Literature Nobel goes to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout Abdulrazak Gurnah’s work

This year’s Literature Nobel has been conferred to novelist 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.”

Mr. Gurnah was born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar but arrived in England as a refugee at the end of the 1960s. Until his recent retirement he was Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, Canterbury, a statement from the Nobel Committee said.

Mr. Gurnah has published ten novels and a number of short stories. The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout his work. He began writing as a 21-year-old in English exile, and although Swahili was his first language, English became his literary tool.

Mr. Gurnah’s fourth novel ‘Paradise’ (1994), his breakthrough as a writer, evolved from a research trip to East Africa around 1990. It is a coming of age account and a sad love story in which different worlds and belief systems collide.

Last year’s prize went to American poet Louise Glück for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Glück was a popular choice after several years of controversy.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor. The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded Tuesday to three scientists whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel Prize for chemistry Wednesday for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides.

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