Tanzanian writer Gurnah says ‘It’s just wonderful’ on winning Nobel Prize

Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, who won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, said it was just wonderful to win the prize and that he was honoured to be recognised with an award that has been given to such a huge list of accomplished writers.

“I think it’s just brilliant and wonderful.

“I am very grateful to the Swedish Academy for nominating me and my work,” Gurnah told Reuters when asked how he felt to win the prize.

“It’s just great – its just a big prize, and such a huge list of wonderful writers – I am still taking it in,” he said.

“It was such a complete surprise that I really had to wait until I heard it announced before I could believe it,” he added.

Asked if he was drinking champagne or dancing for joy, he said: “No” with a laugh.

Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee,” the award-giving body said on Thursday.

Based in Britain and writing in English, Gurnah, 72, joins Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka as the only two non-white writers from sub-Saharan Africa ever to win what is widely seen as the world’s most prestigious literary award.

His novels include “Paradise”, set in colonial East Africa during World War One and short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and “Desertion.”

“Gurnah’s itinerant characters in England or on the African continent find themselves in the gulf between cultures and continents, between the life left behind and the life to come,” Anders Olsson, head of the Swedish Academy’s Nobel Committee for Literature, told reporters.

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