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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Naipaul attacks literary giants
Sir VS Naipaul
Naipaul said his work had never been appreciated in England
Novelist Sir VS Naipaul has lambasted literary greats from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to "the worst writer in the world" Henry James.

Naipaul said Thomas Hardy was "an unbearable writer" who "doesn't know how to compose a paragraph".

And Ernest Hemingway "was so busy being an American" he "didn't know where he was", he told the Literary Review.

The Trinidad-born UK writer, who was knighted in 1990, said his own writings had been neglected in his home country.

"England has not appreciated or acknowledged the work I have done," he said.

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2001 and is best known for A House for Mr Biswas and the Booker Prize-winning In A Free State.

"English writing is very much of England, for the people of England, and is not meant to travel too far," said the 73-year-old author.

James Joyce
Naipaul criticised James Joyce in a previous interview
The author slates Dickens for his "repetitiveness" and cites the experience of reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey as a revelatory one.

"I thought halfway through the book, 'Here am I, a grown man reading about this terrible vapid woman and her so-called love life.'

"I said to myself, 'What am I doing with this material? This is for somebody else, really."

But the author is more complimentary towards HG Wells, Mark Twain and his friend Harold Pinter.

It is not the first time the Literary Review has provided a platform for the author's strong opinions.

In 2001, he accused EM Forster of being a sexual predator and described Irish author James Joyce as incomprehensible.

Born in Trinidad in 1932, Naipaul came to England on a scholarship in 1950 and spent four years at University College, Oxford.

Despite the controversy surrounding his work, he is one of the most successful of the generation of writers who left the Caribbean in the 1950s.

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22 Feb 02 |  Entertainment
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11 Oct 01 |  Entertainment
VS Naipaul attacks Forster
02 Aug 01 |  Entertainment
Row brews over Joyce literary pub
15 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland

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