Former publisher rubbished by Naipaul for writing 'feminine tosh' says she is not taking his criticism seriously
"It seems very odd. He doesn't realise what a monkey he's making of himself," said the author, 93, who won the Costa biography prize for her memoir of old age, Somewhere Towards The End, and who was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to literature.
"I was a 'sensitive editor' because I liked his work, I was admiring it. When I stopped admiring him so much I started being 'feminine tosh'," she said this morning. "I can't say it made me feel very bad. It just made me laugh ... I think one should just ignore it, take no notice really."
Naipaul has "always been a testy man and seems to have got testier in old age", said Athill. "I don't think it is worth being taken seriously ... It's sad really because he's a very good writer. Why be such an irritable man?"