Patrick French was born in England in 1966, and studied literature at Edinburgh University. He is the author of Younghusband, Liberty or Death and Tibet Tibet and is winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award.
The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul (Picador)
Patrick French has been granted unique access to V.S. Naipaul's private papers and his personal recollections. With respect for Naipaul's formidable body of work, he has produced a luminous account of one of the most compelling literary figures of the last fifty years. Beginning in Trinidad, where V.S. Naipaul was born into an Indian family, French examines early privations, Naipaul's first recollections, his life within a displaced community, and his talent and fierce ambition at school, which won him a scholarship to Oxford at the age of seventeen. He describes how, once in England, homesickness and depression struck with great force, and the ways in which Naipaul's first wife helped him to cope with his ‘double exile’.
They were to stay, tenuously, together for over four decades, even after Naipaul embarked on an intense, 25 year affair that was to inspire a second wave of work. Naipaul's extraordinary gift - producing, masterpieces of both fiction and non-fiction - is born of a forceful, visionary impulse, whose roots Patrick French traces with a sympathetic brilliance and devastating insight that does full justice to this enigmatic genius.