The novelist V S Naipaul has damned the achievements of his literary contemporaries by declaring that there are "no more great writers".
Naipaul, 75, who won the Booker in 1971 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, is said to have called this year's Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival "unimportant and meaningless".
He made his outspoken comments while at a launch of a new magazine at the Wallace Collection, in London. "Publishing has gone down in quality so much in recent years and the problem is that there is no literary life any more because there are quite simply no more great writers," he said.
He added that he had also noticed the people who go to Hay were "incredibly ugly". A spokeswoman from the festival said that Naipaul had not made an appearance at Hay in any official capacity.