Tanzanian novelist bags 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature

AFP News Agency

07th Oct, 2021. 04:13 pm

STOCKHOLM: Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah on Thursday won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work highlighting colonialism.

The author, who writes in English and is based in the United Kingdom, was awarded “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents,” the Nobel jury stated.

Gurnah was born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean but arrived in England as a refugee in the end of the 1960’s. He has published 10 novels and a number of short stories, according to the Swedish academy.

Gurnah is best known for his 1994 novel ‘Paradise,’ set in colonial East Africa during the First World War, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout his work.

Born in 1948, Gurnah began writing as a 21-year-old in England.

Although Swahili was his first language, English became his literary tool.

The Nobel Prize comes with a medal and a prize sum of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million).

Last year, the award went to US poet Louise Gluck.

Ahead of Thursday’s announcement, Nobel watchers had suggested the Swedish Academy could choose to give the nod to a writer from Asia or Africa, following a pledge to make the prize more diverse.

It had crowned mainly Westerners in its 120-year existence.

Of the 118 literature laureates since the first Nobel was awarded in 1901, 95 — or more than 80 percent — have been Europeans or North Americans.

Gurnah would have normally received the Nobel from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist Alfred Nobel who created the prizes in his last will and testament.

However, the in-person ceremony had been cancelled for the second straight year due to the coronavirus pandemic and replaced with a televised ceremony showing the laureates receiving their awards in their home countries.


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