Nobel Prize for Literature 2021 to the Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

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The Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, class of ’48, he has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2021 with the following motivation: “For the ability to tell in depth the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents without compromise but with compassion ». The Prize, established in 1901, has so far honored 16 women (the last, in 2020, was the poet Louise Gluck) and 102 men.

The ceremony will not take place in December in Stockholm, due to Covid-19, but via streaming and the prize consists of a gold medal and a cash prize (10 million Swedish crowns, equivalent to 1.14 million EUR).

The motivations

The writer was reached by phone while he was in the kitchen of his home and has been invited to Sweden when the global health condition becomes more stable.

“The writer arrived in England after the persecution of his country’s minorities. It became cosmopolitan even before globalization», as explained by the Academy during the streaming press conference from Stockholm with the reasons for the choice. “Recently retired from teaching at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and is considered one of the most important writers of post-colonialism. His characters migrate between two cultures and between the life left behind and the one that awaits them, facing prejudices but also the challenge of reinventing themselves. In the tradition of Conrad and Shakespeare, he chose English as his literary language even though there are traces of Hindi, German, Arabic and Swahili».

The carreer

Abdulrazak Gurnah started writing at the age of 21 and has a career spanning half a century.

The most famous work, among the ten published novels, Stay Paradise (1994), which earned him a selection for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Prize, set during the First World War in his Africa, the setting for his stories and the focus of his academic studies (and later teachings). The debut one is Memory of departure (1987), while one of the most popular writings in Italy is Il desertore (Garzanti).

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