The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Gurnah “for his uncommitted and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees in the space between cultures and continents”.
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar, an archipelago on the East African coast, but was exiled from the age of 18 in the UK, where he recently retired from the University of Kent, where he was Professor of English and Post-Colonial Literature.
"His departure [from Zanzibar] explains the central role that exile plays in all of his work, but also his lack of nostalgia for a primitive, pre-colonial Africa," said the Swedish Academy.
In the committee's view, Abdulrazak Gurnah's literary work is a "vivid and accurate portrait of another Africa, in a region marked by slavery and by different forms of repression of various colonialist regimes and powers: Portuguese, Indian, Arab, German and British ".
In Portugal, he has only one book published, “Junto ao Mar”, by Difel, in 2003.
"Displaced characters from Gurnah, in England or on the African continent, find themselves between cultures and continents, between the life left behind and the one to come, they face racism and prejudice, but they also force themselves to silence the truth or to reinvent a biography to avoid a confrontation with reality", justified the academy.
The Nobel Prize for Literature is a prize awarded annually, since 1901, by the Swedish Academy to authors who have made notable contributions to the field of literature, and has a monetary value of more than 900 thousand euros.