TANZANIAN writer Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee”.
The 72 year old was born in Zanzibar and moved to Britain as a refugee in the 1960s.
He’s the first African writer to win the award since Doris Lessing from Zimbabwe 14 years ago.
Speaking to the Nobel Prize’s Adam Smith, Gurnah said he thought the call from the Swedish body’s Permanent Secretary Mats Malm “was a prank”.
Last year’s prize went to American poet Louise Gluck for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.
Gluck was a popular choice after several years of controversy. In 2018, the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, the secretive body that chooses the winners.