The Swedish Academy announced today, Thursday, that it will award the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature to Tanzanian novelist Abdul Razak Gurneh, for his influential portrayal of the effects of colonialism.
The jury stated that the author, whose most famous work is Paradis (Paradise), was awarded the prize for his “sympathetic and uncompromising narrative of the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees stuck between cultures and continents.”
Gharneh writes his novels in the English language, and his works include 10 novels, including “Paradise” and “Desertion” (Abandonment), and “Paradise” was nominated for the Booker and Whitebread Awards in 1994.
Gherna was born on the island of Zanzibar in 1948, and he currently lives in Britain, where he teaches at the University of Kent.
The prize money is 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.14 million).
The Nobel Prizes were established for achievements in science, literature and peace through the will of the Swedish inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel, who was a wealthy businessman. Prizes have been awarded since 1901, and the Nobel Prize in Economics was later added to it.
Previous winners of the prize have been novelists such as Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison and Naguib Mahfouz, poets such as Pablo Neruda, Joseph Brodsky and Rabindranath Tagore, and playwrights such as Harold Pinter and Eugene O’Neill.
However, other writers won the award for their overall work, which includes short stories or writings in history, articles, biographies or journalism. Winston Churchill for his memoirs, Bertrand Russell for his philosophy, and Bob Dylan for his songs.
Last year, the award went to the American poet Louise Gluck.
Beyond its financial value and literary prestige, the award generates great interest in the winner, stimulating book sales and opening the door to unknown winners to a wide international audience.