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Naipaul Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature - 2001-10-11

The Trinidad-born British author V.S. Naipaul has been awarded this year's Nobel prize in literature. The Nobel academy singled out Mr. Naipaul's autobiographical novel, "The Enigma of Arrival" for special praise.

V.S. Naipaul has been listed among the top candidates for the Nobel literature prize every year for more than a decade. This year, Swedish Nobel Assembly Secretary Hans Jornvall announced Mr. Naipaul's triumph.

Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932 to a family of Hindu immigrants from northern India. His grandfather worked in a sugar cane plantation. But he moved to England at the age of 18, earned a degree from Oxford University, and decided to stay.

Early on, he was a journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation, but gave it up to devote full time to writing novels, essays and other works of non-fiction.

His highly acclaimed works include the 1961 classic, "A House for Mr. Biswas". The Nobel academy describes it as "one of those singular novels that seem to constitute their own universes, in this case a miniature India on the edge of the British empire."

But the judges reserved their highest praise for his 1987 masterpiece, "The Enigma of Arrival", which they say "visits the reality of England like an anthropologist studying some previously undiscovered tribe deep in the jungle."

Mr. Naipaul has received many other honors, including the 1971 Booker Prize and the T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing in 1986. In 1990, he was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

The Nobel Prize carries with it a cash award of nearly one million dollars, which Mr. Naipaul will receive in Stockholm December 10. He will be accompanied by the winners of this year's Nobel prizes in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economics, which were announced earlier in the week.

The Nobel announcements conclude Friday when the winner of this year's Nobel Peace prize is named.