Abdulrazak Gurnah wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature - GulfToday

Abdulrazak Gurnah wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature


Abdulrazak Gurnah

Gulf Today Report

Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "uncompromising and passionate" portrayals of the effects of colonialism, the award-giving body said on Thursday.

Abdulrazak receives the prize for his novel ‘Paradise’ (1994), his breakthrough as a writer, about the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees.

His novel evolved from a research trip to East Africa around 1990. It is a coming of age account and a sad love story in which different worlds and belief systems collide.


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Abdulrazak was born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar but arrived in England as a refugee at the end of the 1960s.

A national library employee shows the gold Nobel Prize medal. File/AP

The prize is awarded by the Swedish Academy and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million). ($1 = 8.7856 Swedish crowns)

The prizes, for achievements in science, literature and peace, were created through a bequest in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and wealthy businessman Alfred Nobel. They have been awarded since 1901, with the final prize in the line-up - economics — a later addition.

Past winners have primarily been novelists such as Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison, poets such as Pablo Neruda, Joseph Brodsky and Rabindranath Tagore, or playwrights such as Harold Pinter and Eugene O'Neill.

But writers have also won for bodies of work that include short fiction, history, essays, biography or journalism. Winston Churchill won for his memoirs, Bertrand Russell for his philosophy and Bob Dylan for his lyrics. Last year's award was won by American poet Louise Gluck.

Beyond the prize money and prestige, the Nobel literature award generates a vast amount of attention for the winning author, often spurring book sales and introducing less well-known winners to a broader international public.


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