The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded on Thursday to 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.”
Gurnah was born in Zanzibar, which is now a part of Tanzania, in 1948, however he at the moment lives in Britain. He left Zanzibar at age 18 as a refugee after a violent 1964 rebellion in which troopers overthrew the nation’s authorities. He is the first African to win the award — thought of the most prestigious in world literature — in virtually twenty years.
He is the fifth total, after Wole Soyinka of Nigeria in 1986, Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt, who gained in 1988; and the South African winners Nadine Gordimer in 1991 and John Maxwell Coetzee in 2003.
Gurnah’s 10 novels embrace “Memory of Departure,” “Pilgrims Way” and “Dottie,” which all cope with the immigrant expertise in Britain; “Paradise,” shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994, a few boy in an East African nation scarred by colonialism; and “Admiring Silence” a few younger man who leaves Zanzibar for England, the place he marries and turns into a instructor.
Gurnah’s first language is Swahili, however he adopted English as his literary language, along with his prose typically inflected with traces of Swahili, Arabic and German.
Anders Olsson, the chair of the committee that awards the prize, mentioned at the information convention on Thursday that Gurnah “is widely recognized as one of the world’s more pre-eminent post-colonial writers.” Gurnah “has consistently and with great compassion, penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals,” he added.
The characters in his novels, Olsson added, “find themselves in the gulf between cultures and continents, between the life left behind and the life to come, confronting racism and prejudice, but also compelling themselves to silence the truth or reinventing biography to avoid conflict with reality.”
Laura Winters, writing in The New York Times in 1996, referred to as “Paradise” “a shimmering, oblique coming-of-age fable,” including that “Admiring Silence” was a piece that “skillfully depicts the agony of a man caught between two cultures, each of which would disown him for his links to the other.”
In the prelude to this yr’s award, the literature prize was referred to as out for missing range amongst its winners. The journalist Greta Thurfjell, writing in Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish newspaper, famous that 95 of the 117 previous Nobel laureates had been from Europe or North America, and that solely 16 winners had been ladies. “Can it really continue like that?” she requested.
Who else has not too long ago gained the prize?
The American poet Louise Glück was awarded final yr’s literature prize for writing “that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” in response to the quotation from the Nobel committee. Her award was seen as a much-needed reset for the prize after a number of years of scandal.
In 2018, the academy postponed the prize after the husband of an academy member was accused of sexual misconduct and of leaking candidates’ names to bookmakers. The academy member, Jean-Claude Arnault, was later sentenced to 2 years in jail for rape.
The following yr, the academy awarded the delayed 2018 prize to Olga Tokarczuk, an experimental Polish novelist. But the academy got here in for criticism for giving the 2019 prize to Peter Handke, an Austrian writer and playwright who has been accused of genocide denial for questioning occasions throughout the Balkan Wars of the Nineties — together with the Srebrenica bloodbath, in which about 8,000 Muslim males and boys had been murdered.
Lawmakers in Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo denounced the choice, as did a number of high-profile novelists, together with Jennifer Egan and Hari Kunzru.
Who else gained a Nobel Prize this yr?
David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian had been awarded the prize in physiology or medication on Monday for his or her discoveries about how folks sense warmth, chilly, contact and their very own bodily actions.
Three scientists whose work “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it” had been awarded the prize for physics on Tuesday: Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University; Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany; and Giorgio Parisi of the Sapienza University of Rome
Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan had been awarded the chemistry prize on Wednesday for creating a extra environmentally pleasant software to construct molecules.
When will the different Nobel Prizes be introduced?