The 10 Grumpiest Living Writers

V.S. Naipaul

Naipaul always seems to be stirring up trouble with the kind of statements that make you want to roll your eyes and say “oh, Grandpa” — or they would, if they weren’t coming from an accomplished and influential author in a high-profile public forum. Maybe that’s why Paul Theroux wrote an entire book about how unpleasant he is. In a 2011 interview at the Royal Geographic Society, Naipaul made waves when he declared that he didn’t consider any female writer his equal — not even Jane Austen, as he “couldn’t possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world.” He added, “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”