The Nobel Prize for Literature 2021 has been given to Mr. Abdulrazak Gurnah. He received the prize as said by the prize website “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” He is the first black man in 35 years to have received a Nobel in literature.
The Nobel Prize For Literature
The Nobel prize for literature was awarded 118 times. The Swedish Academy, Sweden and Stockholm distribute the award. The prizes are named after Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel had many cultural interests. Literature was the fourth prize Nobel has mentioned in his will.
Who Is Abdulrazak Gurnah (Winner of Nobel Prize For Literature 2021)
The novelist was born in 1948 on the island of Zanzibar. He fled to England as a refugee in the 1960s. Gurnah was from the victimized ethnic group. After he finished school he fled and left his family behind to England. He was 18 years old at that time. He has written ten novels and many short stories. Abdulrazak Gurnah began his writing career when he was 21- year old. Although Swahili was his native language he decided to write in English. Some of his most famous works are Dottie, Pilgrims and of course his most promising novel Paradise. He won his Nobel prize for literature 2021 for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”. He takes inspiration from his life for his books.
His writing style is inspired by his native place of Zanzibar. He often uses instances of Zanzibar’s cultural and ethnic diversity. His writing uses this diversity and its range of literary sources. It has the concept of “Afrocentrism”. In fact his first novel “Memory Of Departure” is set at around the same time he left his country. His work depicts the long effects colonization had on people. Most of his work is post-colonial. His novels bring to light the intentional removal of African stories by the European Colonization.
Gurnah’s fourth book and also a nominee for the Booker prize. It is set in pre colonial times of urban East Africa. The father of a 12 year old Yusuf sells him. It is because his father is not able to pay his debt. Gurnah being a powerful and nuanced writer wrote this book so beautifully. In the heart this is a coming of age, tragic love story. It gives a beautiful yet daunting image of Tanzania. Gurnah has great descriptive qualities. His characters easily come to life.
When Abdulrazak Gurnah first got to know about his feat, he thought it was a prank! We congratulate Gurnah for his Nobel Prize for Literature 2021 and wish him all the best for all his future endeavours.
Also Read: Famous Autobiographies