Nobel Prize 2021: Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah wins literature award

Nobel prize 2021 winner Gurnah thought 'it was a prank' when he was informed by the Academy

Nobel Prize 2021: Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah wins literature award Nobel Prize 2021 goes to Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah
Tamanna Tamang | Oct 7, 2021 - 7:36 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2021 was awarded to Tanzanian Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”. The announcement was made by Swedish Academy on Thursday, October 7.

Gurnah who grew up on the island of Zanzibar arrived in England as a refugee in the end of the 1960’s, and his work explores the theme of the refugees' disruption and has published ten novels and a number of short stories.

While speaking to the Academy, the nobel laureate said,'' I was watching the announcement on my computer. When Mats Malm, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, called Gurnah to inform, he assumed it to be a prank. “He rang, the secretary, and I thought it was a prank”, said Gurnah. “I was just thinking, ‘I wonder who’ll get it, I thought it was a prank, I really did," he added.

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The Nobel Prize laureate started writing at 21 in exile in England, and though his first language is Swahili, Gurnah has been using English in his literary works. Gurnah’s fourth novel Paradise gave him a breakthrough as a writer. The book followed after his research trip to East Africa around 1990.

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“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," tweeted the official page of Nobel Prize.

Gurnah worked as professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has published ten novels and a number of short stories.

The Nobel prize for Literature 2020 was bagged by American poet Louise Glück.

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The prestigious nobel prize for literature award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over USD 1.14 million). The prize money comes from the legacy left by the creator of the prize, Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895. The academy has so far awarded 114 Nobel Prizes in Literature since its inception in 1901.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch. The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded Tuesday to three scientists whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change. Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel Prize for chemistry Wednesday for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides. The prizes in the fields of peace and economics are scheduled to be announced.

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