AN AUTHOR renowned for writing about Islam yesterday became the first Briton in almost 20 years to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
V S Naipaul's books were singled out by the panel for their 'incorruptible scrutiny'.
The judges praised the Trinidadborn writer's criticism of Moslem fundamentalism in non-Arab countries like Indonesia and Pakistan.
Naipaul, 69, said the award was a tribute to England and India, both of which had shaped his work.
The author, who lives in London, made his name writing about the cultural chaos of the postcolonial world.
The Swedish Academy singled out his 1987 masterpiece The Enigma of Arrival, saying that in the book, Naipaul had created an 'unrelenting image of the placid collapse of the old colonial ruling culture and the demise of European neighbourhoods'.
Others among his 12 published novels include A House for Mr Biswas and A Bend in the River. He also writes short stories.
Naipaul, who left Trinidad at the age of 18, is the first Briton to win the prize since William Golding in 1983. Previous British winners include Winston Churchill, who took the prize in 1953, Bertrand Russell, who won it in 1950 and T S Eliot, who won in 1948.
The prize, first awarded to French poet Rene Sully Prudhomme in 1901, is worth approximately [pound]660,000.
In the citation for the prize, the judges said: 'His authority as a narrator is grounded in his memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished. …