London: Indian-origin author VS Naipaul has dismissed female authors as "unequal" to him and said women writers demonstrate a lack of ability.
"Women writers are different, they are quite different. I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think unequal to me," the 78-year-old Trinidad-born author told a daily.
The Booker Prize-winning author said this was due to women`s "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world".
"And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too."
"My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh," Naipaul said.
He, however, added: "I don`t mean this in any unkind way."
On being asked if he considered any woman writer his equal, Naipaul replied: "I don`t think so."
Naipaul`s comments have been not well received by the literary circles.
Alex Clark, a literary journalist, said: "It`s absurd. I suspect VS Naipaul thinks that there isn`t anyone who is his equal. Is he really saying that writers such as Hilary Mantel, A.S Byatt, Iris Murdoch are sentimental or write feminine tosh?"
Helen Brown, literary critic for the Daily Telegraph, said: "It certainly would be difficult to find a woman writer whose ego was equal to that of Naipaul. I`m sure his arrogant, attention-seeking views make many male writers cringe too. He should heed the words of George Eliot - a female writer - whose works have had a far more profound impact on world culture than his."
Naipaul won the Booker Prize in 1971 for `In a Free State`. He was knighted in 1989. He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.