Gurnah becomes East African first Nobel Literature Prize winner

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2021 has been awarded to Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, it was announced on Thursday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

According to the academy, Gurnah was awarded the prize for “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

With this award, he became the fourth African to win the Nobel Literature Prize and the fifth on the continent to win the prize.

The prize is awarded by the Swedish Academy and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million).

Born in Zanzibar in 1948, Gurnah arrived in England as a refugee in the late 1960s.

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He is the author of 10 novels and several short stories. From 1980 to 1982, Gurnah lectured at the Bayero University Kano in Nigeria.

His main academic interest is in postcolonial writing and in discourses associated with colonialism, especially as they relate to Africa, the Caribbean and India.

He is currently based in England and was professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, Canterbury, until his recent retirement.

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