The Dim-Post

February 13, 2015

Excerpt of the day

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 1:18 pm

I’m reading Sir Vidia’s Shadow, Paul Theroux’s book about his friendship(?) with V S Naipaul. It’s excellent. I think some of it is true. Here’s Naipaul as the writer in residence at a university in Uganda, giving critical feedback to students who showed him their work for appraisal:

“Really.” Vidia found the boy’s eyes and fixed them with his weary
stare. He said, “Don’t write any more poems. I really don’t think you
should. Your gifts lie in some other direction. A story, perhaps. Now,
promise me you won’t write any more poems.”
The boy shook his head and made the promise in a halting voice.
He went away bafiled and dejected.
“Did you see how relieved he was?” Vidia said. “He was glad I told
him that.”
Vidia rubbed his hands and disposed of other students in the same
fashion. I was surprised when he agreed to be the judge of a univer-
sity literary competition, but he carried out his duties his own way.
He insisted that there be only one prize, called Third Prize, because
the entries were so bad there could be no first and second prizes.
“Make it absolutely clear that this is Third Prize,” he told the
people in the English Department.


  1. Excellent. Using the same logic National only won Third Prize in the last election.

    Comment by PPCM — February 13, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  2. Apocryphal and attributed to several Elam painting tutors ( McCahon, Mrkusich, Ellis etc.) “use more turps, much more, so the canvas burns quickly”

    Comment by Neil Miller — February 13, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

  3. He wouldn’t be able to get away with that now. FTS rule. Roll up for our …. course in creative …., your future is assured.

    Comment by NeilM — February 13, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

  4. Loved the whole book – hope you did too. Naipaul put ut his own version and more hilarity ensues.

    Comment by Stephanie — February 14, 2015 @ 3:50 am

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