For the first time since 2003, an African receives the award. Abdulrazak Gurnah is hailed for his depictions of flight and colonialism.
The case is being updated.
This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature goes to the Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah (73). He came to Britain as a refugee from Zanzibar in the late 1960s. He was 18 years old at the time. This experience permeates the ten novels and many stories that he has published.
Gurnah receives the award for “uncompromisingly and with great compassion shedding light on the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees on the gap between cultures and continents.”
He had to flee when he was 18 years old because people of Arab descent were persecuted in Zanzibar during the 1964 revolution. It was unleashed when the African island gained independence from British colonial power.
– Extremely important
– Incredibly important, for an entire continent, says author Jan Kjærstad about the award.
– This is an extension of literary reality for many interested in literature, believe.
They are the 18 members of The Swedish Academy who decides who gets the prize. The members are authors, researchers and important figures in the Swedish literary field.
They have previously been criticized for focusing primarily on male and European writers. This is something the Academy is working to improve, committee chair Anders Olsson said recently in an interview. med new republic.
Gurnah is the first African winner since 2003. He has been an important figure in literary studies for many years. Until recently, he was Professor of English and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Kent.
– I just got off the phone with Abdulrazak. He had just entered the kitchen. “We have talked about practical things, since everything is complicated this year as well,” said the permanent secretary of the Academy, Mats Malm, when the winner of the award was announced.
Malm explained that they cannot gather winners in Stockholm, as they usually do, the pandemic will take care of that. Instead, the prize is awarded somewhere close to the winner.
Gurnah’s first three novels, Starting memory (1987), Pilgrims way (1988) and Dottie (1990), documents the experience of immigrants in the United Kingdom from different perspectives.
His fourth novel, Paradise (1994), takes place in colonial East Africa during World War I and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for fiction. Admiring the silence (1996) tells the story of a young man who leaves Zanzibar and emigrates to England, where he marries and becomes a teacher.
Aftenposten revised the Norwegian translation of “By the Sea” in 2002.
– Very timely
Haven’t you read Gurnah? Neither does Jan Kjærstad, it is admitted. to know Ham.
– The embarrassing thing is that it is my editor, Aschehoug, who has the three books that have been translated into Norwegian.
Kjærstad tipped Kenyan Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o to win this year’s award, but he’s happy it’s for Gurnah.
– They have come out of the western cultural sphere, and it was very timely.
In the New Republic interview, committee leader Anders Olsson said they are now connecting with new experts. They will increase their proficiency in Asian and African literature, which is not always translated into European languages.
The betting companies had calculated in advance who was most likely to receive the prize. This time they missed their mark. Gurnah is not even mentioned in the betting list on Ladbrokes, broadcast by the Lithub website. They considered the French Annie Ernaux as the favorite.
Jon Fosse and Karl Ove Knausgård have been Norway’s favorites. Both were high on the odds charts.
Fights at the Swedish Academy
The last few years have been turbulent for the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel prizes. The academy was founded in 1786.
After the #metoo campaign in the fall of 2017, several women appeared in Dagens Nyheter with accusations against the cultural profile Jean-Claude Arnault. He had very close ties to the Swedish Academy and was later found guilty of rape.
The accusations of abuse and sexual harassment were the beginning of a great crisis in the old cultural institution.
The events that nearly destroyed the institution are now being turned into a documentary series.