Tanzanian novelist and author of 10 novels, including Paradise and Desertion, Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Gurnah won the perceived world’s most prestigious literary award “For his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee,” the award-giving body said on Thursday.
Reacting to his win, Gurnah said: “I think it’s just brilliant and wonderful. I am very grateful to the Swedish Academy for nominating me and my work.”
The prize worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14m / £840,000) is awarded by the Swedish Academy.
“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. “It was such a complete surprise that I really had to wait until I heard it announced before I could believe it” he added.
He said his award would mean issues such as the refugee crisis and colonialism, which he has experienced, will be “discussed”.
“I dedicate this Nobel Prize to Africa and Africans and to all my readers. Thanks!” Gurnah tweeted after the announcement.
Based in Britain and writing in English, Gurnah, 72, becomes the first black African author to have won the award since Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka in 1986.