Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah



Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday.

Gurnah was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar but arrived in the UK as a refugee in the 1960s and lives there today.

His work focuses on the experience and identity of refugees.

The Swedish Academy, which chose the laureates, said it chose Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the plight of refugees in the chasm between cultures and continents”.

Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tanzanian Nobel Laureate in Literature, pictured in Modena, Italy on April 6, 2006.Leonardo Cendamo File / Getty Images

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It comes after a few difficult years for the prestigious award, which was awarded to American poet Louise Glück last year – a more popular choice after a string of controversies.

The award was postponed to 2018 after allegations of sexual abuse rocked the Swedish Academy.

There were protests in 2019 after he was handed over to Austrian writer Peter Handke due to his strong support for Serbs during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

In 2016, the academy broke with tradition and presented the award to Bob Dylan, the first musician to win the award.

In addition to international recognition, Gurnah will receive a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $ 1.14 million). The money comes from the estate of the prize’s founder, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

Until his recent retirement, Gurnah was Professor of English and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Kent, UK. In 1994, his novel “Paradise” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

The German Benjamin List and the Scottish David WC MacMillan won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday.

And on Tuesday, the Japanese-American Syukuro Manabe, the German Klaus Hasselmann and the Italian Giorgio Parisi won the Nobel Prize in physics.

On Monday, American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Alexandre smith contributed.


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