Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul wrote more than 30 books and won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2001.
Born in Trinidad, the son of an Indian civil servant, he studied English literature at Oxford University before basing his life in England.
But he spent much of his time travelling and became a symbol of modern rootlessness.
Awarding him the Nobel, the Swedish Academy said he was a "literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice".
Many of his works examined the traumas of post-colonial change.
One of his major novels was the semi-autobiographical "A House for Mr Biswas", which looked at the almost impossible task for Indian immigrants in the Caribbean of trying to integrate into society while keeping hold of their roots.
He was one of the first winners of the Booker Prize, now Britain's leading literary award, in 1971 for "In A Free State." Naipaul was also outspoken throughout his career, likening former British prime minister Tony Blair to a pirate at the head of a socialist revolution.
He was also disparaging about female novelists, described post-colonial countries as "half-made societies" and argued that Islam both enslaved and attempted to wipe out other cultures.