Mumbai, Nov 1, 2012: Nobel laureate VS Naipaul has flatly declared he would no longer write about India or its people, giving a shock to the who's who of Mumbai's literary circles and glitterati at the ongoing five-day literary festival here.
The Trinidadian-British Naipaul, of Indian origin, also broke down when asked a question about his significant literary creation “ A House For Mr Biswas”, penned over five decades ago.
As author Farrukh Dhondy asked him about the “big novel” published way back in 1961, and how he started his literary career, Naipaul, 80, first did not reply and then broke down.
“I have told this story so many times, but it is very moving ...” he trailed off on the query about the book based on the life of father.
Intervening, his wife Nadira, who was present in the audience, requested Dhondy to proceed to the next question, at the well-attended Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest, where he (Naipaul) was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award late Wednesday night.
After that, Naipaul engaged in a moving discussion on the challenges of travel writing, his early struggle as a budding author, his experiences and exploration of India, and the death of his pet cat Augustus, presented by Dhondy last year.
“My background is Indian and I have always been interested in it (India),” he said on his decision to travel in India in 1962 for his next book “ An Area of Darkness”.
“When I started writing, I wanted my experiences to stay with me ... I didn't want the time to pass ... the book was based on my internal discovery of India,” he said.
Naipul then shocked and saddened the audience with his next remark. Saying he has written three books on India - two novels and one essay “as thick as a book”, he declared he would not write on it any longer.
“I have written enough,” he said.
The Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LifFest with master classes, literary sessions, workshops and performances opened Wednesday and will go on till November 4.
Top Indian writers and literary figures and experts from different fields will be speaking on variety of topics, while there will also be performances on plays or dramas by leading literary figures.
Some of the participants during the festival include Inua Ellams, Girish Karnad, Tanika Gupta, Anish Trivedi, and Chris Larner.