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Abdulrazak Gurnah wins 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature

Born in the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar in 1948, Gurnah reached the UK as a refugee at the end of the 1960s

Thursday October 7, 2021 5:39 PM, IANS

Abdulrazak Gurnah

London: Tanzania-born UK-based post-colonialist novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose oeuvre mainly deals with the physical and mental disruptions faced by refugees, was on Thursday conferred the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2021.

Announcing the award - the first to a non-European writer since Japan-born Kazuo Ishiguro in 2017 - the Swedish Academy cited his "uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents".

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Anders Olsson, Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature, called Abdulrazak Gurnah “one of the world’s most prominent post-colonial writers.”

"Abdulrazak Gurnah bio"

Born in the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar in 1948, Gurnah reached the UK as a refugee at the end of the 1960s.


After his PhD in 1982, he began his academic career with teaching at a Nigerian university and is currently a Professor and Director of Graduate studies at the UK's University of Kent.

The focus of Gurnah has been on postcolonial writing and in colonial discourse, with focus on Africa, the Caribbean and India.

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Beginning with "Memory of Departure" (1987), his 10 novels include the Booker and Whitbread-nominated "Paradise" (1994), with the most recent being "Afterlives" (2020).

Gurnah also has a collection of short-stories titled "My Mother Lived on a Farm in Africa" (2006) to his credit.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

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