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 a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

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

Teju Cole Joins Harvard’s Department of English as Gore Vidal Professor of Creative Writing

teju cole sydney morning herald

Teju Cole has joined Harvard University’s Department of English as the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing. […]

Always Another Country | Sisonke Msimang’s North America Book Tour

sisonke msimang

Last October, Sisonke Msimang’s debut memoir Always Another Country was published by Jonathan Ball Publishers in South Africa. The account of […]

Chimamanda Adichie Adds Her Voice to Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis

anglophone crisis - image from actu cameroun

Chimamanda Adichie has added her voice to Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis, following efforts by Cameroonian novelists Imbolo Mbue and Patrice Nganang. […]

Deji Olukotun’s Novels, Nigerians In Space and After The Flare, Optioned by Major Film Company

Image from ASU Events.

Deji Olukotun’s novels Nigerians in Space and After the Flare have been optioned by major film company. The crime novelist shared this […]

Petina Gappah Is Working on a Rhodesia Trilogy Comprising a Comedy, a Tragedy, and an Epic

petina gappah

Petina Gappah is working on a series, what she calls the Rhodesia Trilogy. The Zimbabwean writer and novelist, whose short […]

Nnedi Okorafor Announces New Project Due in December, Set in the Universe of Binti and Lagoon

Nnedi okorafor - la guardia

Fresh from her trending appearance at the Emmys with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martins, Nnedi Okorafor has announced […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.