Arts & Entertainment

Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah wins Nobel prize in literature

Copenhagen, Oct 7 (EFE).- Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his moving depiction of the effects of colonialism, the Swedish Academy reported Thursday.

The author 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.”

Born in 1948 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Gurnah now lives in the United Kingdom and is the first African to win the award in over two decades.

Although Swahili is his native language, he started writing aged 21 in English after arriving in the UK as a refugee in the 1960s.

“In Gurnah’s literary universe, everything is shifting – memories, names, identities. An unending exploration driven by intellectual passion is present in all his books, and equally prominent now in ‘Afterlives’ (2020), as when he began writing as a 21-year-old refugee,” the Academy said.

Gurnah’s catalog of ten books includes ‘Desertion’, published in 2005, which tells the passionate love story between an Englishman and an East African nurse. The novel weaves an elaborate story about the political consequences of colonialism and the complexities of forbidden love.

The author’s breakthrough as a writer came in 1994 with his fourth novel ‘Paradise’, which the Academy described as “a coming of age account and a sad love story in which different worlds and belief systems collide.”

“Abdulrazak Gurnah’s dedication to truth and his aversion to simplification are striking. His novels recoil from stereotypical descriptions and open our gaze to a culturally diversified East Africa unfamiliar to many in other parts of the world,” the Academy said. EFE


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