Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazark Gurna wins the 2021 Nobel Prize in literature

In 1994, his novel ‘Paradise’ won the Booker Prize which paved the way for him to be recognized as an outstanding novelist. The book, Paradise was set in the 20th century which revolved around a boy who grew up in Tanzania. In his career so far, he has written 10 novels and noteworthy is the fact that he never ceases to focus on refugee experience. The nature of his work is focused on combat

The famous Nobel prize for literature 2021 has been awarded to the Zanzibar-born Abdulrazark Gurnah. According to Prize committee, the Tanzanian has been recognized for his “uncompromising issues around displacement, asylum and migration

Gurnah was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania in 1948. He later moved to England and writes in the English language. He is currently based in the United Kingdom but he is still connected to his African roots which and always portrays the continent in his novels.

In the words of the Nobel committee for Literature, ‘Gurnah’s dedication to the truth and his aversion to simplification are striking. This makes him bleak and uncompromising, at the same time as he follows the fates of individuals with great compassion and unbending commitment.’

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The 72-year-old Gurnah has retired from active service. Before retirement, he was a Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent in England.

The committee in their official statement said, “His characters find themselves in a hiatus between cultures and continents, between a life that was and a life emerging; it is an insecure state that can never be resolved.” 

Chair of the Nobel literature committee, Anders Olsson in a statement after the announcement on Thursday, told reporters that “I don’t think the acute situation right now in Europe and around the Mediterranean has affected this prize because the phenomenon of exile and migration has been there for many years…But it is quite clear that his writings are extremely interesting and powerful right now in Europe and around the world.”

Gurnah will now join five African writers who have been awarded the prize namely Wole Soyinka (1986), Naguib Mahfouz (1988), Nadine Gordimer (1991), J.M. Coetzee (2003) and Doris Lessing (2007).

Previous non-African writers of the award include Toni Morrison, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Harold Pinter, John Steinbeck and Kazon Ishiguro

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