VS Naipaul finds no Woman Writer his Literary Match

From The Guardian:

VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the “greatest living writer of English prose”, was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: “I don’t think so.” Of Austen he said he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world”.

He felt that women writers were “quite different”. He said: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”

The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” he said.


  1. I’ll post a few choice words in response to Naipaul’s self effacing, modest opinion of himself.

    Barbara Kingsolver

    Alice Walker

    Mary Shelly

    Willa Cather

    Anne Frank

    1. Anne Frank? I can understand the rest, but I was under the impression that her diaries were so lauded because of what they depicted and the sadness of her death, not due to her literary talent.

  2. Such a circular argument against women. How dare he? Women in so many parts of the world are not allowed to leave their houses, much less go to school to become literate and educated and yet he holds them responsible for their lack of literary accomplishment? Last I checked writing utensils and books did not have “insert penis to operate” stickers on them.

    When will this behavior end? Oh and our “sentimentality” is what keeps us from killing arrogant berks like him.

    Guess what buddy – you had a 50% chance of being a GIRL!!!!!

  3. Oh please. He is most certainly not the greatest living writer – not even the greatest living writer within his own literary niche.

    “Naipaul regularly visited prostitutes in London, and later had a long-term abusive affair with another married woman, Margaret Gooding, which his wife was aware of. Describing his physical treatment of Gooding, Naipaul told French, “I was very violent with her for two days. I was very violent with her for two days with my hand. My hand began to hurt.’ ” [Wikipedia – the source is too long & rambling to cite]

    If that isn’t revealing prose I don’t know what is.
    Yeah, that’s a man who knows women. Well, knows them on a physical level anyway. Maybe he’s confusing female bodies with female writing.

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