• By The Financial District

UK-Based Tanzanian Writer Wins Nobel Prize In Literature

The Tanzanian writer who moved to Britain as a refugee in the 1960s was honored for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism,” the New York Times reported.

Photo Insert: 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awardee, Abdulrazak Gurnah

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded on Thursday to 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."


Gurnah was born in Zanzibar, which is now part of Tanzania, in 1948, but he currently lives in Britain. He left Zanzibar at age 18 as a refugee after a violent 1964 uprising in which soldiers overthrew the country’s government.


He is the first African to win the award — considered the most prestigious in world literature — in almost two decades. He is the fifth overall, after Wole Soyinka of Nigeria in 1986, Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt, who won in 1988, and the South African winners Nadine Gordimer in 1991 and John Maxwell Coetzee in 2003.


Gurnah’s 10 novels include “Memory of Departure,” “Pilgrims Way” and “Dottie,” which all deal with the immigrant experience in Britain; “Paradise,” shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994, about a boy in an East African country scarred by colonialism; and “Admiring Silence,” about a young man who leaves Zanzibar for England, where he marries and becomes a teacher.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

Gurnah’s first language is Swahili, but he adopted English as his literary language, with his prose often inflected with traces of Swahili, Arabic, and German.



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