Free man

by Nicholas Laughlin on August 16, 2010

V.S. Naipaul being interviewed on BBC TV, 1994

V.S. Naipaul on BBC TV, 1994

“I’ve always been a writer. I’ve thought about it every day. There’s not been a day or part of a day when I’ve not thought about it . . . It has enabled me to be a free man . . . I’ve not written anything that I didn’t want to write.”

— V.S. Naipaul, interviewed by Jeremy Isaacs for the BBC TV programme Face to Face in May 1994. The BBC has just added a series of forty radio and TV interviews with “British” writers to their online archive, at a special page called “In Their Own Words”. The earliest, from 1937, is with Virginia Woolf; the most recent, from last year, with A.S. Byatt. The only other semi-Caribbean writer in the lot is Zadie Smith.

(By coincidence, it’s Naipaul’s birthday tomorrow.)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan August 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

No doubt he really wanted to write all that copy he churned out for the Cement & Concrete Association.

Nicholas Laughlin August 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

“I’ve not been humiliated by employment, in my own eyes.” Most writers eventually engage in at least some light rescripting of their personal narratives. To emphasise the essential truths, of course.

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