The Naipaul House

Some points about The Naipaul House:

  
i. The House has literary associations

(a) Seepersad Naipaul (1906-1953) first journalist of Indian origin to work on what used to be called a ‘mainstream newspaper’, 1929- 1934 and 1938-1952/3; Seepersad is the author of a fine collection of stories Gurudeva and Other Indian Tales (1943).

(b) Vidia Naipaul lived in the house in the years just before he left for Oxford in 1950.

(c) Vidia’s brother Shiva, a distinguished novelist in his own right grew up in the house.

(d)Neil Bissoondath , son of Seepersad’s daughter is another writer associated with the house.

  
  
ii. The House is immortalized in A House for Mr Biswas  which is    based upon the life of Seeepersad Naipaul (the Mr Biswas of the novel), his struggle to preserve his individuality threatened by the extended family he was married into, and his determination to  make a place for his family, and to avoid dying like unaccommodated man.

  
iii. A House for Mr Biswas gives an intimate account of the relationship between Mr Biswas and his son Anand (V.S. Naipaul), and the shaping of V.S. Naipaul. (His father was his inspiration, a strong influence  and a  literary collaborator).

  
iv.The importance of the House has grown with the recent publication of Letters between Father and Son letters that passed to and from 26 Nepal Street mainly between V.S and Seepersad 1950-1953. The collection contains letters to Nepal Street from other members of the family.

  
v.The House is a social and cultural marker: It registers the emergence of the person of Indian origin as someone who is part of Trinidad’s national life. Mr Biswas emerges out of an Indian enclave.

  
 

By 2010, the house was completely renovated retaining the original shape and appearance. There are two apartments to  be rented to visiting scholars working on any aspect of Trinidad and Tobago culture. The ground floor is air-conditioned and a security system has been put in. 

  
On the ground floor the living room is being recreated exactly as it was when VSN lived there and a museum dedicated to the four writers mentioned above and there are plans to include other writing members of the family including the Capildeos – Dropatie Naipaul was a Capildeo

The Friends are now actively collecting memorabilia and documents for the Museum and recreating the garden as it was in the time of Seepersad Naipaul.  The interim Chairman of The Friends is Professor Ken Ramchand. 


Friends of Mr Biswas

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