- BBC News World
Although some of his novels have been published in Spanish, Abdulrazak Gurnah, the African writer awarded this Thursday with the Nobel Prize for Literature, it is still unknown to many in Latin America.
The novelist, born on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, is the author of ten novels and since he was 18 years old he has lived in the United Kingdom, where he arrived as a refugee, a theme that has been frequent in his work.
In fact, the Nobel Committee justified the award on the “uncompromising and compassionate insight” into its books of “the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees in the gap between cultures and continents.”
Gurnah is the first black African author to win the award since Wole Soyinka in 1986. Speaking after receiving the news, he said it was a “complete surprise” and considered that his award could mean that issues such as the refugee crisis and colonialism will now be “discussed.” “These are things that are with us every day. People are dying, people are being hurt all over the world; we must address these issues in the kindest way,” he said.
In a tweet, Gurnah dedicated the award “to Africa, Africans” and their readers.
For years, Gurnah, who writes in English, worked as a professor and chair of the English department at the University of Kent, England, from which he recently retired.
His most outstanding works are “Paradise” (1994), “Desertion” (2005) y “Afterlives”, the latter published in 2020. At least three of them have been published in Spanish: Precario silencio (1998), Paraíso (1997) and On the shore (2003).
The Swedish academy also highlighted “his poignant depiction of the effects of colonialism in Africa.”
“I came to England when words like ‘asylum seeker’ weren’t exactly the same: more people are fighting and fleeing terrorist states,” said the writer. “The world is much more violent than it was in the 1960s. , so now there is more pressure on countries that are safe, which inevitably attract more people. “In an interview in 2016, when asked if he would call himself a” post-colonial author of literature, “Gurnah He replied, “I wouldn’t use any of those words. I wouldn’t call myself a writer of any kind.”
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