Abdulrazak Gurnah Becomes Fifth African-Born Writer To Win Nobel Prize

Abdulrazak Gurnah

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Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the Nobel Prize for Literature that explores the impact of imperialism on marginalized communities across the world.

"Gurnah's dedication to truth and his aversion to simplification are striking," the Nobel Committee for Literature said in a statement obtained by CNN.

"This can make him bleak and uncompromising, at the same time as he follows the fates of individuals with great compassion and unbending commitment."

During the pandemic, the Nobel Committee has strived to acknowledge the work of a writer whose work has examined displacement, asylum and migration. Throughout his career, Gurnah has written about a refugee living in a British seaside community, the German colonization of Africa and much more. In his own life, he moved from Tanzania to the U.K. as a young age and experienced life as a migrant through much of his adolescence. As a result, his work has resonated with many people across the globe as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, natural disasters, political conflicts and several other factors have caused increased migration over the last two years.

"I don't think the acute situation right now in Europe and around the Mediterranean has affected this prize because the phenomenon of exile and migration has been there for many years," Nobel Literature Committee Chairman Anders Olsson told CNN.

"But it is quite clear that his writings are extremely interesting and powerful right now in Europe and around the world. We are affected by what is happening in the world and it would be very strange otherwise."

The Tanzanian author will join an accomplished list of Nobel Literature Prize winners that includes Toni Morrison, Bob Dylan and Harold Pinter. Gurnah is also the fifth African-born writer to win this award. For his work, he will take home a gold medal and a grand prize of 10 million Swedish kronor.

Four Nobel Prizes have been awarded this week. The fifth and final Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on Friday.

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