Abdulrazak Gurnah

The winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Tanzanian novelist and academic based in the United Kingdom.

Born in Zanzibar, Abdulrazak Gurnah arrived in Britain in the 1960s, fleeing his native Tanzania to escape the persecution of Muslim citizens. After studying at the University of Canterbury, he moved to the University of Kent where he completed his PhD in 1982. Gurnah’s main academic interests encompass postcolonial literature and discourse. He has written widely on various postcolonial writers, including V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie.

Gurnah’s first novel, Memory of Departure, was published in 1987 to wide critical acclaim. Among his other best-known works are his 1994 Booker Prize-shortlisted Paradise (1994), Desertion (2005), By the Sea (2011) and Afterlives (2020) – all documenting and exploring issues of identity, memory and displacement, and the effects of the legacy of colonialism and slavery on individual lives in various geographical contexts. In 2021, Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature ‘for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.’

Books by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Afterlives
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Paradise
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By the Sea
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Gravel Heart
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Desertion
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