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Literature Nobel goes to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

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Literature Nobel is given to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah by Swedish Academy. The prize is awarded by the Swedish Academy and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14m / £840,000). Swedish Academy said that the prize is given for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.

“Abdulrazak Gurnah’s dedication to truth and his aversion to simplification is striking,” the Nobel Committee for Literature said in a statement. They added that his novels recoil from stereotypical descriptions and open our gaze to a culturally diversified East Africa unfamiliar to many in other parts of the world.

Mr. Gurnah is a Tanzanian writer who was born in 1948 on the island of Zanzibar. He migrated to England as a refugee in the 1960s. He was a professor of English and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Kent. 

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Gurnah is the author of 10 novels, including Paradise and Desertion.

Paradise, published in 1994 which is about a boy growing up in Tanzania in the early 20th Century. He won the Booker Prize for this novel.

Last year’s Nobel prize was given to American poet Louise Glück for what the judges described as her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” 

Gurnah is the first black African author to have won the Nobel since Wole Soyinka in 1986.

The Nobel Prizes are given to the highest achievement in the field of literature, science, peace, and economics since 1901.

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Earlier Literature Nobel

Past winners of the literature nobel have included novelists such as Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Toni Morrison, poets such as Pablo Neruda, Joseph Brodsky, and Rabindranath Tagore, and playwrights including Harold Pinter and Eugene O’Neill.

Former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill won for his memoirs, Bertrand Russell for his philosophy, and Bob Dylan for his lyrics.

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