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VS Naipaul in South Africa?

VS Naipaul

A Bend in the RiverSir Vidia's ShadowAlert! Has anybody seen this man?

Yes, that’s Nobel Prize-winning author VS Naipaul – and the going rumour is that he’s in South Africa right now, doing research on a new book. On religion? Possibly on religion. We’ve heard that he’s doing a book on religion. But that’s pure speculation, reproduced here to give this post the semblance of substance.

Said book requires him to be in Johannesburg, among other southern African locales, and so even at this very moment his head might be bending over a text in the Johannesburg Library, for instance – or his footsteps might be echoing through the Hector Pieterson Memorial or the Apartheid Museum, or his hair might be flapping in the wind on the Gold Reef City Tower of Terror.

OK, perhaps not the last. But we have it on good authority from no fewer than three sources that the great author is most definitely in town, though it’s all hush-hush.

When VS Naipaul – who has a bit of a history with this continent – visits Africa, it’s big news, and BOOK SA is keen to bring you more on his trip. We’re thus shamelessly going to place a bounty on his head: anyone who can shed additional light on “Naipaul in South Africa 2009″ should write to naipaul@book.co.za with your tip; and anyone who can supply BOOK SA with a bona fide photograph of the author in Johannesburg that we can publish will receive a handsome sum (by SA Lit standards). Perhaps you should familiarise yourself with his many cunning guises – click here for a gallery of recent pics.

Can VS Naipaul be crowdsourced? Let’s find out. Welcome, Sir Vidia, to our beloved country!

Book details

Photo courtesy Amitava Kumar

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 9th, 2009 @17:05 #
     
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    *Newsflash* I almost met V.S. Naipul in Trinidad! Hmm, somehow don't think this will persuade Ben to award me the bounty. In fact, this is such annoyingly shameless near-miss name- and place-dropping, I might have to add a bottle to the prize...

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  • <a href="http://bentrovato.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ben Trovato</a>
    Ben Trovato
    July 9th, 2009 @18:02 #
     
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    When I track him down, I shall ask him to sign my copy of Paul Theroux's Sir Vidia's Shadow.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 9th, 2009 @18:20 #
     
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    From the picture above, it's clear that he gets his style from you, Ben, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Come to think of it, get two signed: then you can hawk a copy on ebay.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    July 9th, 2009 @18:38 #
     
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    Hmm!

    1. Who publishes him?
    2. Will he be attending the Writer's Lunch at the Radium tomorrow?
    3. If so, I will donate the bounty to the bill, or to the table - depending on the form of bounty.
    4. What happens if, at lunch at the Radium, someone at the Writer's Table (or lo! someone from the bar counter!) mistakes him and runs to kiss him and says, "I LOVED Midnight's Children. You totally deserve the Booker of Booker Bookers"?
    5. And he gets upset and leaves and we only get a shot of the back of his head? Do we still get the bounty?
    6. Will Ronald Suresh Roberts be there as well. I have heard he is a likable young man, and he should know a lot about being Trinidadian. He can also teach us some on how to be an African. I'm looking forward to that.
    7. Maybe the likable Mr Roberts will invite Mbeki. That will also be fun.
    8. And if Mbeki is keen, I am sure Nadine will pop in for a tipple to see her favourite biographer and fellow Nobel man, as well.
    9. I better inform Heat Magazine. They won't want to miss this.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 9th, 2009 @19:24 #
     
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    Once I finished shrieking in alarm and horror, I realised this was was the funniest thing I'd read in months. Kathryn, you have a warped mind second only to Ben T.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    July 9th, 2009 @19:38 #
     
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    *Warms up the Photoshop*

    I'll have a pic of V.S. with his arm around me and a fruity Carman Miranda hat on his head in no time. My prize can be cash or a cheque, thanks.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    July 9th, 2009 @19:39 #
     
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    Ha ha ha - I also saw the Rushdie thing going on, but, I, er, was too busy to mention it.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 9th, 2009 @20:47 #
     
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    Dunno, friends. Compare Rushdie -

    http://is.gd/1swcJ

    with Naipaul -

    http://is.gd/1swft

    Half-brothers at best!

