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Paul Theroux and V. S. Naipaul reconcile at Hay Festival

31st May 2011

A handshake ended one of literature's greatest feuds over the weekend, when V. S. Naipaul and his former protege Paul Theroux finally settled their differences.

The writers both attended Hay Festival in the Brecon Beacons and were scheduled to appear on the bill just a day apart, despite a continuing 15-year feud between them that started over a signed book Naipaul had given to Theroux but the latter had auctioned.

In the intervening years, Naipaul had downplayed the relationship between the two, branding Theroux's work 'tourist books for the classes', while Theroux had condemned Naipaul's behaviour in his memoir Sir Vidia's Shadow.

However, spurred on by fellow writer Ian McEwan, the pair finally shook hands at the festival, with both reflecting on the moment fondly later in the day.

'After so many years, we've finally spoken. I've had an experience today with a capital E,' Theroux commented.

'It was very nice to see him and I'm pleased things have worked out the way they have,' Naipaul added.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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