Home SOCIETY GIST COMMUNITY GIST NEWS FLASH: TANZANIA’S ABDULRAZAK GURNAH GETS 2021 NOBEL LITERATURE AWARD

NEWS FLASH: TANZANIA’S ABDULRAZAK GURNAH GETS 2021 NOBEL LITERATURE AWARD

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By Aishat Momoh. O.

Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Tanzanian-born novelist whose work deals with colonialism and refugee life, was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday, according to the Swedish Academy.

Gurnah was honored “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents,” according to the Swedish Academy. Gurnah grew up on the island of Zanzibar but came to England as a refugee at the end of the 1960s.

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Gurnah is the author of ten novels and a collection of short stories.

He is best known for his 1994 novel “Paradise,” which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and is set in colonial East Africa during World War I.

Throughout his work, the idea of the refugee’s disturbance recurs.

Gurnah, who was born in 1948, began writing at the age of 21 in England.

Despite the fact that Swahili was his native tongue, English became his literary weapon.

A medal and an award of 10 million Swedish kronor (about 980,000 euros, $1.1 million) accompany the Nobel Prize.

Last year’s winner was Louise Gluck, a poet from the United States.

Nobel watchers speculated ahead of Thursday’s announcement that the Swedish Academy may award the prize to a writer from Asia or Africa, following a vow to make the prize more diverse.

In its 120-year history, it has mostly crowned Westerners.

Since the first Nobel Prize in Literature was granted in 1901, 95 of the 118 laureates have been Europeans or North Americans, accounting for more than 80% of the total.

Gurnah would have received the Nobel Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of physicist Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896, who established the rewards in his last will and testament.

However, because to the pandemic, the in-person celebration has been canceled for the second year in a row and replaced by a televised ceremony in which the laureates receive their prizes in their home countries.

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