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    July 9th, 2009 @20:58 #
     
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    They've both got the leonine facial hair thing going on.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 9th, 2009 @20:59 #
     
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    Fiona, I suggest you cut and paste yourself into the pic of V.S. with Paul Theroux. You will be doing humankind a favour by replacing those tartan trews with a likeness of your good self.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 9th, 2009 @21:05 #
     
  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    July 9th, 2009 @21:17 #
     
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    I wonder if my hair would also turn green if I inserted myself into that pic.

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  • ar
    ar
    July 9th, 2009 @23:05 #
     
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    Hey... what if VS Naipaul IS ACTUALLY Ben Trovato?!?

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    July 10th, 2009 @08:06 #
     
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    Get a grip, ar. Everyone knows that Ben T is really Nadine Gordimer.

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  • <a href="http://poetsprintery.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Amitabh</a>
    Amitabh
    July 10th, 2009 @08:20 #
     
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    He is revising his book 'A House for Mr. Biswas' at my home here. He doesnt like that 1970 book anymore.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    July 10th, 2009 @08:51 #
     
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    Well, I had lunch with Nadine Gordimer and you don't hear me boasting about it. She was very nice, and we chatted about books etc. My bookselling career also scored me a handshake with Nelson Mandela; a variety of autographed books from local and overseas writers; a signature from Lucinda ?, esrtwhile Isidingo actor who we fell in fan-love with at DBB's launch; a meeting (but no handshake) with Desmond Tutu; lunch with Zapiro and that young aussie guy who writes successful thrillers, and a variety of publishing bigwigs.

    I can't say it made me a better writer or a more loveable human. I'm not much into fan-worship, particularly of writers, who are just insecure folks like me trying to get off real work. As I said when I first started blogging here, I'd rather take <i>White Noise</i> to a desert island than Don DeLillo. So that's the last name-dropping you'll hear from me.

    My Book SA career has scored me lunches, drinks, work and friendships from a variety of hot n happening writer-and-reader-folk, which have been more meaningful.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    July 10th, 2009 @09:38 #
     
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    The old mongoose...

    Isn't Mr. Coovadia (I feel I have to be formal in Sir Vidia's presence) finishing his monograph on Naipaul? The two of them are probably sipping espressos in Gardens, although the weather does not look conducive to such literary activity.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 10th, 2009 @09:52 #
     
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    The first person I called on this was the aforesaid Mr Coovadia - but he had no idea his man was in town.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    July 10th, 2009 @10:41 #
     
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    It's Random House - i'm going to phone Frederik :)

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    July 10th, 2009 @10:56 #
     
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    Stephen Johnson will know. But will he tell?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 10th, 2009 @11:13 #
     
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    A clam, our Stephen...

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    July 10th, 2009 @11:43 #
     
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    Hahahha. Frederik being v funny via email, but alas he does not know.

    My sleuth skills are finished I'm afraid.

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  • <a href="http://imago.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sophy</a>
    Sophy
    July 10th, 2009 @12:09 #
     
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    Ah, Very Saucy Naipaul. I reckon this is an elaborate ruse to get us away from our laptops, out into the fresh air, and doing something akin to exercise. That is taking photographs. If Coovadia doesn't know, no-one does. Ben, who's your source?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    July 10th, 2009 @15:00 #
     
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    Meant to apologise to Louis for my shameless name-dropping. Don't mind me, Louis, I collect writers the way my folks collect birds, binocs in one hand, Roberts in the other. Think of it as biblio-twitching, a (mostly) harmless hobby started by accident when I landed up serving the drinks at a PEN dinner in London 20 years ago.

    And I also want to know Ben's source, but I reckon Mr Williams-Oswest is a clam of note (Never Reveal Sources).

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