The novelist Abdul Razak Gurna, born in Tanzania and residing in Britain, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy announced today, Thursday (October 7, 2021).
The jury made it clear that the author, whose most famous book is Paradis, meaning “Paradise,” was awarded the prize for his “sympathetic and uncompromising narrative about the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees stuck between cultures and continents.” Among his other works is the Desertion.
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.
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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 American poet Louise Gluck.
The New York Times had indicated among the list of nominees to the Somali novelist Noureddin Farah as a prominent candidate, who is the author of the novel “From a Crooked Rib (1970)”, which is considered one of the prominent signs in East African literature.
Farah’s life represents a unique human drama, after busy school years, and then a series of “forced and voluntary” migrations inside and outside his country since the 1960s, imposed by the conflicts in Somalia and the continuation of his education.