ADDIS ABABA – Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Swedish Academy said the novelist received this years Prize “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”
The prize is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14mln).
Gurnah, 73, said how grateful he was to the academy, adding: “It’s just great – its just a big prize, and such a huge list of wonderful writers – I am still taking it in”.
“It was such a complete surprise that I really had to wait until I heard it announced before I could believe it,” he told the BBC.
Gurnah was born in Zanzibar in 1948 and moved to Britain in 1968. He is a Professor of English at the University of Kent in Canterbury and is best known as a novelist.
He won the Radio France International “Temoin du Monde” Prize (By The Sea) and has been short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction (Paradise), long-listed for the Booker Prize (By The Sea), the Whitbread Prize (Paradise), and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award (By The Sea).
His novels are Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrims Way (1988), Dottie (1990), Paradise (1994), Admiring Silence (1996), By the Sea (2001) and Desertion (2005). He also edited The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie.