'Women Writers Are Different, I Can Tell, They Are Unequal to Me'

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Parsons

AS A Nobel Prize-winning author, VS Naipaul's writing about British colonialism has often sparked fury.

But the 78-year-old raised hackles last night when he dismissed all women writers as "unequal" to him and criticised their "sentimentality". The Trinidad-born writer said: "Women writers are different, they are quite different.

"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." Asked to elaborate, he said this was due to their "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world". He added: "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too.

"My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold it was all this feminine tosh. I don't mean this in any unkind way."

Speaking to Evening Standard editor Geordie Greig, Naipaul was asked if he considered any women writers his equal. He replied: "I don't think so."

The former Booker Prize winner -- who has been described as "the greatest living writer of English prose" -- has ruffled many feathers since he came to England aged 18 to study at Oxford University.

However, he appears to enjoy the controversy. …