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Tanzania’s Abdulrazak Gurnah wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2021

Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

Abdulrazak received the prize for his fourth novel ‘Paradise’ (1994), his breakthrough as a writer.

The 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.

The prize is awarded by the award-giving academy is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million).

Abdulrazak Gurnah has published ten novels and a number of short stories. The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout his work. He began writing as a 21-year-old in English exile, and although Swahili was his first language, English became his literary tool.

He was born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar but arrived in England as a refugee at the end of the 1960’s. Until his recent retirement he was Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

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