VS Naipaul dropped from Bali festival ‘over large fee’

May 23, 2016
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Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul has been dropped by an international literary festival in Bali after the event refused to meet his “11th-hour request” for a $20,000 fee to appear, its organisers said Wednesday.

The Trinidad-born British writer had been one of the biggest names booked for this year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), scheduled for the start of next month on the Indonesian resort island.

However the event’s founder and director, Janet DeNeefe, said they had decided to cancel his appearance after he asked for the fee.

“After having committed to the festival months ago, Sir V.S. Naipaul made an 11th-hour request for a $20,000 appearance fee that would have jeopardized the longevity of the UWRF and all of those involved,” she said in a statement sent to AFP.

“As a not-for-profit festival, we rely on the goodwill and generosity of our sponsors, partners and the authors and artists who so graciously donate their time and resources to make the UWRF such a magical event,” added the Australian, who has lived in Bali for almost 30 years.

The organizers said the $130 tickets to the “Evening with V.S. Naipaul” would be refunded in full. He had also been due to feature in a one-hour “In Conversation” session.

Naipaul’s agent Andrew Wylie could not immediately be contacted but in comments to the Guardian newspaper disputed the account, saying the withdrawal was due to a conflict in the author’s schedule and not fees.

Naipaul, who won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2001 and whose works include “A House for Mr Biswas” and “A Bend in the River”, will be replaced by British novelist Zia Haider Rahman, who is of Bangladeshi origin, said festival organizers.

The festival runs from October 1 to 5 and involves some 150 writers from 25 countries.

Story: AFP

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