Tanzanian Author Who Tackles Issues of Displacement Wins Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to the novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, for his “uncompromising and passionate” portrayals of the effects of colonialism. Gurnah was born in Tanzania in 1948 but moved to England at a young age.

He has written 10 novels, many of which focus on the refugee experience. His 1994 novel “Paradise,” which told the story of a boy growing up in Tanzania in the early 20th century, won the Booker Prize and marked his breakthrough as a novelist.

“Gurnah’s dedication to truth and his aversion to simplification are striking,” the Nobel Committee for Literature said in a statement. “This can make him bleak and uncompromising, at the same time as he follows the fates of individuals with great compassion and unbending commitment.”

His 2001 book “By the Sea” follows a refugee living in a British seaside town. And his most recent work, “Afterlives,” picks up the narrative of “Paradise” and takes place during the German colonization of Africa.

His characters “find themselves in a hiatus between cultures and continents, between a life that was and a life emerging; it is an insecure state that can never be resolved,” the committee said.

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