Zanzibari novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah is the first black African in 35 years to win The Nobel prize award.
Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel committee, said that the Gurnah’s novels – from his debut Memory of Departure, about a failed uprising, to his most recent, Afterlives – “recoil from stereotypical descriptions and open our gaze to a culturally diversified East Africa unfamiliar to many in other parts of the world”.
“[Gurnah] has consistently and with great compassion penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa, and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals,” Olsson told journalists in Stockholm.
Gurnah, who was in the kitchen when he got the good news. He said;
“I thought it was a prank,” “These things are usually floated for weeks beforehand, or sometimes months beforehand, about who are the runners, so it was not something that was in my mind at all. I was just thinking, I wonder who’ll get it?”
“I am honoured to be awarded this prize and to join the writers who have preceded me on this list. It is overwhelming and I am so proud.”
He has published 10 novels as well as a number of short stories.
Rumors were swirling that Chimamanda Adichie might win this year. But its still a win to have an African win after Wole Soyinka in 1986. Congrats to him.