Literary feuding

So by now everyone should have heard that V S Naipaul and Paul Theroux have made up; if only for a handshake. This occurred at the Hay festival when Theroux spotted Naipaul and wondering what to do asked Ian McEwan his thoughts. McEwan told him to say hello. They shook hands.

The back-story is this. Naipaul accused Theroux of seducing his first wife. Naipaul retaliated by auctioning a gift from Theroux. Theroux hit back with a book, Sir Vidia’s Shadow, which was less than flattering to Naipaul. Fast forward to 2011 and apparently Naipaul and Theroux have made up if only for a moment.

Naipaul’s feud with Walcott; however, has had no similar prompts at reconciliation. I had the (dare i say) pleasure of listening to Walcott read The Mongoose  which begins “I have been bitten, I must avoid infection/ Or else I’ll be as dead as Naipaul’s fiction.” at the 2008 Calabash Literary Festival to a full house. There was no room under the tent when I arrived and I listened sitting in a little shade on the outskirts.

Perhaps if I had someone to feud with I would be writing more. Anger is a tremendous asset if you know how to use it. Letting it use you; however, is an entirely different matter and it is easy to become its slave. I have used it before when the creative juices were flowing and the anger brought with it a lot of clarity and words that ran well together.


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