Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

E.C. Osondu image from Afridiaspora. V.S. Naipaul image from Irish Examiner.

Following V.S. Naipaul’s passing, Nigerian writer and Caine Prize 2009 winner E.C. Osondu has paid him tribute on Facebook. Osondu made a post titled “On VS Naipaul,” in which he reveals he was invited to a party to meet the man but eventually did not attend it. Osondu is the author of the short story collection Voice of America and the novel This House Is Not for Sale.

Read his post here.

_________________________________________________________________

On VS Naipaul

1. I was once invited to a party in New York City by one of the richest people in the world.

2. The party was in honor of VS Naipaul who had just published a new book—The Masque of Africa.

3. The person in question was so rich that they had the kind of name you saw on buildings and credit cards but it somehow did not seem possible that they could be real people. 

4. They got my name from my agent—the Wylie Agency—and they invited me along with couple of other African writers—one of whom would later publish an essay about the party in The New Yorker.

5. I did not attend the party.

6. Not because I did not want to meet Naipaul.

7. I admire his work especially his non-fiction and I think he is one of the clearest and most lucid essayists after William Hazlitt.

8. The only reason why I did not attend the party was because I had not read the new Naipaul book. I sensed that if I tried to carry on a conversation with him about the book he would see right through me. As I could tell from his books he had a knack for seeing through bullshit.

9. I later read the book and quite enjoyed the chapter on Lagos. I was puzzled that he could not find anyone to explain to him the origin of of the Eyo masquerade.

10. I first encountered Naipaul in an undergraduate course I took at the university of Calabar on Caribbean Literature. He along with Selvon, Mais, Lamming, Mittelholzer, Anthony, etc.

11. The university library had all the novels by Naipaul and many other Caribbean writers.

12. I suspect that many people who comment on Naipaul are not very familiar with his work. He once said that he was the kind of writer who people think other people are reading.

13. His one obsession was writing.That for me is kind of hard.

14. It is often better not to meet writers who one admires, in person, one might be disappointed. The writer is more often than not very different from the writing.

15.Perhaps it is just as well that I missed that party.

16. I have his books.

17. If I had to pick a favorite I’d find it difficult but I think the early novels and the books of travel would be my choice.

18. CLR James once described VS Naipaul’s tendency to provoke using a certain Caribbean word that begins with the letter “P.” I forget what the word is.

19. Before writing this note I went searching for the email from that very rich person inviting me to the Naipaul party in New York but I couldn’t find it.

20. Good night VS Naipaul. 

Tags: ,

Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Every Poem Needs Time to Breathe and Become | Interview with Echezonachukwu Nduka

Echezonachukwu Nduka (6)

  Echezonachukwu Nduka is a Nigerian poet, classical pianist, and musicologist. His poems have appeared in several publications including Saraba, […]

Writing and the Burden of Public Grief: In Conversation with Hawa Jande Golakai, Winner of the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction

hawa jande golakai - authors in africa - graph

Hawa Jande Golakai was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and spent her childhood in her homeland of Liberia, later living in […]

How to Be a Nigerian Writer: Excerpt from Elnathan John’s Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide 

elnathan becoming nigerian graph

On February 6, Cassava Republic Press published Elnathan John’s Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide in Nigeria. Portraying “the different Nigerians you are likely […]

Catalyst Press Books Gears Up for North America Releases of Peter Church’s Crackerjack and Yewande Omotoso’s Bom Boy 

yewande omotoso bom boy - catalyst press

On February 26, US-based publisher Catalyst Press Books will be releasing North America editions of the South African novelist Peter […]

PHOTOS | The Asmara Addis Literary Festival in Exile: a Pan-African Event for Feminism, Free Love, and Radical Ideas

Asmara Addis Literray Festival in Exile (18)

The inaugural Asmara Addis Literary Festival in Exile was held from 8–10 February 2019, in Brussels, Belgium. Founded by Eritrean-Ethiopian novelist […]

Fever | Sarah Lubala | Poetry

Fire 1200 x 630

  In a Bali hotel room I shed electricity some quirk of the medication tends and stokes kindles against me […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.