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Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah bags 2021 Nobel Prize in literature

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Stockholm, Oct 7: Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his "uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism," the Swedish Academy said.

Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah bags 2021 Nobel Prize in literature

"It's just great - it's just a big prize, and such a huge list of wonderful writers - I am still taking it in," he said after winning the prize.

Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 and brought up on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. He arrived in England as a refugee at the end of the 1960s after being forced to flee by President Abeid Karume's regime, which oppressed and persecuted citizens of Arab origin.

Till his retirement, Gurnah was Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent in Canterbury, focusing principally on writers such as Wole Soyinka, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and Salman Rushdie.

He has published 10 novels and theme of refugee's disruption runs through his work.

Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrims Way (1988), Dottie (1990), Paradise (1994), Admiring Silence (1996), By the Sea (2001), Desertion (2005), The Last Gift (2011), Gravel Heart (2017), Afterlives (2020) are some of his works in English.

"He began writing as a 21-year-old in English exile, and even though Swahili was his first language, English became his literary tool. He has said that in Zanzibar, his access to literature in Swahili was virtually nil and his earliest writing could not strictly be counted as literature. Arabic and Persian poetry, especially The Arabian Nights, were an early and significant wellspring for him, as were the Quran's surahs. But the English-language tradition, from Shakespeare to V. S. Naipaul, would especially mark his work. That said, it must be stressed that he consciously breaks with convention, upending the colonial perspective to highlight that of the indigenous populations," the press release said.

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