V.S. Naipaul on the shortlist for the Golden Man Booker Prize

V. S Naipaul

Trinidad-born author V.S. Naipaul has been selected as  one of the five finalists for the Golden Man Booker Prize.

This special one-off award for Man Booker Prize’s 50th anniversary celebrations ” will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize.”

The ‘Golden Five’ – the books thought to have best stood the test of time – are: In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul; Moon Tiger by UK’s Penelope Lively; The English Patient by Canada’s Michael Ondaatje; Wolf Hall by UK’s Hilary Mantel; and Lincoln in the Bardo by America’s George Saunders.

Readers are invited to have their say on which book is their favourite from this shortlist. The month-long public vote on the Man Booker Prize website will close on June 25. On July 8the winner will be announced and presented with a trophy at Golden Man Booker Live, the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in England.

The nominated book, In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul, is described by the Prize as representing the first decade of the Man Booker, and, “was chosen by writer and editor Robert McCrum. He described it as ‘outstandingly the best novel to win the Booker Prize in the 1970s, a disturbing book about displaced people at the dangerous edge of a disrupted world that could have been written yesterday, a classic for all seasons.’

85-year old Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad “Vidia” Naipaul who received the Nobel Prize for Literature, is the oldest living winner of the Booker Prize. He was born in 1932 in Chaguanas in Trinidad the second child of Droapatie (née Capildeo) and Seepersad Naipaul.  His grandparents were Indian farm labourers. His father was a journalist with the Trinidadian Guardian newspaper and his younger brother, Shiva Naipaul was a successful writer who died at the age of 40.

V.S. Naipaul studied at the Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain and won a university scholarship to Oxford. He has often returned to Trinidad over the years and many of his more than thirty books are heavily influenced by his early years in the Caribbean.

He was knighted in 1989. In addition to winning the Man Brooker in the 70s, he was awarded the David Cohen British Literature Prize by the Arts Council of England in 1993.

He holds honorary doctorates from Cambridge University in England and Columbia University in New York, and honorary degrees from the universities of Cambridge, London and Oxford. His latest book, The Masque of Africa, was published in 2010. He lives in Wiltshire, England.

The Man Booker 50 Festival runs from July 6-8 across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site in London.