Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for works that explore the legacies of imperialism on uprooted individuals.
The Swedish Academy said the award was in recognition of his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”
Born in Zanzibar in 1948 and based in England, Gurnah is a professor at the University of Kent. He is the author of 10 novels, including Paradise, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994.
Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for literature, called him “one of the world’s most prominent post-colonial writers.”
BREAKING NEWS: <br>The 2021 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NobelPrize?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NobelPrize</a> in Literature is awarded to the novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” <a href=”https://t.co/zw2LBQSJ4j”>pic.twitter.com/zw2LBQSJ4j</a>
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.44 million Cdn). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.
Last year’s prize went to American poet Louise Gluck for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
Gluck was a popular choice after several years of controversy. In 2018 the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners. The awarding of the 2019 prize to Austrian writer Peter Handke caused protests because of his strong support for the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars.
The Nobel Committee awarded prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry earlier this week.
Still to come are prizes for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.