"Letters Between Father and Son" published in 1999, document the period between the years 1949 to 1957, written by V.S. Naipaul while he was a student at Oxford University in England to his father, a journalist in Trinidad.
Naipaul(Vidia) is trying to get established as a writer while studying and broadcasing programs for the BBC. At the same time, he is encouraging his father, Seepersad, a frustrated author, to publish his own short stories.
V.S. Naipaul's letters contain a blueprint for writing. On July 30, 1951, he exhorts his father in capital letters," FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, START WRITING. YOU CAN WRITE AND YOU KNOW IT. ONCE YOU START WRITING, YOU WILL FIND IDEAS FLOODING UPON YOU...lOOK BACK ON YOUR LIFE FROM CHILDHOOD UPWARDS. REMEMBEER A SINGLE MAN OR INCIDENT THAT IMPRESSED ITSELF UPON YOU AND A STORY WILL GROW."
He continues,"WRITE A STORY AS STRAIGHT OFF AS POSSIBLE IN ONE OR TWO DAYS."
He adds,"FINISH THE STORY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. PUT THE ROUGH STORIES AWAY. TAKE THEM UP ABOUT A FORTNIGHT LATER AND THEN REVISE THEM. WRITE ONE SHORT STORY A WEEK. WRITE. STYLE AND FORM AND CHARACTER WILL GADUALLY TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. PLEASE WRITE. THE ESSENTIAL THING ABOUT WRITING IS WRITING."
Sadly, the father suffers a heart attack and is too ill to follow this advice. But these words, preserved in a letter, are the guidelines that Naipaul adheres to during his writing life.
This report prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson