest of which is the novel "Half a Life."

"'Half a Life,' the fierce new novel by V. S. Naipaul, the new Nobel laureate, is one of those rare books that stands as both a small masterpiece in its own right and as a potent distillation of the author's work to date," Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times. A Publishers Weekly preview concluded that the novel " reminds us that his vision is on par with Conrad's or Graham Greene's." A starred review in Booklist stated, "Naipaul has been writing for 45 years, and even readers new to his work will realize instantly that they're in the hands of a master."

In its Oct. 11 Nobel announcement, the Swedish Academy proclaimed, "V.S. Naipaul is a literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice. Singularly unaffected by literary fashion and models he has wrought existing genres into a style of his own, in which the customary distinctions between fiction and non-fiction are of subordinate importance.

"Naipaul's literary domain has extended far beyond the West Indian island of Trinidad, his first subject, and now encompasses India, Africa, America from south to north, the Islamic countries of Asia and, not least, England. Naipaul is Conrad's heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in his memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished."

In an article announcing the award, the Guardian of London explained, "Naipaul, considered the leading novelist to emerge from the English-speaking Caribbean, has long been tipped to win the award. His work, which includes novels, short stories and travel writing, explores the disorder created by the collapse of empire and the alienation of the individual.

"The book which made his name, 'A House for Mr. Biswas' (1961), describes Trinidad in the 1930s-50s from the perspective of an Indian immigrant, modeled on his father. In later writing he has described the impact of colonialism and nationalism on the third world."

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