Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah receives the Nobel Prize for Literature

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Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah received the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday for work that explores the legacy of imperialism on uprooted people.

The Swedish Academy said the award was in recognition of his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the plight of the refugee in the chasm between cultures and continents.

Born in Zanzibar in 1948 and based in England, Gurnah is a professor at the University of Kent. He is the author of 10 novels, including Paradise, selected for the Booker Prize in 1994.

Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature, called him one of the world’s foremost postcolonial writers.

The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over 1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the creator of the prize, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

Last year’s award went to American poet Louise Gl ck for what the judges described as her unique poetic voice which, with austere beauty, makes individual existence universal.

Gl ck was a popular choice after several years of controversy. In 2018, the award was postponed after allegations of sexual abuse rocked the Swedish Academy, the secret body that chooses the winners. The awarding of the 2019 prize to Austrian writer Peter Handke sparked protests because of his strong support for the Serbs during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their findings on how the human body perceives temperature and touch it.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded Tuesday to three scientists whose work has tidied up an apparent mess, helping to explain and predict the complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan were named Nobel laureates in chemistry on Wednesday for finding a simpler and greener way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including drugs and pesticides.

Still to come are awards for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.


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