Abdulrazak Gurnah wins the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature
Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday.
At a ceremony in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy praised his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the plight of the refugee in the chasm between cultures and continents”.
Born in Zanzibar in 1948, Gurnah is a professor at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. He arrived in England as a refugee in the late 1960s.
Her novel “Paradise”, set in colonial East Africa during World War I, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994.
Issues of migration, displacement and identity are at the heart of his work.
Gurnah’s mother tongue is Swahili, but his literary works are written in English.
Last year’s award went to American poet Louise Glück for what the judges described as her “unique poetic voice which, with austere beauty, makes individual existence universal”.
Glück was a popular choice after several years of controversy. In 2018, the award was postponed after allegations of sexual abuse rocked the Swedish Academy, the secret body that chooses the winners. The awarding of the 2019 prize to Austrian writer Peter Handke sparked protests because of his strong support for the Serbs during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (€ 984,000). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the creator of the prize, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their findings on how the human body perceives temperature and touch it.
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday to three scientists whose work has tidied up an apparent mess, helping to explain and predict the complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.
Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan were named Nobel laureates in chemistry on Wednesday for finding a simpler and greener way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including drugs and pesticides.
Prizes will also be awarded for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.