Wed 11 December 2019
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Women writers round on Naipaul
Nobel laureate's remarks about 'inferiority' of female authors provoke furious responses from Keri Hulme and Francine Prose

VS Naipaul has been described as a "misogynist prick" and a "slug" by the Booker prize-winning New Zealand novelist Keri Hulme for his dismissal of female writers.

Earlier this month, in an event at the Royal Geographic Society, the Nobel laureate claimed that "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." He criticised women authors for their "sentimentality" and "narrow view of the world", going on to reject Jane Austen for her "sentimental ambitions" and Diana Athill for writing "feminine tosh".

But the reclusive Hulme, who won the Booker for her only novel to date, The Bone People, in 1985, was far from sentimental in her response, calling Naipaul "a misogynist prick whose works are dying". Writing on the New Zealand books site Beattie's Book Blog, she said that Naipaul "accurately foresaw their relevance three decades ago. 'They will not survive me.'"

"As he ages, his nasty behaviours – and judgments – become ever more wince-making. Many thousand women writers both outrank, and will out-survive, this slug," said Hulme.

For the full article

The Guardian
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