The Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021 was awarded to the Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah for “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gap between cultures and continents”.
The Swedish Academy made the announcement, which has been deciding every year since 1901 who should be the winner of the prize awarded in memory of the chemist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.
Born in 1948 on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of East Africa, Gurnah – according to his biography published by the Swedish Academy – moved to England at the end of the 1960s as a refugee.
From 1980 to 1982, Gurnah taught literature at Bayero University Kano in Nigeria before returning again to Great Britain, where he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Kent, where he still teaches and is director of studies in the Department of English.
His main academic interest is postcolonial writing, along with discourses associated with colonialism, particularly as they relate to Africa, the Caribbean, and India.
Since 1987 he has been among the editors of the literary journal Wasafiri, which covers contemporary international writing and whose title is named after a Swahili word meaning “travelers” that is etymologically related to the Arabic word “safari”.
Gurnah writes in English and has published ten novels and several collections of short stories.