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Shiva Naipaul

Shiva Naipaul (; 25 February 1945 – 13 August 1985), born Shivadhar Srinivasa Naipaul in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, was a Trinidadian and British novelist and journalist.


Shiva Naipaul was the younger brother of novelist V. S. Naipaul. He went first to Queen's Royal College and St Mary's College in Trinidad, then emigrated to Britain, having won a scholarship to study Chinese at University College, Oxford. At Oxford, he met and later married Jenny Stuart, with whom he had a son, Tarun.

With Jenny's support, Shiva Naipaul wrote his first novel, Fireflies (1970), which won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize from the Royal Society of Literature for best regional novel. It was followed by The Chip-Chip Gatherers (1973). He then decided to concentrate on journalism, and wrote two non-fiction works, North of South (1978) and Black & White (1980), before returning to the novel form in the 1980s with A Hot Country (1983), a departure from his two earlier comic novels set in Trinidad, as well as a collection of fiction and non-fiction, Beyond the Dragon's Mouth: Stories and Pieces (1984).

On the morning of 13 August 1985, at the age of 40, Naipaul had a fatal heart attack while working at his desk.

Legacy and posthumous reputation

The Spectator magazine, for which his wife Jenny had worked as a secretary, and which had published many of his articles, established the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize.

In Paul Theroux's Sir Vidia's Shadow, a memoir of Shiva's elder brother, V. S. Naipaul, Theroux described Shiva as a "sot", shrunken by the towering figure of his successful brother, with a penchant for drunken partying and a need to have his meals made for him. Theroux also took issue with Naipaul's skills as a writer, particularly as a travel writer.

Sir Vidia's Shadow has come under attack for what are described as inaccuracies, and the novelist Martin Amis wrote that "Shiva Naipaul was one of those people who caused your heart to lift when he entered the room ... in losing him, we have lost thirty years of untranscribed, unvarnished genius".

An Arena documentary on his brother V. S. Naipaul reproduced footage of Shiva from an earlier documentary from the early 1980s, in which Shiva returned to Trinidad to see his mother.



  • Fireflies (1970)
  • The Chip-Chip Gatherers (1973)
  • A Hot Country (1983), published in the U.S. as Love and Death in a Hot Country


  • North of South (1978)
  • Black & White (1980), published in the U.S. as Journey to Nowhere
  • An Unfinished Journey (1986).


  • Beyond the Dragon's Mouth: Stories and Pieces (1984)
  • A Man of Mystery and Other Stories (1995), a selection of stories taken from Beyond the Dragon's Mouth.

See also

  • Capildeo family


External links

  • Bibliography at

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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