A former lecturer at the Bayero University, Kano, Abdulrazak Gurnah, has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, a development the Swedish Academy describes as a dedication towards his “uncompromising and passionate” portrayals of the effects of colonialism.
Winning the prize, Gurnah will receive a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.14 million).
The prize money comes from an endowment left behind by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
- The Nobel Laureate (age 73) was born in Tanzania in 1948.
- Gurnah moved to England in 1968.
- Before his retirement as a Professor of English language, he wrote 10 novels, with most mirroring the refugee experience.
Reviewers and academia, familiar with his 1994 novel “Paradise,” noted that it told the story of a boy growing up in Tanzania in the early 20th century.
Gaining much appraisals, the book went on to win the Booker Prize, strategically marking his breakthrough as a novelist.
Commenting on his work and dedication to art, the Nobel Committee for Literature said in a statement:
“Gurnah’s dedication to truth and his aversion to simplification are striking.
“This can make him bleak and uncompromising, at the same time as he follows the fates of individuals with great compassion and unbending commitment.”
What you should know:
Gurnah is a professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent in England.
Gurnah was born on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of East Africa.
He moved to England in 1968.
He studied at Christ Church College, Canterbury, whose degrees were at the time awarded by the University of London.
Years later, Gurnah moved to the University of Kent, where he earned his PhD in 1982.
Between 1980 to 1982, the Professor of English and international editor lectured at the Bayero University Kano in Nigeria.
Gurnah’s main academic interest is in postcolonial writing and in discourses associated with colonialism, especially as they relate to Africa, the Caribbean and India.