Nobel Prize for Literature: 2021

Nobel Prize for Literature: 2021


  • The2021 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”.
  • Last year, the award was given to Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
  • The Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine for 2021 have already been awarded.


  • Abdulrazak Gurnahwas born in 1948 and grew up on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. He was forced to flee to the UK, the former colonial power, at the end of the 1960s after a revolution occurred in Zanzibar.
  • Zanzibar is part of East Africa, a region known as the Swahili coast, stretching from present-day Somalia to Mozambique on the western shores of the Indian Ocean.
  • He has published ten novels and a number of short stories. The theme of the refugee’s disruption runs throughout his work.
  • He began writing as a 21-year-old in English exile, and although Swahili was his first language, English became his literary tool.
  • Gurnah’s fourth novel ‘Paradise’ (1994),his breakthrough as a writer, evolved from a research trip to East Africa around 1990.


  • At a time when the global refugee crisis is exponentially on the rise, Gurnah’s work draws attention to how racism and prejudice against targeted communities and religions perpetuate cultures of oppression.
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